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Technical Article   Error:  Failed to connect to database. This release of the GeoDatabase is either invalid or out of date

Article ID: 26800
Software:  ArcGIS - ArcEditor 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1 ArcGIS - ArcInfo 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1 ArcGIS - ArcView 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1
Platforms: N/A

Error Message

When displaying or adding data in ArcGIS, the following error occurs:

"Failed to connect to database. This release of the GeoDatabase is either invalid or out of date. [Unknown GeoDatabase release.]"

[O-Image] Backwards compatible image


Geodatabases created in newer releases or version are not backwards compatible (cannot be opened or edited) to previous releases of ArcGIS.

The exception to this rule is geodatabases created with ArcGIS version 9.3, as ArcGIS 9.2 Service Pack 5 or 6 clients can access and edit such geodatabases. However, functionality specific to 9.3 geodatabases is not available when accessed from 9.2 clients.

It is possible to access and edit 9.2 geodatabases in 9.3 without upgrading them, and geodatabases that are created, modified, or upgraded in 9.3 can be accessed and edited in 9.2 SP5 or SP6. The error stated above will be encountered on adding data from a 9.3 geodatabase in a 9.2 SP4 or earlier client.

For more information on this, see the link to client and geodatabase compatibility for ArcGIS 9.3 in the Related Information below.

Solution or Workaround

There are two ways to move data from one geodatabase to a geodatabase created in an earlier version of ArcGIS:

  1. In the latest release of ArcGIS, export the geodatabase objects to other data formats such as shapefiles and coverages. These formats can be used directly in previous releases of ArcGIS or imported into a geodatabase using ArcGIS tools.
  2. Create a new personal or file geodatabase using the previous release of ArcGIS.
    With the current release of ArcGIS, copy and paste the data into the geodatabase created by the previous release of ArcGIS.

    For detailed steps on this procedure along with empty geodatabases from previous releases of ArcGIS, see the following links listed in the Related Information section below.

Related Information

Created: 5/20/2004
Last Modified: 6/17/2010

Article Rating: (1)
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By Anonymous - 11/06/2010 5:33 PM

The article contains a dead link.

I had this problem but with a geodatabase I created via script, ArcGIS 9.3 SP2 everywhere, no other versions installed. It was immediately inaccessible with this error message. So your cause and solution don't apply. i had to remove it in Windows Explorer, ArcCatalog couldn't.