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What is the .DSN File Extension?

.DSN File Extension Description:

Files with the .dsn extension refer to the ODBC or Open Database Connectivity connection that Microsoft applications request from an ODBC source. DSN files, developed by Microsoft Corporation, represent links for requested application-ODBC connections.

ODBC manager configures and sets up ODBC data sources, and is installed through Microsoft Office. Details of the connection that .dsn files hold includes the name of the database, directory, user ID, database driver, password, and so on. DSN files have three types that can be configured and set up using an ODBC manager. These types are User DSN, System DSN, and File DSN.

User DSN files are a user-specific data source, which are locally stored but only available to the user that created the DSN file. These .dsn files are not used by queries and the information they hold are stored in the Windows registry. The keys under which these files are stored usually are HKEY_CURRENT_USER/ Software/ Odbc/ Odbc.ini/ Odbc Data sources.

System DSN files are a non-user-specific, and stored locally but can be used throughout the system. Any logged-in user that can access an ODBC data source can use .dsn System files. Specific Windows programs that use System DSN files are Microsoft Internet Information Server, or IIS, and Microsoft Sequel Server. DSN files classified as System are created in the location of the program, and are saved in Windows Registry under the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/ Software/ Odbc/ Odbc.ini/ Odbc Data sources

File DSN files are locally created and shared throughout with other users. It is file-based, meaning, files with the .dsn file extension hold in all the information that is needed to connect to a specific data source. File DSN files are saved in a default directory: Program Files/ Common Files/ Odbc/ Data Sources folder, and not in the Windows registry. This type of .dsn file is viewable using any text editor.

Author: Microsoft Corporation
Author URL:
Related Applications: Microsoft Access:, Microsoft Excel
Common Path: n/a


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Do you have errors with .DSN files?

The Cause for .DSN files Errors:

When you encounter errors with .DSN files you are in all likelihood having a severe Windows registry error - your error might be the effect of damage to your program registry and action is needed to fix it immediately to prevent additional corruption to your registry. Receiving these errors puts your computer at risk for fatal crashes, blue screen errors as well as hardware failure.

Symptoms of .DSN files Errors:

.DSN files errors bring forth numerous symptoms, including but not limited to: system locks on start up or shut down, programs lock up, diminished personal computer speed, internal speaker beeps, problems loading documents, sluggish behaviour and trouble while installing applications.

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