Every user who has worked with Microsoft Access for any length of time would have had to deal with corruption issues in the database. Access offers great scalability and is great for small to medium projects. Many third-party products also prefer to use Access as a back-end store. Despite these advantages, Access is also more prone to corruption – we will take a look at some of the main causes for corruption in Microsoft Access.
To understand why Microsoft Access is more prone to corruption than some other database tools, we first need to understand the structure of the Access database and the manner in which it stores the data and the interface objects. Access is popular as it is scalable, flexible and very simple to use. Access is a simple relational database that stores all parts of the database, including records (in relational tables), forms, reports and queries, in a single MDB file. Even a novice can begin building a database with just a few hours of learning. However, what makes this database so popular is also what makes it more susceptible to corruption, requiring frequent attempts to recover MDB data.
If you are using a single MDB file stored on your local computer and work only on that machine, it is unlikely that you will see corruption in the database for a long time. Only after repeated use and frequent occurrences of power outages or software failures will you see any damage to the MDB file. However, the purpose of a database is to allow other users to use data applications that are effective only when the database can be shared over a network. In other words, the real effectiveness of Access is seen only when it shared among multiple users. This also means that with many users accessing and modifying the data in the MDB file, there are greater chances of the MDB file getting damaged and having to recover MDB data.
As you can see, if the MDB file has to be shared then there can be many users accessing the database from different locations connected to the same network. When a user disconnects in an improper manner from the database, it almost immediately results in some kind of corruption in the MDB file. If even one person does not disconnect in the proper manner, connections are closed for all other users or they start to receive corrupted data. The only solution is to request all users to log out, close the Access database and then attempt to recover MDB data. A similar situation can occur if the server that hosts the database crashes leaving several users with open connections. This greatly increases the chance of the main MDB file getting corrupted.
One simple solution to the problem is of course to split the Access database into two parts – a backend that actually stores all the data in the form of tables and a front end that stores objects such as forms and reports. This will allow you to take more security measures with the backend and easily recover MDB data even in case of corruption.
Finally, even though Access corruption can be a great cause for concern, one can now find fairly sophisticated tools that allow you to easily recover data from severely damaged MBD files with just one click of a button. For example, Advanced Access Recovery from DataNumen has a recovery rate of more than 90%, way more than any of its close competitors.