Thanks Hab, I actually did get them to open in Office 2011, and will convert later.
1- Indeed these were for a short while moved to icloud drive. I just move all important things off of icloud drive due to massive instability issues with icloud drive, and now I notice a smattering of this. WTF? does icloud drive do to ruin these files? They are not so ancient. I think maybe 7- 8 years old. But why on earth would file made in excel become an exe? Why would Apple icloud do that?????
3- What do you mean restored? Never saw problem with them on hard drive, and never even while in icloud, just now that I'm moved them back to external hardrive.
4- You recommend doing a search for all these in spotlight?