Aug 04

Error: “The operating system is not presently configured to run this application” with Access Database Engine (DAO.DBEngine)

Microsoft Office Update Version 2107 (Build 14228.20204) Breaks Applications using the Access Database Engine (ACE)

Background

Last week on Tuesday July 27th, Microsoft Office released version 2107 (Build 14228.20204) to Current Channel customers. It updates the Access Database Engine (ACE) ACEDAO.dll that supports connections to Access databases.

From Access, Account, next to the About Access button is your Version, Build and Channel

Problem

Unfortunately, this broke applications outside of Office such as Visual Studio and other programming platforms that rely on ACE to open Access databases. Programs include Microsoft programs such as PowerBI, SQL Server Management Assistant (SSMA), in addition to programs from other organizations that support Access databases. Errors like this appear:

The operating system is not presently configured to run this application

The error can be triggered in Visual Studio .NET with a single line of code that initializes the Access database engine: dbe = New DAO.DBEngine

The error occurs before opening any database because the core database engine fails. Even worse, having the code in a Try..Catch block doesn’t trigger the catch. It stays in an infinite loop requiring the need to close the application from the Windows Task Manager. Ugh!

Impacts Total Access Admin and Total Visual Agent

Unfortunately, this bug impacts our Total Access Admin and Total Visual Agent programs.

Total Access Admin lets you monitor who’s connecting and disconnecting from Access databases across your network.

Our database administrator program, Total Visual Agent, automates Microsoft Access database tasks like nightly compacts.

They include EXE and DLL programs that run outside of Access and rely on ACE to support your databases. They may fail if Office/Access 365 is installed on the machine with Current Channel and ACE was updated.

This Happened Before

This is particularly disappointing because the same problem occurred in September 2020 when Office released version 2008 (Build 13127.20296). It was fixed when version 2009 (Build 13231.20262) was released.

See this Microsoft Support page for more information on that experience.

Solutions

Unfortunately, there isn’t a solution once this Office update is installed on a PC other than going back to a prior version. Visit Microsoft’s pages for instructions:

On the update history page, you can see the prior versions. Reverting back to the last Monthly Enterprise Channel version 2105 (Build 14026.20334) from July 13, 2021 works.

Change Your Update Channel

From experience, we can attest that using the Current Channel causes too much disruption. To eliminate the chance of this happening again on your PCs, you can turn off all updates, then manually update when you want:

From Access, Account, click the Update Options button and choose Disable Updates

The downside is this may leave your PC vulnerable to security problems that the updates address. It also prevents bug fixes and new features Microsoft adds to Office 365 over time. You’ll need to remember to come here and click Update Now periodically.

A less drastic change is switching your Current Channel to Monthly Enterprise or Semi Annual Channel. Visit our page How to Change the Update Channels for Microsoft 365 Apps for options and detailed steps.

Microsoft’s Expected Fix

Microsoft informed us a fix is in the Office Update scheduled for next week on Tuesday, August 10, 2021. For more information, visit Microsoft’s support page Error: “The operating system is not presently configured to run this application” when when trying to use the Access Database Engine DAO API from a non-Microsoft Office application.

Note that this is for the Current Channel, so if you changed to a different channel you won’t get this automatically.

Feb 25

Breaking ACE out of the Bubble!

An important announcement from the Microsoft Access team addresses the problems with connecting to Access ACCDB databases from other programs.

The ACCDB database format was introduced with Access 2007 and offered a new Access Database Engine (ACE) for external programs to connect to it. Connecting to the earlier MDB database format was never an issue because that requires Data Access Object (DAO) which is part of Windows.

Connecting to Microsoft Access Databases Outside of Access

ACE was available when Access 2007 and 2010 were installed. However, later Access versions sandboxed ACE so only Office could use it. It prevented other programs, including Microsoft programs such as PowerBI and the SQL Sever Migration Assistant (SSMA), from using it to support ACCDB databases.

The solution was to separately install the ACE Redistributable which provided ACE OLEDB (Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.16.0, or Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0). That was a hassle and complicated because

  • Not every user had permissions to install it
  • Installations were 32 or 64-bit specific
  • Even if it were installed, it could be out-of-sync with the Access version that is installed.

This was especially frustrating because when Access is installed on the machine, it includes ACE but simply didn’t allow other programs to use it. And because Access/Office 365 was constantly being updated, its version of ACE may support features that the redistributable didn’t, creating conflicts.

ACE is Now Available with Access

With this Microsoft announcement, ACE is now exposed and available for external programs to use it.

If you have Office 365, or click-to-run versions of Access 2016/2019 Consumer installed, you no longer need to install ACE to support external programs.

This change enables previously unsupported scenarios, including Microsoft programs, to connect to Access ACCDB databases without installing ACE. It eliminates incompatibility issues between different versions of ACE. It also helps our programs Total Access Admin, Total Access Startup, and Total Visual Agent connect to Access ACCDB databases directly.

Microsoft’s Official Announcement

Visit the announcement from the Microsoft Access program manager Ebo Quansah: Breaking ACE Out of the Bubble.