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Why is an MSCOMM control in my Access application no longer supported by my application?

Posted on 2009-07-09
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Last Modified: 2013-11-28
I am developing an Access 2007 "project" (.adp) as a front end to a SQL Server 2005 Express database.

A couple of months ago I got myself sorted with "MSCOMM32.OCX" that allowed me to add a "Microsoft Communications Control V6" Active X Control to an Access Form, which in turn allowed me to read input from a barcode scanner attached to the COM1 serial port.

That all worked OK, but now that I am returning to do final testing, it seems that the control is not working.
I get a run-time error when I try to open the Form that contains the control and initialise its settings (error # 438, "Object doesn't support this object or method").
When I look at the form in "design mode", the control appears as a plain white box, as opposed to the "telephone icon" that I think appeared previously.
When I try to add a new MSCOMM control to my form I am told that my project "doesn't support this ActiveX control".

In my VBA Editor's "Tools - References" list, the "Microsoft Comm Control 6.0" box is ticked.

Can anyone explain why this control appears to have become disabled and how I can make it active again?
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Question by:colinasad
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colinasad earned 0 total points
ID: 24815528
On other web-sites I have discovered that a recent Microsoft update might have caused this problem.
Some say that the older version of MSCOMM32.OCX has had its "kill bit" set by update "kb969898" (which was installed on my system on 28th June).
Suggestions are to roll back the update, download an new version of MSCOMM32.OXC, or use a completely different method to read/write to the serial ports.

Any further information or suggestions from EE contributors would still be welcome.
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Expert Comment

by:Chuck Wood
ID: 24817047
tony's Microsoft Access Blog (URL 1) recommends replacing MSCOMM32.OCX with API (Application Programming Interface) code and links to a Serial Port Communication page (URL 2) where you can download VB source code to use the API.
1. http://msmvps.com/blogs/access/archive/2009/06/14/an-older-version-of-mscomm32-ocx-has-had-the-quot-kill-bit-quot-flag-set.aspx 
2. http://www.thescarms.com/vbasic/commio.aspx 
I hope this helps.
-chuck wood
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Author Comment

by:colinasad
ID: 24821372
Thanks, Chuck.
It was at Tony's page that I got my further info and downloaded the VB source for using API.
I must say I find this all very frustrating. I am currently revamping a DOS application that has run for the past 25 years and has been reading barcode scanner input from serial ports for last 15 years without a problem.
I thought that moving to Access/VBA would introduce me to much more modern and simpler routines but it seems to be the opposite. I find it incredible that Microsoft would issue an "upgrade" that disables what 4 months ago was the recommended way of reading serial ports in VBA applications. There must be thousands of applications affected by this.
I might look into using USB scanners and try to persuade my client to replace their serial scanners.

Regards. Colin.
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Expert Comment

by:Chuck Wood
ID: 24822434
You are welcome, Colin.
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Expert Comment

by:Mckenzma
ID: 24874499
I am having the same problem, i.e. an MSCOMM control in my Access application no longer is recognized.  Reading the blogs / links referenced above, it appears that Microsoft's action is in response to an identified vulnerability (CVE-2008-0024).

I have rolled back the update. MSCOMM control works as usual now.  Will be circumspect in connecting to the internet on the host laptop until I can re-write the application code and re-install the update.
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Author Comment

by:colinasad
ID: 24877930
Thanks, McKenzma.

I also read that rolling back the update would get MSCOMM working again but decided I would be swimming against the tide.
I reckoned it was time to make the move from serial ports to USB. Just hope my client can agree to updating/replacing their existing serial scanners.

Cheers. Colin.
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