When trying to open a database file, you may receive the following error message:

"The specified file is password protected, not saved in a valid database format, or contains special characters."

This message indicates that you are attempting to open your database but you are missing the associated files that accompany your main list file.

When you first create a database file, the program creates, not one, but multiple files that work together to be your list data. For example, if you have a database that you created and saved as a file called contacts, in addition to the main file contacts.esd, you have other files that start with the word "contacts", but have different file extensions and names. Here is what you would see in your saved data folder if you browsed to view the contents of your saved data files, for a database file called contacts.esd:

For example, if your database was saved on your computer as a file you called "contacts", then the files that our database program creates to save your data are as follows:

  1. A yellow folder called "contacts" (the name of the saved database) containing support files
  2. A file called contacts.esd
  3. A file called contacts.dbt

This collection works together to act as your complete database. All of these files would be in the same Windows folder you saved your database to. So if you originally made a file in a folder on your server for more than one user to access, you would see a folder called contacts and a file called contacts.esd and a file called contacts.dbt .

If you do not, this is because you manually deleted the supporting files (because you incorrectly thought these files were irrelevant, or copies), or you renamed the main *.esd file and didn't subsequently rename the supporting files so that they all have the same naming. All of the files MUST be in a common folder, such as the Data folder or My Documents. If friends.esdb is on a floppy disk, and the other files are on the hard drive, you will not be able to open it from the floppy disk. You will need to get all of the files together, in a common folder.

If you deleted the supporting files and then got this message, Restore them from the Recycle Bin and then try to open your file again.

If you renamed the main file, but not the supporting files, go back and rename the main file again back to exactly what the file was called before (use the naming convention of the other supporting files for guidance if you are not sure what the original name was.)