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Microsoft Access - Error 3048 “Cannot open any more databases” after Office Update 2201

by Philipp Stiefel, originally published 2022-02-04, last updated 2022-02-10

On January 26th 2022 Microsoft released a new Office Update that is recognized as Version 2201 Build 14827.20158 after its installation. With some delay this update arrives at more and more user’s computers starting with 2022-02-02.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a major problem with this update severely affecting Microsoft Access.

Error 3048 – Cannot open any more databases

The most reported symptom of the problem is an error message Error 3048 “Cannot open any more databases” that suddenly appears in databases that were working fine before the installation of the update.

Some reports also mention Error 3014 “Can’t Open Any More Tables”. It is not yet confirmed if this is another incarnation of the very same error, but it seems to be related.

Access does not close

Another reported symptom is that MSAccess.exe does not close but continues to linger around as an invisible background process in Windows Task Manager after the Access main Window was closed. The database remains open in this hidden Access instance.

This most often happens after the above-mentioned error messages were displayed. It is also reported to happen more rarely independently of the Error 3048 “Cannot open any more databases”.

Access .laccdb lock file is not deleted

Users also observed that the .laccdb lock file for an affected database is not deleted after Access is closed. This is only natural if Access and the database remain open in the background, as described in the previous paragraph.

Error 3008 - The table 'YourTableName' is already opened exclusively by another user …

Another subsequential error message of the MsAccess.exe does not close properly is the error message Error 3008 “The table 'YourTableName' is already opened exclusively by another user, or it is already open through the user interface and cannot be manipulated programmatically.”

This message seems to be correct in itself. As the hidden Access instance stays open with the database, certain tables may still be open and locked in it.

Workaround 1 – Trusted Location

Some Access users reported that making the folder containing the Access (frontend and backend!) databases affected by the problem a “Trusted Location” in the Office Trust center (“File” – “Option” – “Trust Center” – “Trust Center Settings …” – “Trusted Locations”) resolved the problem for them. However, there are also reports of users trying this without success. – Considering the very low effort required to make this change, it is definitely worth a try.

Workaround 2 – Downgrade to previous version

At the moment, the only reliable workaround seems to be to revert to the previous version of Microsoft Access. For Click-to-Run installation the process is described in the Microsoft documentation here: How to revert to an earlier version of Office

You should also temporarily disable Office Updates to prevent Office from automatically installing the problematic update once again after you downgraded.

BugFix Resolution by Microsoft

On February 8th 2022 Microsoft released the new update Version 2201 (Build 14827.20192) to fix the issue. This update might not be downloaded and installed automatically. To install the update, you should run Microsoft Access, navigate to the “Account” tab on the Home screen and then use the “Update Now” command from the “Update Options” dropdown.

Further information

There is almost no additional information on the official Microsoft page dealing with this issue.

The best source for further information on this developing issue seems to be the thread Access doesn't close properly. A remaining background process can only be terminated in task manager in the Microsoft Tech Community.

 

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