MDB file is a database file that is used in Microsoft Access 2003 and earlier versions. This database file is stored in Access' own Jet Database Engine where the type of data is also subject to this engine.
Corruption in Access Database MDB Files - An Overview
MDB files, sometimes, get corrupted. When this happens, you may encounter abnormal or random results on executing queries. And in cases of severe corruption in the .mdb file, running Access database queries might produce incorrect results. This can lead to major performance issues and can bring unprecedented data loss if the database file is not repaired.
Common Reasons behind MDB File Corruption
Following are some common causes that may result in MDB file corruption:
- Virus/Malware Attack
- Power Failure/Unexpected System Shutdown
- Improper Exit/Abort of the Application
Computer viruses and malware are amongst the major causes for corruption in Access database files/folders. When an Access database (.mdb) file becomes virus-infected, the file data may be lost or overwritten by garbage values. As a result, each data retrieval query, when executed to retrieve data from the Access db, gives random or incorrect results. And, in cases of severe corruption, the corresponding database management system [DBMS] even fails to read the particular MDB file(s).
Unexpected system shutdown or power failure is another top reason behind corruption in Access database MDB file, opened or being processed at that time. Consequently, there might be massive data loss or even system boot failure.
While the Access database is open or some application is using the MDB file containing the entire database, closing the application all of a sudden or shutting down the PC without closing the application properly might result in database corruption.
Also Read: Top 10 Access Database Corruption Causes
Common Error Messages to Identify MDB File Corruption
When a file or database in MS Access application turns corrupt, it will fail to respond in a manner you expect it to do. Consequently, the application using the corresponding data from the corrupted file/db also fails to function in the intended way. In such a scenario, you may encounter any of these error messages:
- Unrecognized database format 'path/filename.mdb.'
- Microsoft Access has detected corruption in this file.
- The database is in an unexpected state.
- The database 'filename.mdb' needs to be repaired or is not a database file.
- Record(s) cannot be read; no read permission on 'xxxx'.
- Microsoft Jet database engine stopped the process because you and another user are attempting to change the same data at the same time.
In order to restore the Access database and its data back to its original state, you must repair the .mdb file at the earliest.
How to Repair Corrupt MDB File?
Microsoft recommends performing the following manual steps to repair a damaged Access database (.mdb) file:
Step 1: Create a backup copy of the damaged .mdb file to avoid further data loss during the repair process.
Step 2: Access creates a lock file (.ldb) when an MDB file is opened/accessed in a multi-user environment. The file has name as that of the Access database but is saved with '.ldb' file extension. A lock file helps track all users that are currently using the db. This file gets automatically deleted when the last user exist the db.
However, in some situations, the LDB file might not get deleted. Try deleting the file and check if it resolves the issue.
Step 3: If deleting the .ldb file doesn't work, run the Microsoft Access built-in "Compact and Repair" utility to fix the corrupt database file. To open this utility, click File -> Info -> Compact & Repair Database.
Note: If you cannot open the Access database, you'll need to open a blank database, click Database tools, and then click Compact and Repair Database.
Step 4: If the issue still persists, try importing the objects from the old database to a new database. This step is useful for recovering all your Access database objects.
Performing these steps can resolve minor instances of corruption in the MDB file. But, it might fail to repair severely corrupt Access db file. Moreover, you need technical know-how to perform these steps with precision and prevent any chances of data loss.
In case, you are not comfortable with performing manual procedure, it's better to use a MDB repair tool that is purpose-built to help users repair corrupt Access database files (.mdb).
Recommended Way to Repair MDB File and Prevent Data Loss
Stellar Repair for Access software is an efficient and reliable tool for handling any type of corruption errors in Access database MDB files. This Access database repair tool can help restore tables, indexes, relations, and all other database objects. The software's non-destructive repair algorithms support repairing linked tables and calculated data types.
Steps to Repair MDB file with Stellar Repair for Access Software
Note: Before running this tool, make sure you have Microsoft Access installed on the computer.
Step 1: Run the MDB repair tool on your Windows-based computer.
Step 2: In the Select Database dialog box, click Browse option to locate and choose the corrupt MDB file. In case the location of the corrupt MDB file is unknown, click Search to find for MDB files in the selected drive.
With these steps, the MDB database will be repaired. You can find the repaired file at your selected location.
You can fix MDB file corruption that causes unprecedented data loss by following the step-wise instructions covered in this article. However, performing all these steps can be time-consuming and confusing for beginners. There's also risk of data loss while executing the manual repair process. If you still want to try the process, make sure to back up your crucial files and understand the steps before performing them. However, you can simplify the process of repairing MDB file and prevent data loss by using Stellar Repair for Access software.