I came across this issue this week when a user reported that for certain spreadsheets, intermittently when she opened them, the entire data section of Excel would be white. The ribbon would be visible and the field immediately below it where you can enter data along with the cell identifier were showing correctly but the main area would just be white. The weird thing was that if you resized the entire Excel window (e.g. went from maximized to windowed or vice versa) the data would show up as if nothing was ever wrong.
We tried a number of things including repeating the test (we confirmed that sometimes it broke and sometimes it didn’t with no apparent rhyme or reason) and repairing/reinstalling Office (neither of which worked).
The last thing I thought of was that since it was technically a visual issue only (the spreadsheet worked fine for other people, and even most spreadsheets didn’t exhibit the problem), what else is involved in displaying the Excel window? The graphics subsystem. And what is our last remaining link to that subsystem? The video drivers.
Sure enough, after upgrading her video drivers to the latest Quadro drivers from Nvidia, all was well.
This whole situation reminded me that when you’re going through a troubleshooting tree, you need to include ALL of the relevant systems, not just the most obvious ones.