The Access Wizard Newsletter
Tips, Tricks, and Traps for Access Users and Developers.

Trusted Locations – Avoid Annoying Messages


We have had maps for thousands of years. In the early days of seafaring navigation, sailors would use these maps to help them get around. However, there were some areas that were not well understood and those sections on the maps would have a legend, “Here Be Dragons.”

The idea was that certain areas were not well understood and could be dangerous. So the message was designed to warn sailors to stay away; hence, beware the dragons..
In Microsoft Access, there are similar warnings that are designed to protect you from going to dangerous places. In many cases, those warnings should be heeded, but in others they are just annoying. In this issue of the Access Wizard, I will help you understand those messages and show you how you can selectively turn them off.

The Warning Message – Here Be Dragons

If you open a new database sometimes Microsoft Access will warn you with the message below (the equivalent of here be dragons):

This message pops up because there is a potential that the file you have just opened contains code and routines that may be potential malware, and Microsoft wants to protect you. This is a good thing. It will do this when the file is a part of your disk of that Access thinks may be a source into your computer by the bad guys. Or it may pop up if it sees a new database that wasn’t created on the current computer.
If it is a database that you trust because you got it from somebody you know or because it is on a certain area on your disk or network known to be safe because it is highly controlled and secure, you can tell Access to trust the location and not to give you any further warning messages for any file in that directory.  Because this is a trusted location, the idea is to tell Access anything coming from here is okay, just open it. To declare a safe location is not particularly intuitive, but the steps are not difficult.
First, click on the File tab at the top of the ribbon, then select Options on the bottom left-hand side to get the screen below.

From the Options screen, click on Trust Center on the bottom left-hand side, then click on Trust Center Settings on the right-hand side to get the following screen.

Once in the Trust Center options screen, click on the trusted locations item in the left pane and then click on add new location in the right pane. When you do this you get this screen:

From here, click on the browse button and navigate to the folder that you want to declare as trusted. If you want all the subfolders of that folder to also be trusted, click on the checkbox that says “subfolders of this location are also trusted.” When you are finished, click OK. That’s it. It is not particularly hard when you know the steps. 


This month, I showed you how to be more efficient by creating trusted locations in Microsoft Access. This will prevent you from having to always click on the enable content button. When you do this, you make your life a bit easier and your work with Access a bit faster.   


Trap of the Month: Don’t Be Too Trusting

In this month’s Wizard, I showed you how to get to work faster when you’re starting with a new database by declaring trusted locations. Once you know how to do it, the process is simple and you save time. You may be tempted to trust all possible locations on your disk or network so that you no longer have to see that annoying message. Don’t do it!
The warning message serves a very valid purpose – protecting you. You should only trust locations that you control 100%, or that are controlled by somebody that you trust completely. The code in an Access database has potential to do harm to your computer, and this sometimes happens without you even knowing it. That’s why the warning message is there. Don’t declare parts of your hard drive or network as trusted unless you truly know that they are safe. 

Tip of the Month: How to Get the Details Behind an Error Message 

If you do any coding in Access, undoubtedly you will encounter error messages; messages that are designed to give you information about a problem that your code has encountered. Sometimes the message is a bit murky, containing only a number with little or no other information. To get a full description of a message, use the immediate window (available from the keystroke control G) and type the following code:
?AccessError(3203) – replacing the 3203 with whatever error number you would like more information about. When you hit return, Access will provide more detail about the problem. 


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