You receive a "You are trying to open a read-only database" error message when you open a database that was created in an earlier version of Access in Access 2002, Access 2003 or Access 2007

Novice: Requires knowledge of the user interface on single-user computers.

This article applies only to a Microsoft Access database (.accdb and .mdb).


In Microsoft Access 2002, in Microsoft Office Access 2003, and in Microsoft Office Access 2007, if you move a database file that was created in earlier versions of Microsoft Access from one computer to another computer, and you then try to open the database on the other computer, you receive the following message:
You are trying to open a read-only database.

The first time you open an earlier version database, you must be able to write changes to the database.

* The database file's read-only attribute may be set; clear this attribute.

* You may have chosen the Open Read Only command in the Open dialog box. Don't choose this command the first time you open the database.

* Your license to use this application may have expired.
Note Microsoft Office XP has built-in functionality that allows you to get more information about difficult-to-troubleshoot alerts or error messages. If you want to turn on this functionality for this and other error messages in Microsoft Office XP, download the"Office XP add-in: extended alerts button" from the following Microsoft Office Update Web site: NOTE: If you reached this article by clicking Web Info in an error message, you already have Customizable Alerts turned on.


The Read-only attribute of the file may be set. This occurs automatically if you use a compact disc-recordable (CD-R) or a compact disc-rewritable (CD-RW) to move the file.


You must reset the Read-only attribute of all Access files, such as .mdb and .mdw, that you move by using a CD-R or a CD-RW. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. On the desktop, double-click My Computer.
  2. Locate the Microsoft Access database that you moved.
  3. Right-click the database name, and then click Properties.
  4. In the Properties dialog box, clear the Read-only check box under Attributes.
  5. Click OK to apply the change.
  6. Open your database in Access.
Note that you no longer receive the message that is mentioned in the "Symptoms" section of this article.

More Information

This behavior may also occur if you use a CD-R or a CD-RW to distribute a file with user-level security and transfer a workgroup information file (.mdw) to the destination computer. If you experience this behavior, follow the steps in the "Resolution" section to clear the Read-only attribute for the accompanying .mdw file.