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NOTE: while typing this up i found my solution but decided to post anyway in case it may help someone else I decided to quit beating my head off the keyboard and ask for help...I have a vi that will eventually be an .exe distributed across a variety of windows xp to windows 7 machines (32 and 64 bit). In this vi a bunch of data is saved to a .tsv file at C: i then need to open the .tsv file in excel. After some searching i found System Exec.vi. it initially seemed to be my silver bullet because if i open command line in windows and type " excel.exe c:temp.tsv" Excel is opened (and this should work across different versions of Office). BUT with system exec.vi i get an error "Error 2 occurred at System Exec.vi Command was "excel.exe c:temp.tsv" Possible reason(s): LabVIEW: Memory is full." blah blah blah... If i replace "excel.exe" with Notepad it opens the data no problem with notepad but i need it to be in Excel. i read about using "cmd /c" and attempted to no avail Here's where i found my issue... it is "cmd /c" NOT "cmd c" ! so i used "cmd /c c:temp.tsv" and voila it opens with the default program for .tsv (which is obscure enough that i can make Excel a default on all of the computers in the building) for some reason cmd /c excel.exe does not work to open excel. i found this odd as excel.exe entered directly in the command line will open excel regardless of which version you have installed, but i believe i can live with this.