even after database is shutdown, for example, thru the services. I didn't close the connection thru the program. If the db is down, dead, how can ADO _ConnectionPtr still connected to database (which is nowhere to find)? What is a more reliable/least expensive why I can use to find out if the db is alive (other than a select stmt to a user table)? Least expensive, I meant, I have to run this constantly, should cost very little when the db is alive and connected.