How to troubleshoot fatal system errors in Access 2002 running on Windows Millennium

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This article applies to a Microsoft Access database (.mdb) and to a Microsoft Access project (.adp).

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Summary

This article discusses the causes of fatal system errors in Microsoft Access 2002 running on Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me), and provides general troubleshooting steps for solving them.

Note This is a general article. The Microsoft Knowledge Base may have a specific article that addresses the exact error that you are experiencing. To see if a specific article exists, search the Microsoft Knowledge Base on the exact text of the error message. To search the Microsoft Knowledge Base, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/search/?adv=1
For more information about how to troubleshoot fatal system errors on Microsoft Windows 2000, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
294301 How to troubleshoot fatal system errors in Access 2002 running on Microsoft Windows 2000

INTRODUCTION

Usually, a fatal system error, which may be an invalid page fault, a STOP error, a fatal exception error, or an application exception error, will cause a Windows-based application such as Microsoft Access to stop responding or to fail. This article focuses on such errors in Windows Me. In some rare cases, such an error may cause your operating system to stop responding. Overall, there are two basic causes for fatal errors:
  • Something unexpected has happened within the Windows environment; typically an improper memory address. For example, an application or a Windows component might read or write to a memory location that has not been allocated to it (memory that it does not own), potentially overwriting and corrupting other program code in that area of memory.
  • Parameters that are not valid have been passed between applications and the Windows environment. Invalid parameters can cause invalid instructions to be executed, resulting in page faults. This is usually the result of the application's internal program code incorrectly passing specific data that could not be correctly interpreted by Windows or a Windows-based application.
Because these causes are general, you may need to try several troubleshooting steps to find the specific cause of such an error in Microsoft Access. You can begin by investigating the following application-related problems:
  • A confirmed bug in Microsoft Access
  • A damaged database
  • A fragmented database
  • A corrupted database
  • Incorrect Registry settings
  • Mismatched dynamic link libraries (.dll files)
If you determine that the cause is none of these, you can investigate the following system-related problems:
  • A memory conflict
  • Incorrect or crowded Temp folder
  • Incompatible or corrupted video driver
  • A printer driver or settings problem
  • Incorrect virtual memory settings
  • Incorrect file-system settings
  • Hard disk fragmentation or disk errors
These application-related and system-related problems, and the steps to troubleshoot them, are discussed in the following sections.

More information

Application-related problems

Confirmed bug in Microsoft Access

A fatal system error is occasionally caused by a bug in a program. The error that you may see in this case may look like the following:
Microsoft Access has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
You can view details on the error by clicking the text "click here." There you find information such as which file was involved in the error and the memory offset at which the error occurred.

You can find more information about any known Microsoft Access problems that may cause fatal system errors by searching on the following words in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
page fault
For more information about error messages in Windows Me, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
264938 How to examine detailed error messages in Windows Millennium Edition

Damaged or fragmented database

If a fatal system error only occurs when you open or use a particular database file, use the Compact and Repair Database command in Access to correct any potential problems caused by damage or excessive fragmentation of the database structure. To use the Compact and Repair Database command, follow these steps:
  1. Close the database. If you are in a multi-user environment, confirm that all users have also closed the database.
  2. Make a backup copy of the database. You can use Windows Explorer to do so. However, Microsoft recommends that you routinely copy the database to another medium, such as to another hard disk, to backup tape, to removable hard disk, or to a network drive for safe keeping. When you work with Microsoft Access databases (*.mdb), you should also create a backup of the workgroup information file (*.mdw file). Microsoft Access stores each user's preferences and security account information in this file. If this file is lost or damaged, you may not be able to start Microsoft Access until you restore or rebuild this file.

    You can back up individual database objects by creating a blank database and then importing the objects that you want from the original database.
  3. On the Tools menu, point to Database Utilities, and then click Compact and Repair Database.
  4. Specify the name and location of the database that you want to repair.
Note After you run the Compact and Repair Database command, if your database behaves unpredictably or if you receive a fatal system error (either immediately or after continued use), try the additional troubleshooting steps that are described in this article to find the cause of the page fault.

Note It is a good idea to run the Compact and Repair Database command on a regular basis.

Corrupted database

If the Compact and Repair Database command does not solve unpredictable behavior or application-related fatal system errors, try creating a new database, importing objects from the old database, and compiling all modules in the new database.

Note This method is not recommended if your database is a replica in a replica set. If your replica is corrupted, it is better to create a new replica from the Design Master.

To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Create a new Access 2002 database.
  2. On the File menu, point to Get External Data, and then click Import.
  3. In the Import dialog box, make sure to select Microsoft Access in the Files of type list.
  4. In the Look in box, select the drive and folder that stores the Microsoft Access database that you want to import.
  5. Select the file, and then click Import.
  6. Click one or more objects to import. You may want to select only one or a few objects at a time to make it easier to identify any corrupted objects.
  7. Click OK to import the selected objects. If an object generates an error while it is being imported, the object is probably damaged beyond repair. In this case, you must import the object from a backup database or re-create the object from scratch. The error may also have prevented other objects from being imported. Repeat steps 2 through 6 until you have imported all the other objects into the new database. One method that you can use is to import all tables, then all forms, then reports, and so on. If an error occurs within a group of objects, try to import smaller blocks of objects or even one object at a time (depending on how many you have) from that group until you find the object or objects that cause an error.
  8. Compile all the imported modules in the new database. To do so, follow these steps:
    1. In the Database window, click Modules under Objects.
    2. Select a module, and then click Design.
    3. On the Debug menu, click Compile database name.
  9. Quit Microsoft Access.
Note If your original database has references to libraries or projects (or both), you should make a note of the references. Then open an existing or a new VBA module in your new database, and on the Tools menu, click References to add the same references to your new database.

If a damaged, a fragmented, or a corrupted database was the cause of the unpredictable behavior or application-related page, you should not see these problems the next time that you run Microsoft Access and open this new database. If you do see the same problems in the new database, try the additional troubleshooting steps that are described in this article to find the cause of the problem.

For more information about what to do if the database has become corrupted, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
283849 How to troubleshoot and to repair a damaged Access 2002 or later database

Damaged installation

The problems that you are seeing may be related to the way Access 2002 is installed on your computer. If you have another computer available that has Access 2002 installed, try your database there. If you suspect that the cause of a fatal system error or unpredictable behavior in Microsoft Access is application-related (meaning it is not any particular database), it may result from such things as incorrect settings in the registry or from one or more missing or corrupted Office XP files. In this case, you can reset or rebuild the Office installation.

To repair the installation, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. In Control Panel, double-click Add Remove Programs.
  3. In the Add Remove Programs dialog box, if yours is a stand-alone version of Access, click Microsoft Access 2002. If you installed Access as part of Microsoft Office XP Professional, click Microsoft Office XP Professional.
  4. Click Add/Remove.
  5. On the first Setup page, click Repair Office.
  6. If you are prompted, insert the CD for Microsoft Access 2002 or Office XP. You may not be prompted if you installed from a network.
  7. Continue through Setup until the repair is finished.
  8. When Setup is finished, start Microsoft Access again, and then perform the same steps that caused the error. If you still receive a fatal system error or if Access behaves unpredictably (either immediately or after continued use), you should try the additional troubleshooting steps that are described in this article to find the cause.
If repairing the installation did not solve the problem, try removing Microsoft Access 2002 or Microsoft Office XP Professional. To remove and then reinstall the installation, follow these steps:
  1. Remove Access 2002 or Office XP Professional:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
    2. In Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs. The Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box appears.
    3. Select the program to uninstall, and then click Add/Remove.
    4. Follow the instructions to remove all of the programs.
  2. Reinstall Access 2002 or Office XP Professional:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
    2. In Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs. The Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box appears.
    3. In the dialog box, click Install.
    4. Follow the instructions in the installer.

System-related problems

This section discusses system-related causes for fatal system errors in Windows Me.

Memory conflict

A common cause of fatal system errors is a memory conflict involving a device driver, a system component, or some other loaded file. To troubleshoot a memory conflict, the first step is to restart your computer in Safe mode.
Start the computer Safe mode
Safe mode bypasses startup files, including the registry, Config.sys, Autoexec.bat, and the [Boot] and [386Enh] sections of the System.ini, and provides you with access to the configuration files. Only essential system files and device drivers (such as mouse, keyboard, and standard VGA) are loaded. This makes Safe mode useful for isolating and solving memory conflicts.

Start Windows Me in Safe mode:
  1. Click Start, and then click Shut Down.
  2. Click Restart, and then click OK.
  3. Hold down the CTRL key until the Microsoft Windows Startup Menu appears.

    Note On some computers, you can use F8 instead of CTRL to display the Microsoft Windows Startup Menu.
  4. Enter the number for Safe mode, and then press ENTER.
  5. In Safe mode, Windows uses default settings (VGA monitor, Microsoft mouse driver, and the minimum device drivers required to start Windows). You are connected to your network, and you do not have access to CD-ROM drives, printers, or other devices. You can change settings as needed by clicking Start, pointing to Settings, clicking Control Panel, and then double-clicking Network or System. If these items do not appear, click to view all Control Panel options.
  6. After Windows Me is finished loading in Safe mode, open Microsoft Access, and try to reproduce the fatal system error.
  7. After you finish checking your system in Safe mode, restart your computer to run Windows in normal mode.
If you cannot reproduce the fatal system error in Safe mode, the cause could still be system or file related. Continue with the troubleshooting steps below.
Start the computer by using line-by-line confirmation
Try restarting your computer and stepping through the startup commands line by line. For more information about this technique, refer to the Windows Me Help file as follows:
  1. Click Start, and then click Help
  2. In the Search box, type confirm startup commands, and then click Go.
  3. Click the "To confirm startup commands line by line" topic to view it.
Try to perform a clean boot of your computer. For information about how to perform a clean boot of Windows Me, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
267288 How to perform a clean boot in Windows Millennium Edition
Additionally, you can try the other troubleshooting steps that are discussed in this article.

Check for a valid temporary folder and delete temporary files

It is essential to have adequate free disk space available on the hard disk that contains the temporary folder. A good rule is to have free disk space that is twice the size of your largest production database. For instance, if the database is 8 MB (megabytes) in size, the free disk space should be at least 16 MB.

Temporary files should be created and then deleted as needed, but sometimes they are not deleted and remain in the temp folder. Extra unneeded temporary files can mount up and take up disk space. The following steps detail how to check for a valid temporary directory and also how to delete any temporary files.
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Information.
  2. On the Tools menu, click System Configuration Utility.
  3. Click the Environment tab, and then look for the TEMP variable.
  4. If the TEMP variable is missing, click New. Type TEMP for Variable Name, and C:\Windows\Temp for Variable Value, and then click OK.

    If the TEMP variable is present but the path is incorrect, click Edit and type a valid path for the Variable Value. Then click OK.

    Note If a temp folder does not exist on your disk, you must open Windows Explorer and create a temp folder in the Windows folder.
  5. If the TEMP variable is not selected, click to select the check box for the TEMP variable.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 for the TMP variable as well.
  7. Click OK, and then click No if you are prompted to restart your computer.
  8. Insert your Windows Me startup disk in your disk drive.
  9. Click Start, and then click Shut Down. Make sure Restart is selected in the list. Click OK.
  10. After you restart Windows to a command prompt, type the following, and then press ENTER after each line:
    c:
    cd\windows\temp
    If the cd\windows\temp folder does not exist, you must create the folder. You can create the temporary folder on your hard disk by typing the following line at the command prompt:
    md c:\windows\temp
  11. Delete any temporary files in this folder. Temporary files typically have a .tmp extension. To delete these files, type the following line and then press ENTER:
    del *.tmp
Note Do not delete these files when you are running Windows, because Windows or a Windows-based program may be using one of these files.

In Windows Me, you can delete many unused or temporary files with the Disk Cleanup tool. For more information about this tool, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
186099 Description of the Disk Cleanup tool

Video problem

Occasionally, in Microsoft Access, you can experience page faults or unpredictable screen behavior, because of a video driver conflict or an incorrect graphics hardware setting for your system.
Video Driver Conflict
To troubleshoot a video driver conflict, change your system's video adapter to Standard VGA, which should work with most monitors. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Display.
  2. Click the Settings tab, click Advanced, click the Adapter tab, and then click Change.
  3. Click Next, click Display a list of all the drivers in a specific location, so you can select the driver you want, and then click Next.
  4. Click Show All Hardware, click Standard Display Types in the Manufacturer box, click Standard Display Adapter (VGA) in the Models box, and then click Next.
  5. Click Yes, click Next, and then click Finish.
  6. Click Close, click Close, and then click Yes when you are prompted to restart your computer.

    If changing your video adapter to the Standard VGA driver resolves the issue, contact your video adapter manufacturer to inquire about the availability of an updated Windows Me video adapter driver. For more information about how to troubleshoot display problems, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    127139 Troubleshooting video problems in Windows
Printer driver problem
If you are trying to print in Microsoft Access or if you are trying to print preview an Access object when you get a fatal error, the problem may be caused by the printer driver (the software that runs your printer). The driver may be corrupted or may be incompatible with some other software on your computer.

Note In rare cases, a corrupted database may cause printing problems. Therefore, before troubleshooting the printer driver, please try the same print operation on another database on that computer or, if you share the printer with other computers, take your database to another computer and try printing or previewing it there. If you find that this database is the only one on which the error occurs, it could be a corrupted database.
Testing with the Generic/Text Only driver
To test whether you have a problem with your print driver, try the Generic/Text Only driver. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Double-click the Add Printer icon and follow the instructions in the Add Printer Wizard to install the Generic/Text Only printer driver.
  3. Try to print from Microsoft Access with this driver.
Note If the printing problems exist for Generic/Text Only driver as well as another driver, the problem is most likely not driver-specific. However, if the printing problem seems to be corrected by using a different printer driver, follow these steps to remove and reinstall the first printer driver:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  2. Right-click the printer that you want to remove, and then click Delete.
  3. If you are prompted to remove all the files associated with the printer, click Yes.
  4. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
  5. Double-click the Add Printer icon and follow the instructions in the Add Printer Wizard to reinstall the original printer driver.

    Note If reinstalling the printer driver does not resolve the error or errors, try using a different driver or the Generic/Text Only driver again. In the meantime, you should contact the printer driver manufacturer to report the problem and find out if an updated driver is available.

Virtual memory settings

If you have already tried deleting unnecessary files, and you still have a performance problem, try changing the Windows default virtual memory settings.

If you have more than one drive available, you may get better performance if you specify that Windows locate the swap file on a drive other than the default in the following cases:
  • If the default drive doesn't have much free disk space, and another local drive has more space available.
  • If another local drive is available that is faster than the current drive (unless that disk is already heavily used).
You also may get better performance if you specify that the minimum disk space available for virtual memory is at least twice the size of available RAM. For example, if a computer has 20 MB of RAM, you should specify at least 40 MB of virtual memory. You may want to specify more if several large applications will be running at the same time.

For information about changing Windows virtual memory settings, see the "virtual memory settings" topic in Windows Help. For more information about virtual memory, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
128327 How Windows 95 manages virtual memory

Check the hard disk for disk errors and fragmentation

Use the Scandisk program to check the hard disk for lost clusters and other file allocation table (FAT) errors and to test the hard disk integrity. You can also use the Scandisk program to repair any of these problems. To run Scandisk, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scandisk.
  2. Click the drive that you want to check for errors, and then click Start.
Hard disks that are very fragmented can affect the performance and reliability of Office programs and other tasks in Windows. To resolve this problem, run Disk Defragmenter to defragment the hard disk drive. To run Disk Defragmenter, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter.
  2. Click the drive that you want to defragment in the Which drive do you want to defragment list, and then click OK.

Check for a damaged swap file

Fatal errors may also appear if your Windows swap file is corrupted. To create a new swap file, restart the computer with the Windows Me startup disk, delete the Win386.swp file in the Windows folder, and then restart the computer. To create a new swap file, follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows Me startup disk in the floppy disk drive.
  2. Click Shut Down on the Start menu. Click Restart and then click OK.
  3. On the menu, select Minimal Boot, and then press ENTER.
  4. At the MS-DOS prompt, change to the Windows folder by typing the following commands and pressing ENTER after each command:
    drive:
    cd drive:\Windows
    Note drive is the drive letter that contains the Windows folder. Typically, this is drive C.

    Note The swap file exists in the Windows folder if Windows manages virtual memory settings on your computer. If you chose to manage virtual memory settings on the computer, the swap file will be on the root of the hard disk. To determine whether Windows manages virtual memory settings, right-click My Computer, click Properties, click Performance, and then click Virtual Memory.
  5. To delete the swap file, type the following:
    del Win386.swp
  6. After you delete the swap file, restart Windows Me.

Scan for viruses

If you have tried most other trouble-shooting steps in this article, it may be time to scan the hard disk and floppy disks with a virus detector. If the virus detector finds a virus on your computer, remove the virus before you run Access again. If you do not have virus detection software, please contact a software vendor to purchase one.

Check for registry damage

Windows includes a tool called Registry Checker that can scan your registry for damage and, if necessary, restore a backup of the registry. To use Registry Checker to scan your registry, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Information.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Registry Checker. You may see the following error message:
    Windows encountered an error accessing the system registry. Windows will restart the computer and repair the system registry for you.
    If you see this error message, go to step 3. If there was no error message, you can choose to create a backup of the registry. You do not need to complete the remaining steps.

  3. Close all programs.
  4. On the Start menu click Run.
  5. In the Open box, type the following line, and then click OK:
    scanreg /fix
    Note that you receive a dialog box that indicates that in order rebuild the registry, you must restart Windows.
  6. Click Yes. After the rebuild is finished, the computer restarts.
For more information about the Registry Checker tool, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
183887 Description of the Windows Registry Checker tool (Scanreg.exe)
183603 How to customize Registry Checker tool settings

How to obtain assistance for Windows Me

If you are troubleshooting fatal system errors with Access 2002 in Windows Me and this article does not resolve the issue, contact Microsoft Product Support Services. For more information about support options, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=%2Fdirectory%2Fassisted.asp

In Product Help

Windows Me has "Help and Support," a tool that is designed to make it easier for you to find help "inside" your computer. To run "Help and Support," click Start, click Help, and then either browse the tool or type what you are looking for in the Search box, and then click Go.

References

For more information about fatal exception errors, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
150314 What are fatal exception errors
Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.

Properties

Article ID: 284152 - Last Review: October 24, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Access 2002 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbtshoot kbhowto KB284152

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