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Cannot open database (internal MS Access/ Jet)

What is the error message?

What does the error message say? If you get an error “#3343 Unrecognized database format” it usually means that the database file has been corrupted. Please see the “Corrupt database” section below. If you are using FastMaint Professional and are getting some other error see the “Other errors” section below.

Corrupt database

FastMaint can fix some database problems itself. Before doing this make sure everyone is out of FastMaint and take a backup of your current database (see “Backup Database” if you are not sure how to do this).

Open a command line window (click the Windows Start button, select Run then type “cmd” and hit Enter). In the command window, change the folder to the FastMaint install directory (usually “c:\Program Files\fastmaint” OR on 64-bit systems “C:\Program Files (x86)\fastmaint”). Enter “fastmaint.exe -fix”. This will first try to fix the database and then start FastMaint. Once you can get in check and make sure that all your data is still available.

If you have FastMaint Professional and keep seeing database corruption issues check the shared network drive where you keep the shared database as well as all network connections used by users logging into FastMaint. Even if one user has a bad connection and keeps dropping out of the network it can result in a damaged database since FastMaint may be in the middle of a database update when a connection drops.

An alternative is to switch FastMaint Professional to use Microsoft SQL Server for the database rather than the built-in Microsoft Access database. Even the free SQL Server Express editions will work. Microsoft SQL Server is more stable and less likely to get corrupted if you have network drops.

FastMaint Professional can copy your existing data to a new SQL Server database you create. Use the Application Setup wizard under the main Administration menu to do this. Review the section on how the SQL Server database should be setup before you copy the database over in “Install FastMaint Standard/ Professional editions“.

Other errors (FastMaint Professional only)

Make sure that all users have “Full Control” rights on the database directory. If all users have the correct rights but you still get this error, make sure that all users are out of FastMaint and do the following tests (if you have done a single shared install of FastMaint Professional on a network drive you may want to try #6 first):

  1. Logon to Windows as one of the users. Go to the shared folder and try to rename say FastMaint.mdb to something else. If you cannot do this there is a problem with access rights or the file is locked. If successful, undo the rename and proceed to step 2.
  2. Confirm that the program has been setup as FastMaint Professional. Run it, check that the main window title shows FastMaint Professional on it. Exit the program.
  3. Make sure that the shared database directory contains only two database files – FastMaint.mdb and FastMaint.mdw. Remove any other files there – you can move them from this directory to some other folder. Then try to run FastMaint and see if the problem persists.
  4. Right click on the FastMaint.mdb file in Windows Explorer and confirm that the “Read Only” check box is not checked. If it is remove the check and apply the changes.
  5. If all this does not solve the problem, shut down the machine that has the database files on it and restart it. Windows sometimes retains spurious file locks that may need to be cleared. Once the machine is up, try to run FastMaint again.
  6. This is only applicable if you have FastMaint Professional installed in a shared network folder and the shared MS Access database is being kept in the same installation folder. In the shared installation folder locate the FastMaint.ini file. Open it with Notepad. Locate the line following the [Professional] section. Check that the section is as follows:

    Save your changes. This will ensure that the path to the built-in Access database is correctly set for use on other user’s computers.

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