Adding, Edting, or Replacing Your TNSnames.ora File for InfoAccess

Connecting to InfoAccess requires the appropriate entries in your computer's TNSnames.ora file. This article explains how to add, replace, or edit your TNSnames.ora file to ensure a successful connection to InfoAccess.

Adding a TNSnames.ora file:

When the Oracle client is installed for the first time, it does not come with a TNSnames.ora file. That's okay, though: a default file from Oracle would not have the server information we want to connect to since the information in the file is server-specific.

Here are the steps to add a TNSnames.ora file to your Oracle driver installation:
  1. Download the file here. This file contains connection information for most UW-Madison Oracle databases. If you have a specific unlisted server (other than InfoAccess) you wish to connect to, see the directions in the "Editing a TNSnames.ora file" section below.
  2. Add the file to your Oracle driver's home directory: you may need administrative access on your machine to access these folders. The Oracle home directory will have a path similar to this:
    32-bit: C:\Oracle32\product\12.2.0\client_1\network\admin
    64-bit: C:\Oracle64\product\12.2.0\client_1\network\admin
    Your Oracle client installation may be in a different root folder, but the folder path will always* contain \product\12.2.0\client_1\network\admin. If you have both 32- and 64-bit Oracle clients installed, be sure to add the TNSnames.ora file to each of the directories. Note: you can find the path to your Oracle client's root folder by searching your C:\ drive for "*\network\admin\*" in Windows Explorer. This will list all of the files in the folder from which you can determine the path.

    *Your installation may have a different numbered client_1 folder, e.g. client_0, but it will always begin with client.
  3. Verify the connection works by pinging the database: instructions here.

Replacing a TNSnames.ora file:

In some situations, your machine may have an out-of-date TNSnames.ora file and will be unable to connect to InfoAccess. If you're unable to connect and wish to replace the file, follow the instructions above but overwrite the existing TNSnames.ora file with the updated version. If you do this and connect to Oracle databases which are not in the new file, make sure you create a backup copy of your preexisting TNSnames.ora file so you can retrieve the database connection information and add it to the new TNSnames.ora file.

Edting a TNSnames.ora file:

If you have a TNSnames.ora file but you're unable to access InfoAccess because the entry is out-of-date (or missing), you can edit the TNSnames.ora file to include the correct TNS information for InfoAccess instead of replacing the file. You will need administrator access on your machine to follow the instructions below:
  1. Navigate to your TNSnames.ora file as detailed in the "Adding a TNSnames.ora file" section above.
  2. Open your TNSnames.ora file in a text editor.
  3. Search the file for INFOACCESS. If your file has an entry for INFOACCESS, replace or edit it with the code below. If it does not have an entry, add the code below:
        (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = = 1900))
        (CONNECT_DATA =
          (SERVER = DEDICATED)
          (SERVICE_NAME =
  4. Save and exit the file.
  5. Verify the connection works by pinging the server: instructions here.

Need More Information or Help?

If you do not have administrator access on your machine or cannot access InfoAccess after adding, editing, or replacing your TNSnames.ora file, please reach out to your IT staff for assistance.