Access Database Repair

Fix MS Access Database Error 3049: Cannot Open Access Database

Table of Content

    Summary: The blog outlines reasons that may result in ‘MS Access error 3049 – cannot open database’ issue. It also describes some manual methods to fix the error such as using the MS Access built-in compact and repair utility, and Windows built-in drive tool to repair the ACCDB or MDB database files. Plus, you can try recovery tricks like importing data into a new db or restoring a backup to salvage data from corrupt file. The article also discusses how Stellar Repair for Access software can help fix the issue when the manual methods fail.

    Sometimes, when importing data, running an action query, or adding new records in MS Access, you may encounter Runtime Error 3049 along with the following message:

    Cannot open database. It may not be a database that your application recognizes, or the file may be corrupt.’

    'Cannot open database. It may not be a database that your application recognizes, or the file may be corrupt.' error message in MS Access
    MS Access Cannot Open Access Database Error Message

    To find the correct solution to fix ‘Access error 3049’, it is important to know the actual reasons behind it.

    Reasons Behind The Access Database Error 3049

    As you may know, Microsoft Access 2007 and higher versions by default create databases in ACCDB file format. MS Access 2003 and earlier versions create db in MDB file format. If you can’t open the ACCDB or MDB file, the file has likely turned corrupt and results in Microsoft Access cannot open the database error.

    Access database file corruption may occur due to the following reasons:

    • The access database size limit has reached or exceeded 2 GB.
    • Hardware or software inconsistencies and conflicts.
    • File damage due to storage of large volume data.
    • Unintentional deletion of data or storage media format.
    • Damaged structure or header of an ACCDB file.
    • Incompatibility of the file created in Access 2003 or earlier versions.
    • The database is restored from an invalid backup.

    Ways to Fix the “Cannot Open Database” Error in MS Access

    Following are some methods to fix MS Access cannot open database error:

    NOTE: Attempting to repair the corrupt Access database manually may cause further corruption, leading to permanent data loss. So, make sure to create a backup copy of the database, even if it is in a corrupt state before performing any manual method.

    Method 1 – Run Access Compact and Repair Utility

    If you are receiving the error message “Cannot open database. It may not be a database that your application recognizes, or the file may be corrupt.”, check if the database has reached or exceeded the 2 GB limit. If so, running MS Access’s built-in “Compact and Repair” utility may help.

    To Run the ‘Compact and Repair’ utility, follow these steps:

    • Open the MS Access application.
    • In the window that pops up, double-click Blank desktop database.
    Click on 'Blank desktop database'
    Blank desktop database
    • Go to File, and then click Close.
    Navigate to File Menu and close the current file by clicking Close.
    Select Close
    • In the window that appears, click Database Tools, and then choose Compact and Repair Database on Tools menu.
    Access Database Tools by clicking on 'Database Tools' in the window, then select 'Compact and Repair Database' from the Tools menu.
    Compact and Repair Database
    • In the “Database to Compact From” dialog box, find and select the database you want to compact and repair.
    In the 'Database to Compact From' dialog box, locate and choose the database you wish to compact and repair.
    Database to Compact From Dialog Box

    Open copy of the compacted and repaired database. The copy will be saved in the same location as your previously saved original database.

    Also Read: Repair access database when compact and repair did not work

    Method 2 – Import Everything into a New Database

    Attempt to import and restore data from the corrupt db into a new Access database. To do so, follow these steps:

    • Create a new database file, by clicking Blank desktop database (refer to Figure 2).
    • Click the External Data tab, and select Access on the Import & Link menu.
    Under the External Data tab and choose Access from the Import & Link menu.
    External Data Option
    • In Get External Data – Access Database dialog box, browse the source (i.e. corrupt) db.
    In the 'Get External Data – Access Database' dialog box, navigate to and select the source (i.e., corrupt) database.
    Get External Data
    • Click OK.
    • In the Import Objects dialog box, click the tab depending on the objects you want to restore. For instance, choose ‘Forms’ to import forms from the source db into the new one.

    NOTE: Click the ‘Select All’ button if you wish to restore all the objects.

    Navigate the 'Import Objects' dialog box and select the tab associated with the objects you intend to restore.
    Import Objects Window
    • Click OK to finish importing the selected objects into the new database.

    Method 3 – Use Windows Built-in Drive Tool

    If you cannot compact and repair the Access database, or have failed to import data into a blank db, using Windows built-in drive tool may help. The tool can help repair corrupt database and deal with errors such as 3049.

    Here’s how you can use the drive tool to repair corrupt database:

    • Open File Explorer, and navigate to the following location:


    • In the window that appears, search for odbcad32.exe file.
    • Double-click odbcad32.
    Locate the odbcad32.exe file and initiate it by double-clicking.
    Select odbcad32
    • The ODBC Data Source Administrator (32-bit) window will be displayed. From DSN, select MS Access Database under Name, and then click Add.
    In the ODBC Data Source Administrator (32-bit) window. Under DSN, choose 'MS Access Database' for Name, and proceed by clicking the 'Add' button.
    ODBC Data Source Administrator (32-bit) Window
    • In the “Create New Data Source” window, select ’Driver do Microsoft Access (*mdb), and then click Finish.
    In the 'Create New Data Source' window, opt for 'Microsoft Access Driver (*mdb)', and finalize the process by clicking 'Finish'.
    Create New Data Source
    • In ODBC Microsoft Access Setup dialog box, click Repair.

    NOTE: Click ‘Select’ under Database to choose the type of database (.mdb or .accdb) file you want to repair.

    Within the ODBC Microsoft Access Setup dialog box, initiate the repair process by clicking on the 'Repair' option
    ODBC Microsoft Access Setup Dialog Box
    • From the Repair Database window, select the drive followed by the folder in which the corrupt MDB file is stored. Click OK.
    Select Database window to specify the drive and folder containing the corrupt MDB file
    Repair Database Window
    • If repair is successful, you will receive a message saying the database was successfully repaired.
    'Database was repaired successfully' message box.
    Database Successfully Repaired Message
    • Click OK and check if you can open the db.

    Method 4 – Convert Access MDB File to ACCDB

    NOTE: This method only applies to users using Access database in MDB file format.

    Access offers a manual procedure that can help export data from MDB file format to ACCDB format, in order to view the incorporated content. To get started, it is imperative to close all programs and files associated with MS Access.

    Perform the following steps to convert MDB file to ACCDB file format:

    Convert MDB File to ACCDB File
    Convert MDB File to ACCDB File
    • Open MS Access, click the File tab, and then click Open.
    In the File Menu, click on the Open option.
    Access Database Open Window
    • In the Open dialog box that appears, open the Access MDB file that needs to be converted to the ACCDB file format.
    Select the MDB file to convert to ACCDB file format.
    Open Dialog Box
    • Under the Database File Types, click Access Database (*.accdb).
    Within the Database File Types, choose 'Access Database (*.accdb)' by clicking on the specified option.
    Save Database As Option
    • Click Save & Publish.

    If any of the Access database objects are open at this stage, the application will prompt to close them first and then proceed. Click ‘Yes’ to instruct the application to close the object or alternatively click ‘No’ if you want to cancel the entire conversion process. Access will then prompt to save the changes being made recently (if any).

    • Next, provide a name to the converted file in the File name field, and then click Save.

    A copy of the database will be created and opened by the application. The original database will be automatically closed by MS Access.

    Also read: How to Backup and Restore Access Database?

    What If Nothing Works?

    If none of the above method helps fix Access database error 3049, you can try restoring the last known good backup copy of the db.

    In case nothing works and backup is also not available, use Stellar Repair for Access to resolve the issue. The Access repair software helps repair and recover Access database (ACCDB and MDB) files. It also helps retrieve all deleted, formatted, or lost data from the database file.

    Free Download for windows

    Here’s a video to help you understand how Stellar Repair for Access software can be used to repair corrupt database files.

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    About The Author

    Priyanka Chauhan linkdin

    Priyanka is a technology expert working for key technology domains that revolve around Data Recovery and related software's. She got expertise on related subjects like SQL Database, Access Database, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Excel. Loves to write on different technology and data recovery subjects on regular basis. Technology freak who always found exploring neo-tech subjects, when not writing, research is something that keeps her going in life.


    1. It would be great if your team can share a “How to Video Guide” to repair damaged MS Access files. URGENT!

    2. Hello,

      I am using MS Office 2019 ProPlus and I am new to Access, but I keep getting this error message constantly when working within Access. I am only trying to create a table from a query, and I get this message. It seems that I am constantly having to redo all my work because at various points, Access is telling me my database is corrupt, it tries to recover it, only to fail. I have to create constant backup copies every few steps just to make sure I don’t loose my work.

      I am NEW to Access, but this seems like a bad program if you ask me. Is there anything you think I can do? When I create a Database in Access 2019, it shows Access 2007 – 2016 file format, but I am using 2019. Feeling very frustrated, and I would appreciate any help.


      1. Hello Margaret,

        Try Stellar Repair for Access software to repair damaged access database software. If you face any trouble, then contact our tech support team.

    3. Funny, my query works with a narrow date range (e.g., 1 month). I get this error when the date range is expanded. Has anyone experienced that and/or have a solution to this puzzling dilemma?

    4. Yesterday, I had faced the same error in MS Access 2016 database. Please guide to fix this error without any data loss!

      1. Have you tried the methods as mentioned above?

        In case of damage in database file structure, you should take the assistance of a third-party access database repair tool.

    5. Yesterday, I had encountered this one runtime error while saving MS access database file. But, I am confident that this one guide will be helpful to resolve error quickly.

      1. Hi Jose,

        You should take required action using this one free help guide. In case, you encounter any error, then feel free to call us.

      1. Hi Kiran,

        As you are using MSSQL so, the error could be related to authentication. To fix this problem:

        1. Go to SQL Server
        2. Under Security folder
        3. Select Logins
        4. Right click on NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE
        5. Select Properties
        6. Go to User Mapping
        7. Select the desired database
        8. Choose the role “db_owner”
        9. Click OK

        Good Luck!

    6. Now, I have successfully fixed this annoying error with the help of Stellar Repair for Access. Great assistance for non-technical users.

    7. I am experiencing these same problems but ONLY after we migrated from Office 2007 to Office 365. Sometimes closing Outlook solves the “System resource exceeded” errors, sometimes rebooting.

    8. I cannot OPEN MSAccess, so this method is useless. It simply will not open. I get a MS “opening program” circle for half a second, and then nothing.

      I recently had an update to AVAST firewall protection. Could THIS be the problem? The settings in AVAST suggest not, but I am suspicious

      A) All my version s of MS Access always worked before.

      B) All my other programs open …

      1. Dear Chris

        There are following reasons for this:

        • It could be the compatibility issue between MS Access and anti-virus program
        • The database is infected by the virus and antivirus program is unable to fix it

        I will suggest you disable the firewall and try to open the database. Please share the result after disabling the firewall.

    9. I worked whole night to solve the corruption error but it not fixed by manual methods. When I tried to restore from the backup then, got the invalid backup error message.

      I asked the question on forums and discussion sites, and many of users suggested me to restore from the backup. When I shared the backup result with a person, he said just pray to God to save your job.

      I am very thankful to Stellar Repair for Access software because of this, I fixed the corruption problem successfully, and now the database is working fine.

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