DNA MasterDNA Master: FAQs and Troubleshooting

As of February 28, 2012, the most up-to-date build of DNA Master is from February 28, 2012. The new build is available from the Lawrence Lab website directly, too, if you have problems updating.

Why am I getting so many errors? Why won’t DNA Master close? Why can't I update?

DNA Master must have administrative privileges each time it is run. To do this:

Windows XP: Install DNA Master into an account with administrator privileges.

Windows 7/Vista: DNA Master must be explicitly run as an administrator each time it is opened. (Simply installing on an admin account is NOT sufficient.) This is done by right-clicking on the program icon, and selecting “Run as administrator” from the pop-up menu.

This must be done each time you launch the program, unless you set up a convenient short-cut as we describe in the handy DNA Master Installation Guide.

Why am I getting an error that says “Error creating RecentFiles.db”?
What is that weird table that shows up when I start the program?
Why can’t I change the colors in the preferences?

The DNA Master build available on the Lawrence Lab website was outdated (Nov. 2010) until January 25, 2012. Since then, a fix to the database tables was built into the program that does not come through the regular program updates. Instead it looks like a weird table that opens when the program starts.

To get the fix: click through all the error messages that will have also appeared to get rid of them. On the right-most button at the top of the table it says “Download from FTP site”. Click this button, and the program will dial out and update all the necessary files. Close the table. Then under “Help” click “Update DNA Master”. Let the program retrieve all the most recent updates. Close the program and restart it; all the error messages should be gone.

This is not necessary for versions of the program downloaded after January 27, 2012.

To check the status of your database tables, click "Help-->Backup-->Report Database Status". Everything in the right-most column should say "OK".

I’ve checked the first two issues, and I still have errors.

Close the program and relaunch. This solves a lot of DNA Master problems.

I updated my colors in the preferences, how come my sequence file maps are still black?

Make sure you click “Apply” and “OK” after you change the colors. Then close the menu. Click on the interactive map in a sequence file, and the black boxes should change to green and red.

Everything seems to be running fine until I auto-annotate, then I get lots of Access Violation errors.

Access violation errors have to do with Borland code that underlies DNA Master. We are working on this. For now: Click the "No Analyses" button to uncheck all of the bottom boxes prior to clicking the "Annotate" button. DNA Master is looking for certain programs to automatically open those extra analyses. If it can't find the program it is looking for, it returns an error message.

This is especially likely if you are running DNA Master on a Windows virtual machine within a Mac OS, as DNA Master won't be able to find (for example) the Excel program you have installed on your Mac OS, but not on your Windows OS. All of these analyses can be run and saved at a later point in the annotation process and then you can examine them at your leisure.

I get a "key violation" error when I open a DNA Master .dnam5 file.

This happens when the RecentFiles database files get corrupted due to improper closing of the program. It is annoying but doesn't affect how the program runs. To get rid of it:

Create a new directory on your Desktop called "OldRecentFiles" (just in case).

While DNA Master is not running, browse to C:/Program Files/DNA Master/DMDB

Drag the 8 files that begin with "RecentFile" to the folder you just made.

Restart the program. It will return an error that says "Data Module creating RecentFiles.db, tables" and a table will pop-up (the same one as in the screenshot above) with a button on the upper right that says "Download from FTP site". Click this button, and restart the program.

The key violation error should be fixed.

Only some of my students' files end up merged when I try to merge.

The merge will not work unless all of the files have the same sequence in them. Some older versions of DNA Master do not import fasta files correctly and may tack a few extra NNs on the end of the sequence in addition to a hard return. These can be manually deleted from the sequence tab and the file resaved. The newly saved file should merge correctly.

My question is not addressed here.

Please use our contact form to let us know about other issues or fixes you've found. Please include the OS you are using and the date of the DNA Master build you have.