Microsoft Access always asking to open files in safe mode.

Had an issue today, where the clients system would always prompt the users to open MS Access 2003 Runtime in safe mode, even having cancelled the error and closing it which should reset it.

Error message on startup was "Access failed to start correctly last time. Starting Access in safe mode will help you correct or isolate a startup problem in order to successfully start the Program. Some functionality may be disabled in this Mode. Do you want to start Access in this Mode?".

Sometimes if file was ran directly it would open OK, but if file was ran from another app or the run command like ‘msaccess.exe "c:\mydb.mde" /excl’ (for example to ensure the file was locked as exclusive to the user opening it, or to pass any command line parameters to the Access file), you would always be prompted with the message.

Spent several hours trying to find a solution to this, uninstalling files and reinstalling, putting on the full version of Office 2003 Pro, manually deleting all registry keys and reinstalling, ‘Detect and Repair’ menu option, etc. Nothing would prevent it from happening.

Having been unable to find any direct references to this situation I found some message board comments that pointed to a sub-setting in the registry key


For a similar issue with Access 2002, recommending deleting the registry key. The entry the message board mentioned was not there for the equivilant Access 2003 key and deleting the entire key had no effect.

After spending a significant amount of time searching for any other references, found a vague reference to something similar happening with Outlook 2000 and a similar key for Outlook 2000 buried in the Terminal Services key tree. Managed to trace the Access 2003 version of this key value down to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Terminal Server\Install\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Access\Resiliency

Deleting this key resolved the problem and Access files would open correctly again!

Paul B

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