Is the file in a directory for which you do not have write access permission?
I sounds like you are directly opening FileMaker Files in shared directories. Is this the case? If so, be advised that this is not "best practic" and risks damaging your file.
Best Practice is to either open the file form your computer's hard drive or to use Open Remote to access a file already opened (and configured for sharing) with FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server on the machine where the file is located.
Hmm. I have full permission for this database. And the files that were in the back-up drive are now saved on the harddrive of my computer. I can open the file fine, I just can't add a new record. The FM tech I talked to on the phone mentioned something about it might have to do with my OS Level Permission, but I'm not sure what that means.
OS Level Permission is the operating system's settings for the folder where your file is located. If the file is in a folder for which your computer's user account does not permit "write" level access. But I would expect you to get a warning that the file is not modifiable each time that you open the file if that were the case.
How do you know that you have "full permission" for this database? Account Privilege Set limitations could cause what you report here and a file that opens without asking you to enter a password could still be opened with a less than full access privilege set.
Also, a custom menu set could have the menu option for creating a new record removed from the Records menu or disabled.
thanks much for sharing your insight. i ended up talking to tech support and they suggested starting from scratch and copying the file in a different way than I had. problem solved!