Access Database Repair

Resolving Access database error “File Already in Use”

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    Summary: You may receive the Access database error - file already in use when opening a database stored on a server. In this blog, we will discuss the causes behind this error and the solutions to fix it. We will also mention an Access repair software that can help fix the error if it occurs due to corruption in the database.

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    Many users have reported encountering the Access database error ‘file already in use’ when opening a database on a network file share or stored on a server. The error message appears as:

    File already in use error message

    The error may also occur when modifying the database’s folder.

    Let’s discuss the reasons that may lead to such an error and the solutions to resolve it.

    Causes of Access Database Error “file already in use”

    The error ‘file already in use’ usually occurs when you do not have create permission for the folder in which the file is stored. However, there are various other reasons that could trigger this error, such as:

    • Corrupted database
    • When trying to access the database from an incorrect path
    • Trying to modify the database that is already open
    • If the Microsoft jet database can’t create the locking information file
    • Missing or corrupt lock files

    Methods to Fix Access Database Error ‘file already in use”

    Below are some methods that can help you resolve the “file already in use” error in MS Access.

    Method 1: Check and Provide Desired Permissions

    The “file already in use” error can occur when you do not have permissions to modify the folder in which the database file is located. So, make sure you have the read, write, and create permissions for the folder where the database is stored. To check and provide permissions, follow these steps:

    • Go to Program Files and search for the desired folder.
    • Right-click on the folder and select Properties.
    Select Properties after right-clicking on the folder to fix file already in use error
    • Click Security Tab > Advanced.
    Go to Security Tab in Properties window to fix file already in use error
    • In the Advanced Settings window, click on Change Permissions.
    Advanced security settings window to change Permissions to fix file already in use error
    • Select Administrators > Edit.
    • Change the Apply to drop-down to This Folder, Subfolder, and Files.
    • Select the Full Control box below the Allow column button.
    • Click OK > Apply.

    Method 2: Download Microsoft Office Updates

    Some users have reported encountering the error ‘Could not use the path to the database.accdb; file already in use’ after downloading the MS Office updates, specifically for Office 2013 and Office 2016. However, Microsoft released other updates to fix the issues. To download the updates specific to your Office version, refer to this Microsoft Guide.

    Method 3: Check the Path of the Database

    The “file already in use” error in MS Access can also occur if the path to the database.accdb file is incorrect. Make sure you’re opening the database using the standard UNC path. You can see the default path of the database using the following steps:

    • Go to File > Options.
    • In the Access Options window, check the path next to the Default database folder option.
    default database folder path to make sure the database is opened using the standard UNC path

    Method 4: Close all Opened Access Files

    You may also encounter the “file already in use” error if multiple Access database files are open. You can just close all the Access database files using the below steps:

    • Place your cursor on the Taskbar and right-click on it.
    • Click on Close all Windows.
    click on close all windows

    Method 5: Repair Corrupt Access Database

    There are chances that the Access database file is corrupt. If the database is corrupt, you may encounter various errors, including the file already in use error. In this case, you can use the Microsoft inbuilt utility – Compact and Repair to repair the corrupt database. To run this tool, follow the below steps:

    • Open the Microsoft Access application.
    • Double-click on Blank desktop database.
    Open Blank Database
    • Go to File > Close.
    • On the Blank Database window, click File.
    • Click Compact and Repair database, under Database Tools.
    Under database Tools, click on Compact and Repair Database
    • Choose the database you need to Compact and Repair and click on Compact.
    Select database to compact
    • Once the process is complete, a compacted and repaired copy of the Access database will be saved at the actual location where your database is stored.

    If the Compact and Repair utility fails to fix the corrupted database, then you can use a professional Access repair tool, such as Stellar Repair for Access. It is an advanced tool to repair corrupt MDB and ACCDB files. It recovers all the database objects, like forms, macros, tables, deleted records, modules, etc. The software allows you to preview the recoverable data before saving it. It is compatible with database files of MS Access 2019, 2016, 2013, and earlier versions.


    The Access database error “file already in use” can occur due to numerous reasons. You can follow the above-mentioned methods to fix the issue. If the error is occurred due to corruption in the database file, then you can use the Compact and Repair utility in MS Access to repair the file. If it fails, you can use a professional Access repair software, like Stellar Repair for Access. It can easily repair severely corrupted Access database files and retrieve all the data with 100% integrity.

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    About The Author

    Priyanka Chauhan linkdin

    Priyanka is a technology expert working for key technology domains that revolve around Data Recovery and related software's. She got expertise on related subjects like SQL Database, Access Database, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Excel. Loves to write on different technology and data recovery subjects on regular basis. Technology freak who always found exploring neo-tech subjects, when not writing, research is something that keeps her going in life.


    1. Every time I try to open Access file I get an error message ‘Access database already in use”. So, to fix this issue I tried manual solutions. But it doesn’t work to fix this error.

      Should I try this one Access database repair tool?

    2. At work, we have an Access database created by Access 2000, used as a backend for I can have Access 2000 open on the server and users can still use it all day long. I was testing something at home and I have Access 2003 on my test server.

      The database is opening in “shared” mode, but I get a “file in use” error if, on the server, I just have the database open in Access 2003, not adding data to a table or editing columns or anything. Just open. Close the database in 2003 and it starts working in my app.

      My question is, how to resolve Access error? So, I can access in Access 2003 version also.

    3. I’m working on MS Access 2013 database and I have saved the System.mdw file to a folder on the Server and linked all users to it. When multiple users attempt to log in, they get the message “file already in use”.

      Now how I resolve this error?

      1. Hello Ronald,

        Please review all file permissions (‘read’, ‘write’ and ‘create’) carefully to identify the root causes.

    4. I have a running website which is live Access database using ASP.NET 2.0. I got this error:

      “file already in use”.


    5. Sometimes, an unknown error is responsible for the error in Access database file. In this situation, you should run Stellar Repair for Access.

    6. I am getting this error when saving as Access database file. Yesterday, I switched to New Windows 10 PC. Is new operating system is responsible for this one error? 

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