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I am running MikTeX 2.9 on Windows 10 and updated my MikTeX packages today as an admin and afterwards as a normal user. During the last update, the MikTeX console and all other programs, that were running, stopped responding and nothing worked anymore so I had to push the power button. After restarting I could not compile any LaTeX document anymore. When I tried to open the MikTeX console (no matter if setting, update or package mode or if admin or user) I got the error Not a file name database file (wrong signature).

So I wanted to deinstall and reinstall the program but even on deinstalling (whether about the uninstall.exe or the control panel in Windows) I got the same error and could not even deinstall it anymore. So I deleted the MikTeX folder from the programs directory and cleaned my computer and registry with CCleaner.

Then I tried to newly install MikTeX. At the first glance this seemed to work but just at the end of the installation MikTeX again fails with this error:

Not a file name database file (wrong signature).
Info: path="C:\ProgramData\MiKTeX\2.9\miktex/data/le\1756f6ade37d5f870f23c05a7f81e257.fndb"

I tried to install for all users (admin mode) and for one user several times, but always get the same error. I turned off my antivirus program and firewall and selected "ask me first" when asked to install packages on the fly. That didn't help either, still the same error. I've been trying for hours but am clueless now. Windows made an update last night. Maybe it has something to do with that?

As far as I can see, the installation is almost finished. There are all folders and .exe-files there in the program directories as I had before deinstallation. I don't understand why it doesn't work and what the error means. This is the last .log-file:

initializing setup service...
starting installer...
Loading package database...
starting package maintenance...
installation directory: "C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.9"
package repository: C:\Users\FRAUSP~1\AppData\Local\Temp\mik75003
visiting repository C:\Users\FRAUSP~1\AppData\Local\Temp\mik75003...
repository type: local package repository
loading lightweight database...
lightweight database digest: 1e7eacdbd2c588b9dabb6b8f9cd115ab
going to install 10756 file(s) (216 package(s))
extracting files from ae.tar.lzma...
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updating package definition directory ("C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.9\tpm\packages")...
installed 3263 package definition files
visiting repository C:\Users\FRAUSP~1\AppData\Local\Temp\mik75003...
repository type: local package repository
loading lightweight database...
initexmf "--common-install=C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.9" --set-config-value=[Core]SharedSetup=1 --admin "--log-file=C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.9\miktex/config\uninst.log" --disable-installer --verbose:
Not a file name database file (wrong signature).
Info: path="C:\ProgramData\MiKTeX\2.9\miktex/data/le\1756f6ade37d5f870f23c05a7f81e257.fndb"
Source: Libraries\MiKTeX\Core\Fndb\FileNameDatabase.cpp
Line: 99

Sorry, but "MiKTeX Configuration Utility" did not succeed.

You may want to visit the MiKTeX project page, if you need help.

An error occurred:
  source file: Libraries\MiKTeX\Core\Process\Process.cpp
  source line: 166
  message: The executed process did not succeed.
  info: fileName="C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.9\miktex/bin/x64\initexmf.exe", exitCode="1"

<<<Cancel? Yes!>>>

Please help me to get MikTeX to work again.

  • 1
    Try the portable install. Does not require admin privileges. – user139954 Mar 17 '18 at 2:02
  • I did that and updating about the portable MikTeX worked. But I still cannot compile documents. The compiling commands cannot be started. There is no specified error or reason given, why the commands fail. – Lysanne Mar 17 '18 at 2:40
  • 1
    Did you launch portable MikTeX first (tray icon), then choose the command line from there? That is usually necessary. Portable MikTeX does not add anything to the Windows PATH environment. That means, if you launch an ordinary command prompt, it will not be able to find any TeX programs. But if you first launch MikTeX (miktex-portable.cmd) and wait, you can choos the MikTeX icon from your Windows tray menu, then select command prompt. When you do that, the TeX programs can be located, and you should be able to compile via command line. – user139954 Mar 17 '18 at 3:25
  • You should report such problem in the MiKTeX issue tracker on GitHub. – Ulrike Fischer Mar 17 '18 at 8:55
  • Yes, @RobtAll , I followed the instructions given at the MikTeX website. I succeeded using TeXworks and (after changing the directories) in TeXstudio. I had some trouble to get LuaLaTeX to work (some issues with luaotfload, which I was able to solve by updating it via the command line). For larger documents some packages, e.g. pgf/tikz, needed manual installation in the package manager. It works again now. I still wonder what the problem with basic MikTeX is. – Lysanne Mar 17 '18 at 15:51
1

I managed to resolve the problem.

Solution 1: As pointed out by RobtAll in the comments above, MikTeX portable can be used as a workaround.

Solution 2: As recommended by Ulrike Fischer, I reported the problem on GitHub MikTeX issue tracker. Obviously, the error is caused by corrupted file name database files and I was adviced to delete them. I deleted and deinstalled MikTeX completely yesterday and could not find any files left. However, when I started a search for fndb on my system, it in fact found five or six .fndb-files in directories that did not exist any more. Since I received error messages (file could not be found) when I tried to delete them, I ran CCleaner and cleaned my system including registry again. Even there, some MikTeX files and paths occurred which should not have been existent anymore. After that I restarted my computer, downloaded the basic MikTeX installer from the website and installed MikTeX (for single user) again. This time it worked without errors.

I am still a little confused, since I cleaned my system several times with CCleaner yesterday. However basic MikTeX as well as updating packages and compiling my documents works again now. So I conclude it was due to these .fndb-files.

  • 1
    When repeatedly trying to resolve a failed installation it is not unusual for corrupt files to be left in either the "temp" folders or other hidden user and system directories. CCleaner can be very useful for finding some of these files, however it should be used with caution. Certainly for the novice accept removal of temporary files, but note it says it will not delete some from the past 24 hours, thus it may not work as expected until you use it a day later ! – KJO Oct 14 '18 at 11:40

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