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Define Value Lists corrupt?

Posted on 2004-10-19
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I went into one of my database files and tried to "Define Value Lists". When I do this, Filemaker crashes. It works on other databases, but not my Client database. I recovered the database, but still have the problem. Is there somewhere else that the "Define Value Lists" are stored? What would be the easiest way to recover this information? The rest of this database appears to be working fine...

Thanks,
John
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Question by:johnmoed
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billmercer earned 125 total points
ID: 12350079
First, make two backup backup copies of the original file from the client!

There's a slim chance that the crash is actually not caused by the file itself, but some sort of bug. Make sure you've installed the most recent patches available for your version of FileMaker. Also, try opening the file on a different computer, or opening it locally after booting up in "Safe Mode" to see if you can avoid the crash. It's worth a try, but don't get your hopes up.

The value lists are stored in the database file, along with the layouts, data, etc, so there's no other place to look to fix them. If running a recovery didn't fix it, there's probably something still wrong with the file.

I strongly suggest that you not try to use this file anymore. Find a previous backup copy from before the problem arose, create a clone (no records) of it, and import your current data into the clone. That's pretty much considered best practice whenever you have to run a recovery, even if the recovery is successful.

If you don't have a backup from before the problem arose, you have a tough choice to make. Either recreate the file from scratch, or take your chances with a file you know has already corrupted once. Recreating the file is of course my recommendation, but I know there can be circumstances where you don't have the time, or the option. In that case, you could try deleting the value list, and see if you can then recreate it to get the file working again. But that's only a stopgap measure, it might buy you time, but eventually you'll have problems again. Recreate the file.

If your goal is just to recover the information from the value list rather than repair the file, you could try opening the file with a different version of FileMaker, either a different version number, or a different platform, and see if the conversion fixes the problem well enough to let you retrieve the value list information. You can also try opening the file and sharing it on one computer, then connecting and editing the value list from a remote computer. If the remote computer crashes, the problem is more likely with the data in the value list, possibly a font-related problem for example. If the host computer crashes, then you're certainly looking at corruption of the file itself.
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by:lesouef
lesouef earned 125 total points
ID: 12352627
Does it do the same when accessing a given list via the field format in a layout instead of define lists?
If you clone the file? same?
If you have the dev. version, make a report to see the the guilty list, you may then understand what's wrong...
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by:johnmoed
ID: 12352680
I haven't had a chance to clone the file yet because everyone is still here using the DB. The problem doesn't affect anything unless I try to look at the Value Lists (through the menu or through the field format). I haven't looked at the value lists for this database for years. I checked my oldest backup and it also had the same problem...
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by:lesouef
ID: 12355705
If this base is hosted on a FM server (/NT), you can get a copy while running, simply pause server, make a copy, then resume server. It will pause users for a few seconds only.
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by:billmercer
ID: 12357551
Good point, Lesouef.
But even if you don't have FM server, you need to get a full backup ASAP, even if it means making people exit the database for a few minutes. Once you have two good full copies, you can archive one, use one to experiment on, and folks can go back to work with the original.

Although the value list is the only place the problem appears now, that doesn't mean it will stay there. Especially since FileMaker is crashing while accessing the damaged file, the problem could spread to other areas of the file. You should also start making regular daily or at least weekly backups and keeping them permanently, so you don't lose too much work if the file dies completely.

Once you've done this, try the previous suggestions and let us know what results you get. Also, if you can provide the exact text of the error message you get when FileMaker crashes, that might be helpful. (Click Details when the error message appears.)

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by:johnmoed
ID: 12358660
I checked some really old backups and it seems as though the Value Lists in this file have been corrupt for a long time. I made a backup this morning and recreated the file from an export from the original file. I can now define value lists and everything appears to be working fine.

Thanks for your help!
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by:billmercer
ID: 12359066
Glad we could help you. Make sure you implement a good backup procedure going forward!
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