ERROR: “THE DATABASE COULD NOT BE ACCESSED. IN ORDER TO ACCESS THIS DATABASE, CHECK YOUR NETWORK CONNECTION AND VERIFY THAT YOUR DATABASE SERVER IS AVAILABLE. IT MAY BE NECESSARY TO DISABLE ANY FIREWALL SOFTWARE…”

You attempt to open your database and receive the following error message: The database … could not be accessed. In order to access this database, check your network connection and verify that your database server is available. It may be necessary to disable any firewall software on your computer or the server.

There is more than one possible cause for this issue. Some of the causes relate to a shared database hosted on a main server, some relate to a local database on your machine, and some to both scenarios. Please explore the solutions that apply to your database scenario.

This error has been known to occur if:

In some cases, particularly when accessing the network using Windows XP Home edition, you can resolve this issue by creating a new Windows user, on the computer hosting the shared database, with the same user name and password as the Windows user of the remote (XP Home) computer. This step can provide the remote user with permissions needed to access the shared database.

Please refer to your Windows documentation or contact Microsoft® for information on creating a new Windows user.


Share Database Option Disabled
This error will result when attempting to access a shared database if the Share Database option is not enabled. Follow the steps below to verify that this database is enabled for sharing:

  1. From the computer hosting the shared database, launch Act! and open the database.
  2. Click the Tools menu, point to Database Maintenance, and then ensure that the Share Database option is enabled.If the Share Database option is not checked, click this option to share the database. The following Act! dialog box appears:
  3. Click OK to complete the process, and attempt to open the database again from the remote workstation.

Note: If the Share Database option is already enabled, disable and then re-enable the option and test accessing the database from the remote workstation.


Permissions for Folders of the Shared Database
Ensure that users Permissions are set to Full Control for the folders containing the shared database files are stored. 
Please refer to your Windows documentation for detailed information.


Compatibility Mode is Enabled
To attempt to resolve this issue, you need to check the compatibility mode of the Act! icon.

  1. Right click on the Act! Icon and select Properties.
  2. Select the Compatibility tab.
  3. Make sure the box for Compatibility mode is not checked, and if so, clear the check for Run this program in compatibility mode for:
    image 2
  4. Click on Apply and then OK.
  5. Launch Act! to test accessing the database.

Recently Changed Computer Name

  • Shared Database: If you are sharing your Act! database and have recently changed the computer name hosting the database, you will need to create a new .PAD file or change the existing .PAD file host name to the new computer name. 

Change the .PAD file host name

  1. Launch Windows Explorer (or open My Computer).
  2. Browse to the locate the .PAD associated with your database.
  3. Right-click the .PAD file in this directory, and then click Open With from the shortcut menu.
  4. Open the file with Notepad. Notepad launches with the .PAD file information.
  5. Select the information between the quotes at host=<location>.
  6. Remove the current location and type the new name of the computer.
  7. Once you have changed the name, click the File menu, and select Save.
  8. Close Notepad.

Create new .PAD file

  1. From your Act! program, click the File menu, and then click Open Database. An Open dialog box appears.
  2. Change the Files of type to Act! Database (*.ADF).
  3. Navigate to (if necessary) the folder in which your database is located, click the .ADF file for this database, and then click Open. The following Act! dialog box appears:Image 3
  4. Click OK to continue. The following Act! message appears:
    Image 4
  5. Click OK to open the database. The .PAD file has been recreated.
  • Local Database: If this database resides on one machine and you are the only user of the database, you will need to need to change the .PAD file host name to the new computer name. 

Change the .PAD file host name

  1. Launch Windows Explorer (or open My Computer).
  2. Browse to the locate the .PAD associated with your database.
  3. Right-click the .PAD file in this directory, and then click Open With from the shortcut menu.
  4. Open the file with Notepad. Notepad launches with the .PAD file information.
  5. Select the information between the quotes at host=<location>.
  6. Remove the current location and type the new name of the computer.
  7. Once you have changed the name, click the File menu, and select Save.
  8. Close Notepad.

Damaged .PAD File
This error may occur if the .PAD file for this database is damaged. To resolve this issue, you can open your database using the .ADF file instead. Prior to opening your database with the .ADF file, you must detach the database from the SQL Server and delete your current .PAD file. Follow the steps below:

  1. Close Act!
  2. Click the Windows Start button:
    • XP: Click Run. The Run dialog box appears.
    • Vista/Windows 7: Use the Search field.
  3. Enter the command actdiag, and then click OK. The Act! Diagnostics utility launches:image 6
  4. Click Databases from the navigation bar (or toolbar in Sage ACT! 2011), then select Database List. A list of your databases will appear.

    Note: If the STATUS of your database is listed as SUSPECT, refer to the following Knowledge Base Answer for information on resolving this issue:

    Title: Error” “Cannot Access Specified Database…” and the Database is Listed as SUSPECT in the Act! Diagnostics Utility
    Answer ID: 17715

    If the database STATUS is listed as ONLINE, continue with the steps below:

  5. Click the gray rectangle on the left side of the DATABASE name that you wish to Detach. The entire row displaying the database information becomes highlighted.
  6. Note the path in the DATABASE FILE LOCATION column.
  7. Right-click the rectangle on the left side of the DATABASE name, and then click Detach Database from the shortcut menu. The following Detach Database dialog box appears.
    Image 8
  8. Click Yes. The following Detach Database message appears.
    Image 9
  9. Click OK. Your database is detached from the Act! SQL Instance.
  10. Launch Act!. Act! launches with the following message:

    Note: If the database in question was not the last opened database, you may receive a different message or the Log on screen may appear for a different database. If you are presented with the Log on screen for a different database, click Cancel, and then click the Open Database button.

  11. Click OK. An Open dialog box appears.
    Image 11
  12. Click the Files of type drop-down arrow and change the file type to Act! Database (*.ADF).
    Your .ADF file appears in the Open window. If you don’t see your ADF file, browse to the path in Step 6.
  13. Double-click your .ADF file. The database begins to open and the following message may appear:
    Image 12
  14. Click OK to open your database.

Different Act! Versions
This error can result if you upgrade or update your Act! application to the current version but Act! has not been upgraded or updated on the Computer hosting the shared database. (or vise versa)

To determine your version of Act!, click the Help menu, and then click About Act!. The Version is displayed near the upper-right corner. Please ensure that the Version number of your Act! application is the same as the Version number in the Act! application installed on the computer hosting the shared database.

If you have upgraded or updated Act! on the host computer (Server) and have not yet restarted this computer, you may be able to resolve this issue by restarting this host computer. The database must be opened from the host computer after upgrading or updating the Act! software. Opening your shared database to upgrade or update the database. Only then can this database be opened from the upgraded or updated application on a remote computer. Please refer to the following Knowledge Base Answer:

Title: How to Upgrade Act! By Sage 2007 From a Previous Version
Answer ID: 19154


SQL Server Browser and SQL Server (ACT7) Service
This issue can result if the SQL Server Browser and/or SQL Server (ACT7) service is disabled or simply not started.

Follow the steps below to enable or start the SQL Server Browser and/or SQL Server (ACT7) Service.

  1. Click the Windows Start button, and then click Run. The Run dialog box appears.
  2. Type services.msc into the Open field, and then click OK. The Services panel appears.
    image 13
  3. Locate the SQL Server Browser and SQL Server (ACT7) services:
    • If the Status for either is Started, then right-click on each service and select Restart. If they are not started, then continue to the next step.
    • If the Startup Type displays Disabled, follow the steps below to change the Startup Type to Automatic:
      1. Right-click the SQL Server Browser service from the Name column, and then click Properties from the shortcut menu. The SQL Server Browser Properties (Local Computer) dialog box appears:
        image 14
      2. Click the Startup type field, and then click Automatic from the drop-down list.
      3. Click Apply, and then click OK.
    • If the Status does NOT display Started for this service, right-click the SQL Server Browser service, and then click Start from the shortcut menu. The following Service Control progress indicator may appear as the service is started on the Local Computer:
      image 15
    • If the Status displays Started for this service, right-click the SQL Server Browser service, and then click Restart from the shortcut menu.
  4. When complete, the Status column will display Started, and the Startup Type will display Automatic for the SQL Server Browser service.
  5. Repeat steps 3 through 4 for the SQL Server (ACT7) service if set to Disabled and/or not Started.

If the SQL Server (ACT7) service cannot be started using the above steps, then the service may be damaged. If this is the case you may need to uninstall and reinstall the service. Please see the following Knowledgebase articles for instructions to remove the service and then recreate it:

How to Manually Remove the ACT7 Instance of SQL
Answer ID: 23401

How to Manually Create the Microsoft® SQL Server® 2005 (Express Edition) ACT7 Instance
Answer ID: 19386


Protocols for ACT7; TCP/IP is Disabled
The TCP/IP option is disabled in the SQL Server Configuration Manager. Use the following steps:

  1. Click the Windows Start button, point to All Programs (or Programs), point to Microsoft SQL Server 2005, point to Configuration Tools, and then click the SQL Server Configuration Manager option. The SQL Server Configuration Manager panel launches.Note: If you have Microsoft SQL Server 2008 installed you will look for All Programs, then Microsoft SQL Server 2008, point to Configuration Tools, and then click theSQL Server Configuration Manager option.
  2. Expand SQL Server 2005 Network Configuration, and then click Protocols for ACT7 in the left pane.
  3. In the right pane ensure that the TCP/IP option in the Protocol Name column is Enabled in the Status column. If not right-click TCP/IP, and then click Enable from the shortcut menu.
  4. If you did have to make a change and enable these protocols, the SQL Service service will need to be restarted. To do this, click SQL Server 2005 Services on the left, then right-click SQL Server (ACT7) on the right, and select Restart.
  5. Close SQL Server 2005 Network Configuration panel.

Firewall or Anti-virus Blocking
If the SQL Server Browser and/or SQL Server (ACT7) services are started, and opening your database with the .ADF file fails to resolve your issue, refer to the following Knowledgebase Answer for information on adding Act! and SQL as exceptions to your firewall. If you have other firewall software, you will need to temporarily disable it to troubleshoot this issue.

Title: Using your Anti-Virus/Firewall Software with Act! by Sage
Answer ID: 25125

In addition, this issue can be caused by conflicting firewall or antivirus programs running at the same time on the same machine. Check to see if other firewall or anti-virus programs are running in addition to the Windows Firewall. If so, then they may be conflicting with the Windows Firewall. In this case, you can try disabling the Windows Firewall to resolve the issue.


Windows Server 2008: Windows Firewall incorrectly configured to allow access to SQL Server
If the machine hosting the database is using Windows Server 2008, then this issue may be caused by the Windows Firewall not being configured to allow access to the ACT7 instance of SQL Server on that machine. Please see  Microsoft Support article 968872 for a solution to this issue.
Note: The Microsoft article does not apply to Windows Small Business Server 2008.


Data Execution Prevention (DEP) Settings
This can result from the DEP (Data Execution Prevention) being set improperly. Use the following steps to review and change these settings:

  1. Right-click My Computer, and then click the Properties options from the shortcut menu. The System Properties dialog box appears. For Windows Vista, after clicking Properties, you must click Advanced System Settings to get to the System Properties screen.
    image 17
  2. Under the Advanced tab click the Settings button from the Performance section. The Performance Options dialog box appears.
    image 18
  3. Ensure the Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs and services only option is enabled. If you would prefer to use the Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select option, please refer to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base Document:
    A detailed description of the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) feature in Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, and Windows Server 2003
  4. Click ApplyOK, and then click Apply and OK to close the System Properties dialog box.
  5. Launch Act!.

Damaged Preferences File
This issue may be caused by damage to an Act! Preferences file. Follow the steps below to resolve this issue:
Warning: If your are using Internet Mail, Outlook Express, Eudora or Local Act! Folders for E-mail, renaming this preferences file may result in a loss of e-mail messages. If you are using Outlook for E-mail or are just beginning your use of Act! E-mail, you will not experience this issue.
If your are using Internet Mail, Outlook Express, Eudora or Local Act! Folders for E-mail, please create a backup of your Act! E-mail database. You can then restore this backup after renaming the preferences file, opening and then closing your Act! database. Refer to the following Knowledge Base document for detailed information on backing up and restoring your ACT E-mail database:

Title: How to Back Up and Restore Your Act! E-mail Database
Answer ID: 19212

  1. Close Act!.
  2. Launch Windows Explorer (or My Computer).
  3. Navigate to the location of your preferences file. By default, this file is located at: 
    • For Act! by Sage 2005 through 2010:
    • XP: C:\Documents and Settings\(User Name)\ Application Data\ACT\Act for Windows ##\
    • Vista/Windows 7: C:\Users\(User Name)\App Data\Roaming\Act\Act for Windows ##\
    • For Sage ACT! 2011:
    • XP: C:\Documents and Settings\(User Name)\ Application Data\ACT\Act Data
    • Vista/Windows 7: C:\Users\(User Name)\App Data\Roaming\Act\Act Data\
  4. Right-click the preferencesBak.XML file and then click Rename from the shortcut menu. Rename this file to preferencesBak.xml.old.
  5. Navigate to the following folder.C:\Documents and Settings\(User Name)\ Application Data\ACT\Act for Windows 9\Preferences
  6. Right-click the USPreferences206.XML file and then click Rename from the shortcut menu. Rename this file to USPreferences206.old.Caution: There is also a file in this directory named Preferences206.XML – Do Not rename the Preferences206.XML file.

    This file will be rebuilt when you launch Act!.

  7. Close Windows Explorer (or My Computer).
  8. Launch Act!. The Act! Getting Started Wizard launches.
  9. Proceed through this wizard to reconfigure your Word Processor and Fax preferences (but do NOT reconfigure E-mail if you backed up your e-mail messages) until you can open your database.
  10. Close Act! and restore your E-Mail (if necessary).

Compressed Files
Compressed files have been noted as a potential cause for this issue, especially if the database itself is compressed. Please use the following steps to attempt resolution:

  1. Open a Windows Explorer window.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. On the View tab, check Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color.
  4. Verify that Show hidden files and folders is checked.
  5. Click OK.
  6. On the Windows taskbar, click Start > Search > For Files or Folders.
  7. Click All files and folders.
  8. Click More advanced options.
  9. Check Search hidden files and folders.
  10. Click Search.
  11. Right-click each compressed file that is found (filename will be blue in color), click Properties, click Advanced, and then uncheck Compress contents to save disk space.

    Note: Look for files in the following directories:

    • {install drive}:\Program Files\ACT\ACT for Windows
    • {install drive}:\Programs Files\Microsoft SQL Server
    • Database (*.adf, *.alf files) and Database Files Folder
    • C:\Windows\system32. Look for any compressed files that begin with sql.
  12. Reboot the system.

Note: Alternately, you can uncompress the entire hard drive. This may take a substantial amount of time depending on the hard drive size. To complete this process, right-click on the C: (or root) drive, click Properties, click Advanced, and then uncheck Compress contents to save disk space. (Be sure to select to apply changes to Folder, Subfolder and Files)


Damaged Act! Database
If the issue persists after ensuring that the SQL Server Browser and/or SQL Server (ACT7) services are started and firewall software is disabled, it is likely that your database is damaged.

If you have a current backup, you may restore the backup to resolve this issue. If you do not have a current backup that can be restored, refer to the following Knowledge Base document for information on repairing and rebuilding your Act! database:

Title: Using the Act! Diagnostics Utility (ACTDiag) to Repair and Rebuild Your Act! Database
Answer ID: 26854


Multiple Shares Created for the Database
This issue may occur if there are multiple shares created for the database. To check for multiple shares, perform the following steps:

  1. Click on the Windows Start button and then click Run. The Run dialog box appears.
  2. Type compmgmt.msc in the Open field and click OK. The Computer Management Console launches.image 19
  3. Expand the Shared Folders and then Shares in the left pane.
  4. In the right pane, ensure there is only listing for your database’s Supplemental Files folder. If there are multiple shares listed for your database’s Supplemental Files folder (for example: TestDB-database files1), right-click the extra share name and select Stop Sharing. Repeat this step until only one share exists for your database’s Supplemental Files folder.

Problem on the Client Machine Resolving the Name of the Computer Hosting the Database
This error can occur if the client machine cannot properly resolve the name of the computer hosting the database. This can be fixed by editing the .PAD file to indicate the IP address of the computer hosting the database rather than the network name. Follow the steps below to replace the computer name with the IP address on the .PAD file.

  1. Locate the .PAD file being used to open the database.
  2. Right-click the .PAD file, point to Open With, then select Choose Program. The Open With dialogue box appears.
    image 20
  3. Select Notepad and then click OK. The Notepad window appears.
    image 21
  4. Look for the section stating “host=”. Within the quotation marks, replace the name of the computer hosting the database with it’s IP address. (Example: host=”192.168.0.1″)
  5. Click on the File menu at the top of the window, and click Save.
  6. Close Notepad.

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