How To Fix Access Database Error ‘File Already in Use’?

You may encounter the “file already in use” error while opening or modifying an Access database (.mdb/.accdb) file on a network file share or stored on a server. It looks the file is already in use by another user.

The error usually appears when you do not have sufficient permissions on the folder where the database file is stored. However, various other reasons can lead to the “Could not use ‘filename’; file already in use” error message, such as:

How To Fix Access Database Error ‘File Already in Use’?

  • The database you are trying to modify is already open.
  • You are using incorrect path to open the database file.
  • The database is corrupted or damaged.
  • The Microsoft Jet database failed to create the locking information file.

In this article, we’ll discuss the ways to fix the “file already in use” error in MS Access.

Ways to Fix the Access Database Error “File Already in Use”

Some users have reported encountering the “Could not use the path to the database.accdb; file already in use” error after installing the MS Office updates. So, Microsoft has released another update to fix the issues.

If you’ve also encountered the error after installing the MS Office updates, then you can download and install (see the Microsoft Guide)the latest Windows and MS Office updates to resolve the issues. If this is not the case, then follow the below solutions to fix the error.

1. Close all Opened Access Database Files

The “file already in use” error can occur if multiple Access database files are opened at the same time. You can close all the Access database files.

To do this, just place your cursor on the Microsoft Access icon, right-click on it, and then click Close all Windows. Now, try to open the file. If the issue is not resolved, then follow the next methods.

2. Check the Path of the Database

The “file already in use” error may occur if the database file path is incorrect. So, you need to ensure that you’re accessing the database file using the standard UNC path. You can check the default path of the database using the below steps:

  • In MS Access, go to File and then click
  • The Access Options window is displayed. You can see the database file path, under the Creating databases column, next to the Default database folder

File Already in Use

3. Check File and Folder Permissions

You can modify or share the database file if you’ve the required permissions. If you do not have sufficient permissions on the file or the folder (where the file is located),you can experience the “file already in use” error.

To check and grant file permissions, follow these steps:

  • Press Windows+E to open the Windows Explorer
  • Find and select the affected database file, right-click on it, and then click Properties.

File Already in Use

  • In the Properties window, click the Security option and click

File Already in Use

  • Under the Security window, select the group or user names.
  • Check if the below options are selected:
  • Full control
  • Modify
  • Read & Execute
  • Read
  • Write
  • If not, then select them.
  • Click Apply and then

After this, check the folder permissions. Make sure you have the read, write, and create permissions for the folder in which the database is stored. Here are the steps to check and provide folder permissions:

  • Search for the folder where the affected database file is stored.
  • Right-click on the folder and click Properties.
  • Click on the Security taband click on

File Already in Use

  • In the Advanced Settings window, click Change Permissions.
  • Click Administrators and then click Edit.
  • Set the “Apply to” dropdown to This Folder, Subfolder, and Files.
  • Select the Full Control under the Allow column
  • Click Apply>OK.

4. Check Network Connection

If the network connection fails when using ODBC Protocol to connect the Microsoft Access database to an external data source, then you may encounter the file already in use error. The complete error message may appear as:

Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error ‘80004005’

[Microsoft][ODBC Microsoft Access Driver] Could not use ‘(unknown)’; file already in use

You can check your system’s internet connection status. To do this, go to Settings>Network&Internet>Status.

5. Repair Access Database

Corruption in the Access database file can also prevent you from opening it, leading to the “file already in use” error. You can repair the database using Compact and Repair – a built-in utility in MS Access. Here’s how to run this utility:

  • Open the Microsoft Access application.
  • Double-click on the Blank Desktop database.
  • Go to File and then click
  • On the Blank Database window, click the File
  • Under the Database Tools button, click Compact and Repair Database.
  • Click on the database you need to compact and repair and then click

The compacted and repaired copy of the database file will be saved at the same location where it was originally saved.

If the Compact and Repair utility fails to repair the file, then you can try a professional Access database repair software, like Stellar Repair for Access. It is a purpose-built Access database repair software to help users repair even severely corrupted Access database files.

It can recover all the database components, including reports, forms, tables, macros, and tables. The software supports Office 365, Access 2019, Access 2016, and earlier versions.

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To Conclude

You can get the “file already in use” error due to insufficient file and folder permissions, incorrect file path, corruption in the database files (.accdb or .mdb), and other reasons. You can follow the ways discussed in this article to resolve the error.

If nothing works, use Stellar Repair for Access to repair the corrupted ACCDB/MDB file and restore all its data. The software can also repair split databases. You can download the free trial version of the Stellar Repair for Access software to evaluate its functionality.