Brief Guide to Recovering a Corrupted MDB file

There are many factors that could play a role in the Access database getting corrupted. Whatever the reason for the corruption, Microsoft Access provides a powerful repair tool called the Compact and Repair utility that helps in recovering as much data as possible from a corrupted MDB file.

Many environmental factors such as hardware problems, software failures or virus attacks could leave the Access database you are working with damaged. You will come to know of the damage when you see ‘#Deleted’ appearing in some records of the database or if you are unable to open any of the objects such as a form or report from the database. At times, you may simply not be able to open the database and continue working on the MDB file. In such cases where the MDB file appears corrupted, you will have to take steps to recover the database file by carrying out an MDB repair. We provide a brief guide to recovering a corrupted MDB file.

Before beginning with the repair process, we would strongly suggest that you take a backup of the Access database – in other words, of the latest MDB file. It is not unheard of for an Access database that is corrupted to lose more data during a data recovery process. Having a backup will ensure that you can resort to more than one method of repair to safely recover all the data. Close the MDB file, if you have been able to open it, take the backup and then proceed with the MDB repair.

  • Install the latest Microsoft Jet service pack so that you have fixes for the latest bugs including all the security patches for Microsoft Jet. If you are working on a network, it is advisable to install the service pack on all the workstations.
  • As mentioned before, make a backup of the Access database or the MDB file. You should also check if any LDB file is present. An LDB file is used when the database is being shared among many users. When the database is opened for shared use, an LDB file that has the same name as the MDB file is created in the same folder. Once the last user is done using the database, this LDB file is automatically deleted. However, when the MDB file is corrupt, this file does not get deleted automatically. It is essential that before you carry out an MDB repair, you delete the LDB file.
  • Finally, you can run the Access Compact and Repair utility. This tool can be found from the main Tools menu. Point to Database Utilities and then select Compact and Repair Database. You will be asked to select the file that needs compacting. You will also have to provide a new name for the repaired database.

Though the Compact and Repair utility is a very powerful tool, it is not always successful in carrying out an MDB repair. In other words, the damage to the MDB file could be so severe that this utility is not able to fix it. In such cases, you should employ specialized repair tools like DataNumen Access Repair from DataNumen that can recover data from highly damaged MDB files. Not only can DataNumen Access Repair successfully restore all the records from the corrupt database but will also restore them in the same structure as in the original database.

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