Database Error: 20 - the MKDE or Btrieve requestor is inactive

Topic T1009 Applies to All NEO products

This error can occur for several reasons: a Pervasive database engine conflict or a Pervasive database engine access issue. Also a required file has been removed or corrupted and must be repaired or there is a Windows 'Power User' or 'User' permissions problem (for version 2.5).

When this error happens immediately after installation, make sure you were logged in as administrator during the install. On Vista/Windows7 machines, install your NEO product by right-clicking the installation file (NEOProSetup.exe or NEOFindSetup.exe) and selecting 'Run as administrator'.

Before attempting any of the below solutions, please reboot your system to be sure the error was not caused by an incidental shutdown of the database engine.

Pervasive database engine conflict
NEO Pro and NEO Find are using database engine "w32mkde.exe". Other applications using a Pervasive database may use "w3dbsmgr.exe".
Which engine is running can be checked using Taskmanager under Processes tab.

NEO can run under "w3dbsmgr.exe" while other applications may not run using NEO's database engine. Sometimes after installing NEO, other applications using a Pervasive database do not run anymore because NEO's database engine is launched also by the other application. When switching to "w3dbsmgr.exe" as database engine, NEO's catalog may not run anymore - in this case a new catalog or a catalog rebuild is needed.

Perform the following to resolve the database engine conflict:
  1. Search for all "w32mkde.exe" on the system (this file most likely sits in C:\Windows\System32 and possibly in C:\Program Files\NEO Pro or C:\Program Files\NEO Find)
  2. Rename these files so this engine cannot be launched anymore (add an "x" or "_old" behind the filename)
  3. Also rename all occurrences of following files: "w32mkrc.dll" and "wbtrv32.dll"
  4. Make sure "w3dbsmgr.exe" is running in Taskmanager; if not, launch the Pervasisve database engine from Start, All Programs
  5. NEO should now run using the other database engine
When "Database Error 20" appears upon starting NEO using "w3dbsmgr.exe"as engine, a new catalog or catalog rebuild is needed: If this does not work for you, please contact us at

Pervasive database engine access issue
Start Windows Explorer and navigate to the NEO install directory, which by default is:

'C:\Program Files\NEO Pro' or 'C:\Program Files\NEO Find'

In this directory, you will find the Btrieve engine and two '.DLL' files that we initally install with an 'x' at the end of the name. These files are:


Make a copy of these three files within the NEO directory and make sure they are named as the following:

'W32mkrc.dll '

Once the files are renamed, start NEO. It should now work normally .

Windows 'Power User' or 'User' permissions problem (for NEO 2.5 Users)
Perform a Repair operation:
  1. Click Start menu | Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs and click the Change button for NEO or NEO Pro.
  2. Choose Repair and follow the instructions.
  3. Start NEO or NEO Pro.
If the above steps did not correct the problem, it is then most likely that the problem stems from inadequate permissions. You can solve the problem by giving your account Administrator-level privileges. Alternatively, you can set specific privileges for the required objects as shown in the steps below:
  1. Log on to your computer with Administrator privileges.

  2. Ensure NEO is not running.

  3. Locate the folder C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Btrieve using Windows Explorer. If you cannot find this folder or files in it, open Windows Explorer 'Search..' and search for the following two files: MKDEMSG.LOG and MKDEWE.TRN. If still not found, check to see the current user is able to view hidden files and folders (on Windows Explorer, click Tools menu | Folder Options | View tab | enable Show hidden files and folders).

  4. You may find either one or two instances of each. Do the following separately for each instance of the files MKDEMSG.LOG and MKDEWE.TRN. Right-click the file then click Properties. Click the Security tab, and click "Full Control" in the Allow column for your account (it doesn't hurt to give access to all accounts if you are unsure who you are).

  5. The second permission change involves editing the Registry. If you are unaccustomed to editing the registry then you should get assistance. Click Start menu, then Run, enter Regedt32 in the Open field then press Enter. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Btrieve Technologies. Right-click the key, click Permissions and click "Full Control" in the Allow column for your account (again, it doesn't hurt to give access to all accounts).
If the solution above does not work for you, please contact us at

Last updated: 13 January 2010