[Solved] How to Fix Run Time Error 3146 ODBC Call Failed

Suddenly you're running into errors while using Microsoft Access to query your official database and you get ** Run Time Error 3146 "ODBC Call Failed" **. In such cases, it's important to identify the root cause and explore the solutions to fix this irritating error and continue your work. This guide will help you identify and fix the Run Time Error 3146 with simple steps and explanations.

What Does Run Time Error 3146 Mean?

The Run Time Error 3146 is a type of system error when trying to access a Microsoft Access database with an ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) connection. This error appears when the database does not have the correct version of the ODBC driver or the connection string being used has expired.

How to Fix Run Time Error 3146

Here are a couple of solutions you can try to get rid of this error.

Updating your ODBC Driver

If your ODBC driver is out of date, then you should consider updating the driver to its latest version. This can be done with a few simple steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. Click on the Administrative Tools
  3. Select Data Sources (ODBC)
  4. Under System DNS tab click on Add
  5. Select the Microsoft Access Driver/ engine
  6. Click on Finish

Refreshing your Connection String

Sometimes the connection string for your database gets expired and can cause ** Run Time Error 3146 ** . To resolve this you need to refresh the connection string to your database by following these steps:

  1. Connect to the database
  2. Go to the Current Connections tab
  3. To refresh the connection string, click on the Options dropdown menu
  4. Click on Connection String (Edit) on the menu
  5. A Connection String Builder Dialog Box will open up. Enter all the relevant database login information
  6. Click on Test Connection
  7. If successful, click on OK


What is the purpose of the ODBC driver?

The ODBC driver is a data access technology that enables database applications to access an external database. It is designed to provide consistent database access from multiple applications and platforms.

What is the Run Time Error 3146?

Run Time Error 3146 is an error which occurs when there is an issue with database connection, usually due to either an outdated version of the ODBC driver or an expired connection string used to access the database.

What is a Connection String?

A connection string is a string of text which is used to store connection details for a database. Connection strings are usually used for when accessing a database from a computer program such as Microsoft Access.

How do I test my connection string?

To test your connection string, connect to the database, go to the Current Connections tab then Options, select ‘Connection String (Edit)’. This will bring up the Connection String Builder Dialog Box which is where you enter the database login details. After entering the details, click on Test Connection to test the connection string.

How do I update my ODBC Driver?

Updating your ODBC Driver can be done by opening the Control Panel, clicking on Administrative Tools then Data Sources (ODBC). Under the System DNS tab, click on Add and select the Microsoft Access Driver/Engine. Click Finish to install the latest version of ODBC driver.

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