ACL Error: Working Directory Does Not Have Write Access

On occasion, I have received the following ACL error: The working directory does not have write access permission (see below).

Simply said, it means: the working directory is not working; something is not write. :)

Seriously, the working directory is the directory in which the application wants to start, which is why it is also called the starting directory. This is the directory to which ACL expects you to save your ACL projects. That’s why ACL needs write access to that directory.

To determine WHICH working directory to which the error is referring, do a right-mouse click on the shortcut icon used to start ACL, and then click the Properties button. You’ll see something like this (the working directory is highlighted below in the ‘Start in’ box):

ACL Error: Working Directory No Write Access

Reasons for the Error

If ACL was working previously and you see this error, either 1) the application’s ability to write to that directory was removed (unlikely), or 2) the directory was either renamed or deleted–in other words, no longer exists. This is the most common cause.

ACL’s Default Working Directory

Usually, when you install ACL, the working directory is C:\ACL Data\Sample Data Files. Personally, I have never used that directory because I store my files elsewhere, so when I deleted that directory from my hard drive, I received the error the next time I started ACL.

However, when I realized that I could still open ACL by opening a project file ending in “.ACL” (for example, Metaphor_Employee_Data.ACL), I knew that ACL itself was okay; the shortcut had to be the problem.

How to Fix it Fast

The fix is simple: depending on what’s wrong, either 1) change the security on the directory so that your ID or the Windows ‘Everyone’ group has write access to the directory, or 2) change the directory to which that the shortcut is referring. In other words, change the directory to point to the location where you save your ACL projects, wherever that is.

Not Just ACL

Similar working directory errors occur with other applications, not just ACL. The causes and fixes are the same as described above, except of course, you have to use a directory that works for the application in question.



Filed under ACL, Data Analytics, How to..., Written by Skyyler

6 responses to “ACL Error: Working Directory Does Not Have Write Access

  1. Brian L.

    > the working directory is not working; something is not write. :)
    That made me chuckle! Good post – thanks.


  2. Brian,
    Glad you liked it. Then we fulfilled one of the objectives listed on the ABOUT page: “Make you laugh.”

    I appreciate the time you took to give us some feedback. We always appreciate it. Cheers.


  3. Laurie

    I really appreciate your blog – it encouraged me to learn ACL on my own. Thank you! I have been having a problem with an error “No expression entered, field not added”. This comes up when I try to add an expression and then forces ACL to close. I’ve contacted premium support and they had me upgrade to 9.3 to ensure I had a stable version, which I’ve done, but still continue to have this very frustrating issue. Have you ever had a similar problem?


    • Laurie

      Premium Support solved the problem. When I pulled the information and saved the project to my desktop, rather than my network, I was able to move through error free!


  4. skyyleracl

    Thank you for the kind words. That’s one reason why we’re here – you CAN learn ACL on your own, as that’s how I did it. Kudos to you on your hard work!

    No, I haven’t ever seen that error. Unfortunately, ACL hasn’t been around long enough and isn’t used by enough folks yet to be able to Google those errors (very few people blog about ACL), and ACL has traditionally, in my opinion, had poor help files, especially for errors. That’s why I’m writing about the errors I get.

    I hate how support always tries the upgrade method first. I understand why they do it, as once in a purple moon the problem is solved, but if not, it’s easier to troubleshoot a fresh install or upgrade. However, most of the time it has nothing to do with the problem. I see it’s just a way to buy time. ACL isn’t alone in this tactic.

    No doubt you had to go through a couple scenarios with a lower level support person first–at least that’s what I always have faced.

    The question is, did they really solve the problem? Or just avoid it by saving to your desktop? Do you have the desktop version or a networked version? I’m assuming you have a desktop version and were saving to a network drive?

    Either way, glad you’re working again!


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.