How to Solve “The database needs to be repaired or isn’t a database file” Error in Access

Find out why MS Access application might require to be repaired or claim that it isn’t a database file and possible ways of tackling the error.

How to Solve “The database needs to be repaired or isn’t a database file” Error in Access

MS Access is popular with many users around the world because it provides an easy way to create databases. This program makes it possible to create adaptable databases with great user interfaces. Also, since the application has been around for a long time if you land a problem, it’s likely that someone else has faced it in the past and there is a solution.

Sometimes, MS Access files become damaged. This makes it hard to operate your corrupt Access database. It is common to get error messages when trying to open such files.

Possible causes of such an error

If you face this error, there’s a high possibility that your database is faulty. This could be as a result of a virus infection or improper shutting down of the application while the database is still running. Other actions such as multiple users performing system updates using varying Jet Service packs can create varied file formats in your database. Unfortunately, even the slightest discrepancy in file format can ruin Access files.  Also, the database may become corrupted if you insist on altering the data fields on your VBA code. While it could be a tall order to achieve 100% protection against file corruption, observing best practices can help to keep your database safe and avert data loss.

Ways of fixing this error

1.      Use the repair tool that comes with the database software

When this error appears, it gives you a prompt to repair the damaged file. Choose ‘Yes’. This act starts the Access repair utility which will attempt to fix the faulty section. If all goes well, the corrupt sections will be rectified. Otherwise, you will receive the “Unrecognized database format ‘file_name.mdb’” error. Consequently, you’ll need to try another option.

2.      Fix corrupt VBA code

This option works well when the errors are associated with the VBA scripts. So, try de-compiling the Access file. This way, you’ll gain access to the un-compiled VBA code.  With this code, now compile it afresh and test the database to see if it will work. If the faulty areas are fixed, your Access file should open.

3.      Try to compact and repair the faulty Access files

Another option is to utilize the ‘Compact and Repair Database’ tool.  To achieve this, launch the MS Access software and under the ‘Tool’ menu, choose ‘Compact and Repair Database’. This avails you an option to browse your computer and identify the faulty file. Now, select the file and hit the ‘Compact’ tab. After rectifying the Access document, save it in a location of your choice. Hopefully, this will correct the faults in your document.

4.      Use a specialized Access recovery tool

It’s crucial to appreciate that the solutions above can be limited to fixing specific file corruption issues. This makes them unable to fix multiple corruptions while still preventing data loss. This is where specialized tools such as DataNumen Access Repair come in handy.

DataNumen Access Repair

To use DataNumen Access Repair tool, it’s crucial to acquire a user license to unlock its full version features. Once you launch the software, choose the repair option, and input the source file details as well as the output parameters. Now start the recovery process and once it’s completed open the repaired file to assess whether any data was lost.

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