missing system.mdw file

By jgattuso ·
How do I install Access 97 and NOT receive "missing system.mdw file?
I have a Dell computer with Wndows XP
John G.

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by ctrservices In reply to missing system.mdw file
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Confirmed fix

by dennis-r123 In reply to system.mdw

I was batteling this problem and tried many solutions to no avail. The correct fix is to pre-install MS Jet Database engine version 3.51 SP1 prior to installing Access 97. This did immediatly resolve the issue with "Setup couldn't create a system.mdw file".
Thanks Guys

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This may help

by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to missing system.mdw file

Here is a post from someone with a similar issue. Perhaps the resolution will work for you as well.

Perhaps this will help:

I have seen your issue when a full version of Access is installed on a system that had a different version of Access or had MS Office Small Business installed on it at one time. Remnants left behind by previous versions and/or from a runtime version that is installed with Small Business causes problems with Access.
If that is the case, the only way to properly fix it is to uninstall ALL versions of Access AND Office listed in Add/Remove Programs, manually delete the Office folders in Program Files, reinstall Office and then reinstall Access with reboots between the steps. If it is a version of Office Small Business that is newer than the version of Access, be sure to do a 'Custom' installation and bypass the installation of Access or Access runtime. Access can be installed as part of Office Professional or separately.

I have also seen where when you try to install Access 97 on a PC with more than 1GB of RAM, the install will fail giving a 'can't create system.mdb' error.

If THAT is the case, then here is what you need to do:
1. Remove enough RAM to get below 1GB.
2. Install Access 97.
Installation will complete but you still won't be able to open the program.
3. Reinstall RAM.
4. Download the MS Jet Database engine version 3.51 SP1 from
5. Open Access.

Let me know how it goes.
Good Luck.

[It is greatly appreciated if you tag all useful responses as 'Helpful' by opening those posts and clicking the 'Mark Helpful' button at the bottom. That way, people with a similar situation in the future will be able to quickly see what ultimately helped. Thanks.]

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thanks, AND...

by robert_mari In reply to This may help

Your suggestion was great! BUT you do not have to lower your memory to 1 GB, just Download the MS Jet Database engine version 3.51 SP1 from

Then run the Office Workgroup Administrator and it works!

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Glad to hear! <NT>

by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to thanks, AND...
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Just Checking...

by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to missing system.mdw file

Were you able to resolve your issue?
If so, what was the resolution?

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