Sign up ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.


All of a sudden, on a SQL Server 2005 instance, all the Linked Servers to Oracle stopped working. All other instances can connect to the linked servers without a problem using identical configurations.

When I right-click and "Test connection", I get:

Cannot initialize the data source object of OLE DV provider "OraOLEDB.Oracle" for linked server "servername".  
OLE DB provider "OraOLEDB.Oracle" for linked server "servername" returned message "*gibberish characters here*" (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 7303)

The error is different gibberish characters every time I test the connection. (Squares and unreadable characters). I am using the Oracle ODAC 10 client on the SQL Server. Any ideas on how to fix this other than restarting the instance?

Thank you.

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, a reboot is most likely your only solution.

If you have older Oracle ODAC drivers (e.g., they have been known to have issues with occasional corrupted links.

As I said, a reboot should fix it -- at least temporarily.

However, a more permanent fix would be to update your Oracle ODAC to at least -- or better yet, use the latest 11g provider (they're backwards compatible with 10g).

Good luck! --Dubs

share|improve this answer

If it's ALL Oracle linked servers for that instance then my first thought would be that something changed on the Oracle provider for that particular SQL instance. Start by verifying the Provider configuration between the broken instance and an instance in which the Oracle linked servers are working.

share|improve this answer
Everything is identical in both the provider configuration itself, and in the connection properties for all linked servers using that provider. – SomeGuy Mar 1 '10 at 17:09

un checked “Allow in Process” property of the provider. Articles Permissions needed to set up linked server with out-of-process provider :

share|improve this answer
The key parts of an answer should be posted on this site, not a link to another site. – Mark Stosberg 22 hours ago

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.