Access 2003 introduced additional security features that can result in a series of confusing, ambiguous dialogs when opening a database.

The first dialog announces that "unsafe expressions are not blocked" without any explanation as to exactly what an "unsafe expression" might be; and asks if you want to block them Yes / No ?

Turns out that unsafe expressions are the file-system commands that harken back to the days of non-visual Basic, such as MKDIR etc. Those are considered unsafe because they touch the file system directly. If you answer Yes, then Access enters what is called Sandbox Mode and will subsequently ignore that group of commands; if your app uses those commands, they won't work.

The solution here is to modify your app to use the FileSystemObject which requires a reference to scrrun.dll, the Scripting Runtime library.

The second dialog is titled Security Warning and states that the file may be harmful, do you still want to open it?

This dialog is basically a re-worded version of the standard Office Macro warning. Click Open to open the database; then from the Access menu bar, click Tools ~ Macro ~ Security and set the security level to Low (not recommended). The next time you open the app, that dialog won't present.

Behind the scenes, Access modifies the registry key that holds either 1, 2 or 3 for the security setting (Low, Medium, High).

Note that each Office app retains its own macro security level, so you're not affecting Word or Excel macro security.

Access Runtimes

The runtime presents a special problem, since all the built-in toolbars and other design elements are removed from the runtime environment, so there is no Tools option on the menu bar.

Caution: editing the registry directly can result in a non-functioning system - !

When you use the Package Wizard, part of the Access 2003 Developer Extensions, it allows you to write to the registry, but it seems to allow only SZ entries; the security setting is a DWORD.

The solution here is to create a .reg file as follows (watch for line breaks):

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

Right-click on the file and select Merge and follow the prompts to add this key to the registry.

Note: This key affects all users -- to change settings for only the current user, substitute HKCU (HKEY_CURRENT_USER) for HKLM.