MS Access 2003 "Disk or Network Error" Help!

We having been using a Access database to access our budget requirements. It has always worked fine. Now user from remote branches are getting several "disk or network error" messages in which the only thing they can do is close the database. All of the work they did is lost. What are these errors, and more inportantly, how do we eliminate them, Forever!
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Kelvin SparksCommented:
This error occurs when the user's front end (the program copy) loses connection with the data back end. Is caused by a network fault or a remote connection being dropped. Once Access realises this you get this error which cannot be backed out of.
The solution - ensure the quality of the connection is improved - or change the remoyte connection to one where the use a front end at the end where the back end resides and use something like Remote Desktop, terminal services or Citrix.

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sounds to me as if they have a slightly dodgy connection with short intermittent disconnects. Access used in this manner is not robust.

You have three choices:

1. upgrade to a client server model using SQL server as the engine and keeping Access as the front end
2. use a terminal server so that users are connected to the database locally and only connected to the terminal server remotely
3. use synchronisation so that users have live copies that get synced back (complex and difficult to set up)
Things to check for this problem:
All databases are heavy network users. To reduce the risk of corruption and speed up the database, these are things to do for any database:

1: Make sure your hardware is in top shape, all computers are routinely vacuumed to remove dust and lint and your network is set up correctly. Have all the machines on the same domain.  It could be dust or lint build up since they were working ok.

2: Have individual front ends on each machine. I created a database that checks the server for a newer copy of the front end, downloads it if needed, then runs it. You can get a copy of it at:, Updated Front End

3: Create a mapped drive for the backend or place the backend folder as close to the root folder and use only UNC path to the backend. Some people (and Microsoft) say the mapped drive is better, some say the UNC path is better. I have found it depends on the network setup.

4: Have the name of the backend and the name of the folders in the UNC path to it as short as possible meeting dos 8.3 naming specs and with only alpha numeric characters. \\server1\C:\db\db1_be.mdb is better than \\Database Server 601\C:\My Database Folder\Database Backends\My Database Backend_be.mdb

5: Don't run a local copy of the front end on the machine that has the backend -- best to have the backend on a true server running a domain with all workstations subscribed to the domain. You might get by running home version for two computers, maybe three sharing a very small, simple Access database on the home version although you may run into sharing problems. In a work situation, running a multi user Access database, all workstations should be running the pro version. It you have less than about five workstations, you might get away with the backend being on a system running pro but more than that or with a complicated database, you need a domain and the server running a server OS. Get up to a dozen heavy users or a couple of dozen light users and the server should be a true server, be dedicated to only serving the one database and the backend should be SQL Server (or SQL Server Express)

All of this is cutting down the number of times accesses need to be qualified, files need to be opened and closed and reduces the complexity of parsing the path all of which reduces the chance of corruption and speed up the database.
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How are the users from remote branches connecting to the database?
jasbday40Author Commented:
They are connecting through a VLAN.
There are many issues that could cause intermittent VLAN dropout. You probably should have your VLAN supplier check it for problems.
Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
The last suggestion of Kelvin is the solution.

jasbday40Author Commented:
We are not at a position to install a terminal server right now. Is there somew other way to stabilize this connection?
speak to your ISP
Your three options are:
1. Find and correct the problem(s) in the VLAN (which should be done anyway). This question should be posted in one or more of the Networks Zones.

2. Use Remote Desktop, terminal services or Citrix over the VLAN which will reduce the traffic over the VLAN reducing the VLAN problem and will reduce the problem you slated "All of the work they did is lost."

3. Use Me.Dirty = False in the after update event of many or all the controls to sure the data as it is entered to reduce the problem "All of the work they did is lost."  this will increase the traffic over the VLAN compounding the VLAN problem.

Note: 2 and 3 will not fix 1.
Use Me.Dirty = False in the after update event of many or all the controls to STORE the data...
Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
He can't do anything. This is just not possible in a reliable way.

But a terminal server is not needed. A cheap and proven offer is found here:

If you can install Windows XP you can install this.

DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
I'm going to note here that many times ... 'Disk or Network Error" actually means the mdb is corrupted and has nothing to do with a network or disk.  I've seen it many times.  In almost all cases, a Decompile will fix it.

Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
That is not my experience, on the contrary, that error message is very precise. Note that is does not exclude that corruption has taken place (as a result of the error):

DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
Sorry, but I have seen it many times over the years ... thus my experience :-)

DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
In fact, I should add an important note:  What I should have said is ... "I've seen it many times when I was *not* connected to a network at all"

So, jasbday40 should try a decompile.

To decompile and recompile the db:


2) decompile: in run: msaccess "dbPathName.mdb" /decompile
   Compact/repair:  in run: msaccess "dbPathName.mdb" /compact
   compile: in VB editor: debug> compile

If it works, points should go to DatabaseMX as he suggested it.
DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
A decompile won't hurt ... but ... in this case, because this is a 'remote' case ... it probably is a network issue.  

jasbday40Author Commented:
This worked great!, Thanks.
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