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Livescribe SmartPen Review and solution to "unable to access your database folders" problem

My wife bought me a Livescribe Smartpen for my birthday. It's an amazing device, but I can't recommend it at this point. First, the positive: as advertised, it records handwritten text (using special notebooks), displays the text on a computer, and recognizes hand-printed text well enough to search through stored pages for keywords. It can also record sound. It doesn't work with Windows 2000, so I switched to Windows XP, something I haven't had to do for any other program. But I thought my planned uses justified the switch:

1) lab notebooks. I often need to refer to something I wrote months or years ago. With Livescribe, it should be possible to find it quickly.
2) taking notes in seminars. The audio recording is good enough I can can just write keywords and make sketches of graphs, knowing that I can refer back to the audio for details I didn't get written down.

But, after only a few days of use, the program suddenly informed me that it was:

"Unable to access your database folders. Please contact customer support."

Reinstalling didn't help. OK, I'll contact customer service and report here (and Amazon.com, etc.) how they respond.

Apparently other people have had the same problem.

Update: I got a reasonably prompt generic ("what operating systems are you using?", etc.) response but no actual help so far. I was able to install on a different computer, but worry that the same problem could arise there at some random time in the future, meaning I would lose any files that weren't still on my pen.

Update2: After a few days, "customer service" sent me another generic request for information. Maybe they figure repeatedly asking for more information and just hoping users will solve the problem themselves can be outsourced, whereas they would have to hire someone competent to actually figure out what was wrong. The reason I suspect this is that they didn't seem to do anything with the information they asked for the first time, and they didn't answer a very specific question I asked when I sent them the first bunch of information they asked for, namely, whether it might help to copy the (hidden) MyLivescribe directory from another computer where I'd gotten it to work. Anyway, I went ahead and tried it and that seems to have fixed the problem. So I guess backing up the MyLivescribe directory periodically would be a good idea. There's apparently some way to back stuff up on the company web site, but what happens to the data when the company goes out of business?

I agree with comments on their website: until there's a way to send Livescribe files to colleagues without going through the Livescribe website, they will lose millions of potential customers. For example, this system would be great for notebooks used to document patentable inventions, but nobody working on a patentable invention is going to trust their notes to an outside company.


I haven't seen that problem and have been using LiveScribe for quite a while (on 2 different computers). If you're running on Vista, you might try uninstalling (right down to deleting the folders LiveScribe created) and reinstalling as an Administrator (right-click on the installer, select "Run as Administrator" and try again.

Hope you find a solution soon!


I tried that in XP without success, but may try again if Customer Service doesn't suggest anything. No help from them so far. I guess it's cheap to send an automatic reply asking for generic information, but more expensive to hire someone who can actually help. On the other hand, as word gets around about lack of customer service, they lose potential customers.

After an entire semmester at uni i have all of my pages saved and threw the books out last week only to go to use my livescrive stuff today - to find i am having the same error as everyone else it seems.
Fixed it though - without having to delete all my stuff and start again.
Go into your "My Livescribe" Folder in my documents, navigate to "DATA" and delete the single file called "pen apps"
Deleting this fixes the problem and the file will be automatically re-created.
Cant believe taht Livescribe didnt send you a fix for this quicker, im not from them but i figured it out in about an hour - LOL
Have a good day

[**From Ford: I haven't tried this and don't know whether it will work on all computers. Maybe backup the file in question before deleting, just in case?]

Check out this directory:
C:\Documents and Settings\????????\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe\Desktop\data

I use this all the time with XP with success, I never had any problems.

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