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Sage ACT! Pro 2011 - Delight or Dud?

New Member
Posts: 2
Country: United_Kingdom

Sage ACT! Pro 2011 - Delight or Dud?




ACT! Pro 2011


For my sins I own and run a small drain & sewer clearance business based on a beat of mainly commercial properties in central London, and, in an attempt to re-organise the back office operations I bought ACT! Pro 2011 to improve the management of my growing list of business contacts.  Having seen an earlier version installed and working on a friend’s computer I was duly impressed and considered the program to be ideal for my needs.


With some measure of anticipation and excitement I, checked and confirmed that my computer met the ‘System Requirements’, dusted off my trusty ‘flexible friend’ and bought the program. 

Naively, whenever I buy a software program, I expect to insert it in my drive, follow the installation instructions,  and, a few minutes later, be using the program.  So, imagine my horror and disappointment when it failed to function as designed?  Undeterred, I spent over 4 hours with the very attentive and friendly staff at your HelpDesk, surely the experts would fix this problem in a trice?  We, well them more than me I have to admit, wrestled with the problem for more than 4 hours, uninstalling, re-installing, deleting and modifying suspect ACT! files and SQL Server functions to arrive at the mutually agreed conclusion; “It doesn’t work!”.


 In fairness both technicians consulted admitted that we had reached the limits of their expertise and one of them suggested that the Microsoft SQL Server function was experiencing a ‘conflict’ with software previously installed on my computer.  So, undeterred, I then loaded and attempted to operate my new ACT! Pro 2011 on an almost virginal laptop, which I intend to use as my mobile platform operating the software.  The result was a manifestation of the exact symptoms and error messages experienced on the office computer, so that theory does not hold water. 

Now, as stated in the first paragraph, I am no software expert, but, now flying solo, I uninstalled both the software and SQL functions, and before starting again, I downloaded MS SQL Server 2008 R2 Express, with Service Pack 1, direct from the Microsoft site.  Unfortunately when I then re-installed ACT! Pro 2011 the result was the same:


 The database  [ACT! Demo] could not be accessed.  In order to access this database, check your network connection and verify that your database server is available. It may be necessary to disable any firewall software on your computer or the server.

I can confirm that I have tried every whichway with firewalls, on both computers but with, frustratingly, the same result!  These are both ‘stand-alone’ machines so no other network or remote server is involved.  As stated earlier, this software was bought in good faith and in the reasonable expectation that it would function as advertised, in short, that it would be fit for purpose.


Imagine a scenario (however unlikely given the separation distance involved, but for the purposes of my making a point please humour me here) where your CEO commissions my services to clear a particularly nasty blockage in his/her sewage system.  Upon arriving at the premises I find that my equipment is inadequate in tackling the blockage, so I suggest that he/she dons the elbow length rubber gloves and enter the sewage system, at my side, and help manually clear the obnoxious substance that is causing the obstruction to free flow.  Despite our combined efforts we have reached the limits of our knowledge of your particular type of drainage system so we fail, but nevertheless I submit my invoice.  The sewer is still blocked but I have my money, so, is my service ‘fit for purpose’ in that fictional instance?  (Thankfully, because my reputation depends on it, in the real world I have a 100% success rate without my customers needing to wear rubber gloves and muck in!)


The parallel?  My software still does not work, you have my money, but I do have a shiny DVD to admire!


Having now spent a further two days struggling to understand and implement ‘fixes’ contained in both yours and Microsoft’s websites all to no avail, I reach the fairly obvious and common-sense conclusion that ACT! Pro 2011 and the MS SQL Server 2008 R2 Express are both probably correctly installed and are, more than likely, working properly, they are simply doing so independently rather than communicating. 

Both functions are on my shiny DVD and are designed to integrate/communicate, so over to you…..?




Eamonn O’Neill aka Frustrated of Watford.


PS:  I have seen shiny DVD disks used as bird scarers but I’d rather have a working program.



Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 6,867
Country: USA

Re: Sage ACT! Pro 2011 - Delight or Dud?

It would help if you included operating system information. If using Vista or Windows 7 the problem could be the UAC (User Access Control). 

Roy Laudenslager
Retired ACT! Certified Consultant
ACT! Report Expert
Durkin Impact Report Designer
Nickel Contributor
Posts: 173
Country: Australia

Re: Sage ACT! Pro 2011 - Delight or Dud?

Given you have tried this on two computers, I would suspect the installer on your DVD is not working. I would suggest you clean out the installation and download the software from:
Travis Rosevear ACC for
Act Today Australia and New Zealand
Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 6,537
Country: USA

Re: Sage ACT! Pro 2011 - Delight or Dud?

[ Edited ]

Hello Eamonn,

Welcome to the Sage ACT! Community. For the database access error you received, have you tried all the suggested solutions in KB Article 19640?

Greig Hollister

Note: Effective 6/1/13, Sage no longers provides support for the Act! software. This is now provided by Swiftpage.

New Member
Posts: 2
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Sage ACT! Pro 2011 - Delight or Dud?

Many thanks for the helpful suggestions contained in the above replies.  


My immediate issue, getting the software to work, has now been remedied on one machine after another hour and a half to the HelpDesk.


I guess the major point that I was trying to get across was that 99% of the general software buying public are "software virgins" and we expect, however idealistic it may seem, that when buying a new business/personal program we insert the disk, we follow the installation instructions, we register it and it works, first time.


How would Messrs Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Mercedes et al fare if when a new customer who, before they turned the ignition key, had to don overalls and be guided on a defect rectification tour by a mechanic before they could drive their shiny new car?


Incidentally, my theory that both ACT! Pro 2011 and the MS SQL Server 2008 R2 Express were correctly installed and were working properly, they were simply doing so independently rather than communicating proved to be correct.  This view was conceded by the technician but no reason was identified or offered.


Thanks again.


Eamonn [Slightly less frustrated]