Most often problem that requires urgent assistance:

Encrypted database is not online, not accessible and shown in SQL Management Studio as “Suspect” or “In Recovery”

First of all, if you need the database ASAP(!!!) decrypt it. You can do it even if the database is offline. dbencrypt.exe can be found in DbDefence installation folder.

dbencrypt.exe -X -p Strong1Passw -I dbfile.mdf -K dbfile.mdf.dbd_key
dbencrypt.exe -X -p Strong1Passw -I dbfile_log.ldf -K dbfile_log.ldf.dbd_key

Actually, this severely looking problem can be fixed quickly. In general it means SQL Server can’t read the database properly.

Two reasons may cause this:

Reason 1: DbDefence has not been started.

This is the most often reason. To check if DbDefence is running execute SQL statement exec master..dbd_status. Correct result should display a row of data with Status “On”.

If you get an error message instead of the row of data, then the core dll called DBDEFENCE.DLL is missing or SQL Server can’t load it. The DLL is automatically installed into Binn folder of SQL Server instance during the installation. If DLL is there then something prevents its loading.

Solution: Check logs of your AV software, whitelist the DLL if necessary. If DLL is missing, reinstall DbDefence. You would not need to re-encrypt databases. After installation restart SQL Server instance or put database Offline then Online. Database should be accessible. Sometimes it happens when you deploy the database to a customer, but forget to install DbDefence.

If Status is OFF and Error 1 or 2. This indicates license error. Run SQL statement exec master..dbd_reg_info  to see detailed message. Possible reasons: If you run temporary license, it may expire; If you updated DbDefence but forgot to update the license the SQL statement may give you “license is too old for this version”.

Solution: update the license at then re-activate the software. Restart SQL Server instance after activation or put database Offline then Online.

If Status is OFF and Error number is 0. This error happens when something prevents DbDefence from being loaded into SQL Server process. Usually this is caused by anti-virus software. Such software may prevent installation of important components of DbDefence.

Solution: 1. Check logs of AV software and whitelist blocked components. All components of DbDefence are digitally signed and you may list by its digital signature "Activecrypt Software Ltd." 2. Check if DbDefence driver and service installed correctly: Start administrtor command line and execute "net start acrwatchdrv". This should give message "The requested service has already been started." Anything else means misfunctioning of the core driver. Execute "net start acrwatchsrv". This should give message "The acrwatchsrv service was started successfully.". Normally it quits soon and doesn't run constantly. If message says that services aren't found then you need to re-install DbDefence. AV software must not interfere with the installation.

We're working with AV software vendors to permanently whitelist our software. AVAST already whitelisted all our components, but other vendors react slowly.

If Status is OFF and Error number is more than 2. This is incompatibility error. DbDefence can’t run on this newer build of SQL Server.

Solution: Download and install latest version of DbDefence or downgrade SQL Server to previous working version. Before updating DbDefence please make sure that the license is in good standing by running SQL statement exec master..dbd_reg_info. Check returned field “SupportExpirationDate”. If it expired, the newer version may not run with existing license. You need to update the license at then re-activate the software. Restart SQL Server instance after activation or put database Offline then Online.

If support is not expired, download and install the latest version of DbDefence. There is no need to uninstall previous version or re-encrypt databases. Restart SQL Server instance after software update.

Reason 2: Database size exceeds license limitation.

You may check Windows Application Event Log and notice a message from DbDefence@<SQL Instance Name> saying "Database size exceeds license limitation"

In this case you can quickly get 3-day unlimited license at If encrypted database was not bound to DbDefence licensee, apply new activation key and restart the instance. Now you have some time to check why database grown that big, shrink it, or upgrade the license.