A user in our department is having a problem accessing personal geodatabase data in ArcCatalog and ArcMap. Receiving error message:

Failed to connect to database. An underlying database error occurred.
. . . you need permission to view its data.

Some background info: This error is only occurring for a new user that has recently been given GIS rights by out IT department. All other users can access this personal geodatabase data that the new user cannot. I've consulted with our IT department and have been assured that the new user has the same rights as all other users.

So, all that said I am wondering if there is a permissions lock in the gis environment that I have to address.

  • 1
    Do they have the correct drive mapped? Also please indicate what version of ArcMap is in use (and knowing what version of the personal GDB might be helpful as well). Dec 21, 2015 at 14:47
  • Yes, correct drive mapped. ArcGIS version 10.2.2 Not sure what version of personal GDB -- how do I check this?
    – J Patric
    Dec 21, 2015 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


Database permissions would be my first check.

After that, look closely at the data source. Is it a UNC path or does it link to a lettered share drive? If a lettered drive, make sure that the user has the same exact path set up for their X drive, for example, than you do.

If the above checks out, try to access the database path from the users machine to ensure that they do in fact have permissions to access. (Try navigating in Windows Explorer to the data source that you have listed as your database path on their computer).

This should give you clues as to where the problem is--bad path, permissions either to the database itself or to the network drive or server where it resides.

EDIT If all that checks out, the database owner will likely need to go in and edit permissions on the database. Navigate to the database in Windows Explorer, right click on the geodatabase then Properties. Under the Security tab, look to see if the new user is listed under "Group or User Names". If not, edit to add and give them permissions. Careful on the permissions you allow though. Don't want to give someone write or full control if they do not require it. See below for screenshot.

For safetys sake, check out this post for a little clarification on sharing personal geodatabases: Allow multiple users to share personal geodatabases safely?


  • Hi Mary Beth. Thank you for your reply. As far as the path accessibility, this checks out. As for the database permissions, I have not ruled this out. How would I go about checking the database permissions? Thanks, Justin
    – J Patric
    Dec 21, 2015 at 14:57
  • Edited answer for clarity. Please see database permissions.
    – MaryBeth
    Dec 21, 2015 at 15:18
  • Great, thank you for the detailed edit, Mary Beth. I will try to this out as this appears to be issue since user is not listed in this area you've pointed me to. -Justin
    – J Patric
    Dec 21, 2015 at 15:45
  • Mary Beth, thank you. This was the problem that has since been fixed. Awesome! Have a great day!
    – J Patric
    Dec 22, 2015 at 20:13

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