MDB file Corruption can bring unprecedented Data Loss

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
  • 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).

  • Power Failure/Unexpected System Shutdown
  • 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.

  • Improper Exit/Abort of the Application
  • 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:

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.

Step 3: The selected or searched MDB files will be listed in the search result box.
Note: In Figure 2, the Clear List option is to clear the search result box. Amongst these items, select the one you need to repair. 
Step 4: Once you've selected the file items you need to restore, click Repair.

Step 5: The MDB repair software generates a Log Report and displays a progress bar at the extreme bottom. You can choose to save the log report and use it anytime later. 
Step 6: Once the MDB file is repaired successfully, it displays a message notifying the same.
Step 7: Click OK and see the preview of the repaired tables and other database objects in the software preview window.
Step 8: Next, click Save Database File on File menu and select a destination to save the repaired MDB file. It should appear with the name like Repaired_YourDatabaseName when saved. With the destination selected, click OK to continue.
Step 9: Now, the software starts saving the repaired MDB file at the specified destination and you see a progress bar at the extreme bottom.
Step 10: Once the repair process is complete, a message notifying the same will appear.

With these steps, the MDB database will be repaired. You can find the repaired file at your selected location.

End Note 

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.  

Was this article helpful?
Yes. The MDB repair software fixes the 'unrecognised database format' error.
Yes. The MDB file repair software is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista and 2003.
This software only shows the preview of recoverable data. If it doesn't show the preview, it means your data is severely corrupted. To find the reason behind it, you can check the log report which is available at the bottom of the interface. For more query, you can contact our support team at
Yes. You can repair forms of the corrupt MDB file.
This error occurs when a database and its backup gets corrupted. In this case, our Microsoft Access Database Repair software can fix this problem.
Yes. This MDB file recovery tool supports MS Access 2019. You can repair MS Access 2019 database and restore all inaccessible objects from it.
About The Author
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Charanjeet Kaur linkdin Icon

Technical writer with over 7 years of experience

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