Configuring BDE for Windows 7

Applies to: Borland Delphi, BDE, Paradox Databases, Windows 7

Windows 7 can be very restrictive towards applications written for the previous versions of Windows. This is the case with the Borland Database Engine (BDE), which is not capable of running in Windows7 unless two settings have been changed:

  1. A permission for the BDE must be given in the windows registry database.
  2. A BDE attribute named “Net Dir” must be configured to an arbitrary folder other than the root drive (C:). This configuration is done in the “BDE Administrator” program that’s installed with the BDEInfoSetup utility.

1. First, configure the permission for the BDE in the registry…

Make sure you are logged into your Windows7 machine with an administrator account. Then follow these directions:

  1. Go to Start | Run… Type regedit…
  2. Open the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE branch.
  3. Open the SOFTWARE branch.
  4. Right-Click on the entry labeled “Borland”.
  5. In the menu that shows select Permissions. The following dialog will appear:
  6. Click “Users”.
  7. Under “Permissions for Users “, select “Allow” for Full Control. Then click OK.
  8. Click OK to exit the Registry Key Permissions dialog box.
  9. Exit the Registry Editor window

2. Next the Borland Database Engine must be configured…

The Borland Database Engine makes use of a special file called “” (the purpose of which is beyond the scope of this document). The default setting for the placement of this file is in the root of drive C, which will fail under Windows Windows7, as this operating system does not permit new files to be created here. However, it is permitted to designate any subfolder for the “” file to be placed. The name of this new folder is of minor importance and could be named anything you like. For example, here we will choose “BDEShare”. (The name doesn’t matter. It just needs to be any folder other than the root drive.)

So let’s stick with this example. Create a subfolder off the root drive C and name it “BDEShare“. So the file path for this new subfolder will be “C:BDEShare”. Remember this string value because you will need to enter it below.

Now the BDE must be configured to use the new folder. This is done in the Windows control panel, where you will find an applet named “BDE administrator“. Note that you will only see this after the BDE has been installed to your system (which should have been done automatically during the installation of your application).
You can also find this utility under C:Program FilesBorlandCommon FilesBDEBDEADMIN.EXE

Double-click the BDE Administrator to open it. You will see the following dialog appear:

As shown in the above picture, click the tabsheet titled “Configuration”. Expand the configuration as shown (Drivers – Native) to expose the entry titled “PARADOX”. Single click the item named PARADOX. Now observe the data that fills on the right half of the dialog. You will need to edit the entry for “NET DIR”. Initially, it will be shown as “C:”. You need to change that entry to the subfolder that you created above. In our example, this is C:BDEShare.

If the BDE Administrator is not capable of making the change then verify that the permission in the registry has been set properly. If this isn’t the case then retry to apply the permission as described in the above.

Now start your application. With the BDE now happy with Windows7 (actually, the other way around!), your app should function properly.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Diane Bundlie

    Thanks for this fix. There’s only one thing you need to change: the path to the BDEADMIN is
    C:Program FilesCommon FilesBorlandBDEBDEADMIN.EXE
    C:Program FilesBorlandCommon FilesBDEBDEADMIN.EXE
    In other words, the Borland folder is in Common Files, not the other way around.

    Otherwise, this was excellent and helped me and my customer. Thanks!

  2. Diane Bundlie

    The reason I had to use the Windows Explorer path is because the customer could not see the BDE Administrator in Control Panel.

  3. great work

  4. Hi,
    I tried to run a Delphi 5 application with Paradox and BDE in Windows 7 and although I made the changes in the registry and the Net Dir , I get the error ‘An error occured while attempting to intialize the Borland Database Engine (error $2108). I would be obliged if you could help me

    Thank you very much

  5. Please try the following link. Let me know if this resolves your issue.

  6. Thank you for your help. I got over the error message og initializing the BDE. The prblem now is that I get the message ‘Unknown database. Alias ‘…’.
    The alias is set right on the BDE administrator pointing to the directory that contains the Paradox files. Could you suggest any workaround for this problem. Thank you very much once again.

  7. Hi, great job!
    Now, after configuring BDE, I have a problem reading my tables with ODBC in C#.
    When I try to read these tables I have the ODBC error [Microsoft][ODBC Paradox Driver]External table is not in the expected format.
    When I am on a XP environment everything works well, instead when I am on a Win7 64bit dev machine (my code is running at 32 bit) I get this error.
    Is it this a well-known error?
    Thanks in advance

  8. Thanks for the great advice. 😀

  9. @Nick
    Try to start both, the bdeadmin.exe and your application, with administrator rights.

  10. This is really helpfull, thanks for taking the time to share it.

  11. I am very greatful for this information. I have a software package with 390 users and when Windows 7 arrived I had the issues outlined above. I have downloaded the BDE, made the changes to the reg and it works. Thanks a bunch.


  12. I installed the BDE on a New Windows 7 Dell Desktop PC and when I went to the registry the Borland BDE was not installed. The system seemed to work but this has happeded before where the system will run for hours or days and then start having the $2508 error. I’m lost at what to do.

  13. Thanks. Using and supporting a legacy delphi 4 app in win 7 – 64 bit. Works Well. But the Registry entries for 64 bit are in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeBorland
    I gave permissions to that key and all seems well. Its a multi user file share paradox db app. Have yet to see it in full load but so far so good.

  14. 💡 I have taken a different approach to legacy Delphi/Paradox BDE applications on Windows 7. I have purchased VMware Workstation and now have a fully functional and licensed copy of Windows XP running in a separate “window” on my Win7 machine. All the legacy programs are loaded on the XP “machine”. Saves a lot of detailed manipulation to get them running, but, of course, does not help with clients.

  15. Hi Delphi developers! 😛
    If you need a setup for BDE working under Windows 7 32 and 64 bits (and XP, Vista, 2003, etc) you can try a setup I’ve created using Inno Setup. More information you can find here:

    • Hi Alexander,
      I am trying to deploy this silently, and the switches for Inno Setup cannot avoid the message asking for the target directory. Please advise.

  16. 😕 Well, we don’t have much of luck with BDE and Paradox table on Windows 8. Everything is fine until my application goes to read the Paradox table and it crashes with message, “Unknown database alias.” We’ve checked everything (permission, database alias, paths to files, etc.) and they are as described here. Still, we can’t figure out what the problem is. Any help or reply would greatly appreciated. Thanks,

    • Try Installing the BDE for any user

      I found the same issue where having installed the BDE, all things appear well while configuring the BDE but the alias is not recognised when you fire up the application.

      I created an installation routine using an MSI and it offers only me or all users – that’s sorts out win 7 & Win 8 installs

  17. Thanks so much for this information, it’s very helpfull for my software.

  18. Thanks, that helped a lot. I found that I also had to set bdeadmin to run in ‘Compatibility Mode (XP)’. Without that it seemed to hang whenever I tried to make changes – like editing the NET DIR setting.

  19. This article was so helpful – does anyone know of any further changes needed for Windows 8? Thanks.

  20. Thanks for this information. After one year of struggling I could finally make my application work.

  21. Thanks a lot for the BDE support on 64bit computers

  22. Thank you very much! I thought I should throw in my Delphi. Windows 8 operating system in the old CBD as well! Was a big help! 😉

  23. Does anyone know how to download or configure the bdeadmin for use on 64bit Windows 7? The version that I have only installs on the 32bit OS

  24. Well, I tried to check on the permissions as shown in the first step, however…
    There is no “Borland” entry under HKLM\Software… 😯
    The machine in question is a Windows 7 Professional 64bit and the user has full admin rights… ❓

  25. Thank you so much! This worked great.

  26. I used bdeadmin with xp : no problem and now with seven , I have this msg when I launch my application :general SQL error.-2147221164 Table Alias : MainDatabase.
    Do you have any idea .thanks

  27. Hi, I use a POS system that uses BDEadmin, the Win system is running 64bit, i have given permission in the registry and also added the c:drive folder, and changed the Mem settings inside the BDE manager. However i still get from my application insufficient memory for the operation. alias: data
    Any advice would be appreciated

  28. Hi,
    I run a Delphi 4 application with Dbase and BDE in Windows 7. It works OK under the Administrator, but not under the Standard User, although I made the recommended changes in the registry and the NetDir. I still get the error “An error occured while attempting to intialize the Borland Database Engine (error $2B27)”, which means ‘Unknown internal operating system error’.
    I have noticed that a temporary file INMEM000.REM is created during the application run in the root directory – couldn’t this be the problem, even though the User has full rights?
    Would you have any advice for me ?
    Thank you very much …

  29. We are using Paradox with LabView and are upgrading from XP to Windows 7. THANK YOU !!!! so much for hti information. We could run fine in XP but not in Windows 7 and your fixes made it work for us.

  30. Excelent Work, It Help me a lot.

  31. My VIPS application runs on WIN XP and on oracle 7.3 and Delphi 6. We have tried many times to run on win7. Is possible to set up and configure on windows7? Has anybody tried it? :roll:

  32. Jim, if it’s any comfort to you, the poster “Skeptical” with whom you are here engaged in exasperated intercourse bears a striking resemblance to “anon” on Patently-O and “Anon” on the Patent Watchdog blog.
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  33. I preformed all the steps (thank you) and I can now read my paradox tables. But the tables say that they are “read only”. does anyone know how to change the permissions on my database to allow me to make changes? I created the paradox database and it is on my local machine in the DBDEMOS alias. windows 8.1. Thank you

  34. I need install SPATSIM, on this process system appear merge new configuration BDE, please how can fix this problem?

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