"This file is not in a recognizable format" when running report after having changed Controller password

Technote (troubleshooting)


If the user changes their Controller password and then (without exiting Controller and re-launching Controller) tries to run an Excel-based report, they receive an error.


Imagine a scenario where:

  • 'bad' user is called 'BADUSER'
  • Controller administrator (e.g. 'ADM') logs onto Controller, and clicks "Maintain - Rights - Users" and clicks on 'BADUSER'
  • Administrator sees that the user is set to "Inactive" (this is what happens the user after 3 attempts to run the report - see later) and closes the menu
  • Administrator changes BADUSER to "Active" and resets the user's password

  • The 'bad' user now logs on as BADUSER with this new password
  • During the logon process, user is prompted to change the password. Therefore he/she changes it (i.e. directly after logging into Controller) to a new password
  • BADUSER clicks "Reports - Run" and chooses/runs a user-defined report
  • However, when they click "Preview" or "Send to Application" an error appears:

This file is not in a recognizable format
  • If the user clicks OK, they can re-try running the report
  • If the user tries running the report 3 times, then the user gets set to 'inactive' again.
    • Therefore the administrator must now change BADUSER back to "Active" (and create a new password) to allow the bad user back into the system.


There are many potential causes for this error.

  • For more examples, see separate IBM Technote #1647017.

This Technote specifically relates to the scenario where the cause is a code production problem (defect reference PM57170) in Controller.

Resolving the problem


Upgrade to a later version of Controller (when released) which contains a fix for this issue.

  • TIP: To be automatically notified of when this version is released, subscribe to APAR PM57170

Ensure that all users (after they change their password) immediately close Controller.
  • In other words, if you log out and back in (after changing the password) then the reports work OK.

Related information

APAR PM57170
1647017 - ** Troubleshooting ** Error 'The file is not

Document information

More support for:

Cognos Controller

Software version:

10.1, 10.1.1

Operating system(s):


Reference #:


Modified date:


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