Friday, June 3, 2011

odbcad32.exe: setting up ODBC access on Windows 7 64 bit

A long-time customer of mine bought some Windows 7 64 bit machines. I needed to set up an ODBC connection to an MS Access database for a  custom legacy Java program. When I went into ODBC the only driver available was one for SQLServer. I googled, I searched, I looked through Windows 7 books at Borders.So far no answer. No Luck.

I used my MSDN subscription to create a new Windows 7 VM and unfortunately there was no trouble there! All the usual drivers appeared. And unfortunately, I created a 32 bit machine, and the problem does not exist 32 bit Windows 7. But I did not know that at the time, and it only deepened the mystery. Why did I have no trouble creating the ODBC connection to MS Access right from the time the machine fired up for the first time?

Finally I posted the question to Windows 7 & Server 2008 R2 troubleshooters group on LinkedIn. Someone there was kind enough to clue me in and tell me to run %windir%\syswow64\odbcad32.exe. That brought up the usual ODBC dialog, but now when I created a "File DSN," I had access to the MS Access driver which I configured to use the appropriate database file (.mdb file).

Had I fired up a 64 bit Windows 7 VM I could have duplicated the problem. As it is, I did see the same issue on a number of windows 7 machines at Best Buy from several different OEMs.