Interesting Fun with Microsoft Access MDB Files

I got a call from a user today having problems opening a MDB file. It appears this file was from a government organization on the West Coast responsible for air quality control. I went to the web site the user gave me and no where does it state what version of Access you need to open the file! My user in question had Microsoft Access 2000 and was getting an error that his version was too old to open this MDB file, so I tried Microsoft Access XP on his computer and got a different error. The error I got was this:

Microsoft Access cannot open this file. This file is located outside your intranet or on an untrusted site.
Microsoft Access will not open the file due to potential security problems. To open the file, copy it to your
computer or an accessible network location
.”

This was quite an interesting error message as the file was being opened from the local C: drive! Upon searching the Microsoft web site, this error message is given and the solution is this:
This behavior can occur because an FQDN or IP address contains periods, which causes Internet Explorer
to identify the Web site or share as being in the Internet zone.

Nothing was listed in the security zones. How was I to know what exact URL it was going after to add it to the security zone? Our local GPOs prevent changing the Internet security settings, so this wasn’t an option any ways. Upon searching further, I stumbled upon this blog entry that says that new features in service pack 2 for Windows XP cause this behavior. The solution is to right-click on the MDB file, select Properties and then click “Unblock”. I tried that and it worked great. Goes to show you that all error messages are not created equal.
– Soli Deo Gloria

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