This article will discuss how to correct the Oracle ora-01017 error message (invalid username/password). The impetus of this error essentially derives from an incorrect username/password combination being entered to log on to Oracle. However, the solution is not necessarily as simple as an invalid password input. There are a multitude of primary issues concerning user identification that can prompt this error.

There are a few simple checks you can run to make sure the ora-01017 error is not emanating from a false database connection. The first is to look into your tnsnames.ora to make sure that the TNS service name (the local name of the remote Oracle service) directs towards the correct server. By having an improper service name, it is possible that the username/password combination does not exist in that specific database. The other place to check is the $ORACLE_SID environmental parameter, which states the variable that should define the database used if no database is identified upon connection as undefined. If this is mixed up and set to a wrong system identification, you will have been attempting to connect to an invalid database.

Just as well, if you are using an external operating system (OS) user authentication, such as a remote OS authentication, you will be required to verify that the user identification is indeed accurate. How do you know if you are using an external OS? When you connect, you will do so without providing a user/password combination by only being required to use a forward slash to the connecting string. The error message could develop from an incorrect user identification being used for the targeted system. This can be checked through the ‘username’ column when in ‘dba_users’ view.

In addition to these common issues that will result in an ora-01017 error, there are a couple of other more obscure means through which it could occur. An incompatible version of java can prompt the error, which can be solved by verifying that any products being shipping through .jar files are named with the proper version (e.g., ojdbc6.jar when using 1.6 JRE). Also, newer version of Oracle have come with case sensitive usernames and passwords. If this fact is not adhered to, it can require a far more time-consuming fix that involves a mismatch in the scripts/SQL.

To prevent these problems from recurring, keep in mind the version of all the software that your systems operate with, and create a mechanism for easier accessibility to username/password information. It can also be easy to get sucked into believing the password component is where the error is occuring. By remembering that it is not necessarily one facet that is creating the ora-01017 message, but rather the username/password combination, you can avoid tunnel vision and get to the source of the problem more quickly.

Oracle has provided businesses across the world with one of the most complex database management systems on the market. While the massive assortment of features it offers can be remarkably convenient, the sheer depth of the software can require some knowledge of troubleshooting errors that can arise in the everyday office setting. Consulting an experienced firm for their expertise can be vital when dealing with the large-scale implementation of data management systems.


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