Error: Unable to create or open the default database
When opening ArcMap, the following error message is received on start-up:
"Unable to create or open the default database."
This error is due to one of the following conditions:
- Insufficient disk space or incorrect access to: <pathname>
- Invalid or corrupt installation of MSXML.
In ArcGIS 10, one of the start-up processes is the creation and/or validation of a default file geodatabase in the <User Profile>\MyDocuments\ArcGIS folder for the user executing the software. The default geodatabase is used in many tasks throughout the application and is required to effectively run the software.
As a result of one of the conditions described in the error message, the default geodatabase cannot be successfully created and/or validated and the start-up of the application fails.
Solution or Workaround
To circumvent this issue, follow the steps below:
- In Windows Explorer, right-click and open the properties of the drive described in the error message, such as the C:/ drive.
- Under General, ensure adequate free space is available on the drive. The default file geodatabase requires no more than .5 MB.
- In Windows Explorer, browse to the path described in the error message.
Note: If the folder contains multiple versions of the Default.gdb, skip ahead to Step 6. Multiple default geodatabases have unique names and they follow this naming convention: Default.gdb, Default1.gdb, Default2.gdb, etc. In Windows Explorer, file geodatabases appear as folders with the name of the geodatabase followed by a .gdb extension.
- Right-click the folder and open its properties.
- Under Security, ensure the user attempting to execute the software has Read and Write permissions.
- If one or more Default.gdb folders exist in the workspace described in Step 3, delete it.
- Rename the Default.gdb file. For example: 'Default_old.gdb'. A new Default.gdb file is created when ArcMap loads.
- Install MSXML 4.0 Service Pack 3 (Microsoft XML Core Services).
- Restart the machine and launch ArcMap. It now starts successfully.
- MSXML 4.0 Service Pack 3 (Microsoft XML Core Services)
- ArcGIS Desktop: Working with the Home folder and default geodatabase