Summary: Are you having trouble accessing your database files due to the ‘MS Access unrecognized database format’ error? Does the error prevent you from opening a table or a form linked to a table? This blog discusses the workarounds you can implement to resolve the ‘Unrecognized database format’ error. It also suggests using an Access database repair tool to extract data from inaccessible database files when nothing else works.
You may encounter an unrecognized database format error when trying to open or work with an Access database file (.mdb or .accdb) stored on a shared network drive.
The error usually occurs when upgrading to Windows 10, particularly version 1803. However, there have been instances where users encountered the error when using Microsoft 365 Access Build 16.0.3.
Note: If you get a ‘3343 Unrecognized Database Format’ on opening a database using Database Access Object (DAO), refer to this Microsoft page for details about the error.
Following are some of the possible reasons behind the error:
Note: Before implementing this workaround, check if you can revert to a previous version of Windows. For instance, you may rollback to Windows 1709. But, remember you only have 10 days to rollback your Windows version. If this doesn’t work for you, proceed with the following workarounds.
To fix the Windows 10 bug resulting in the ‘Access unrecognized database format’ error, Microsoft recommends disabling the leasing on the server with shared (back-end) database files. This is, in fact, the common solution that seems to resolve the problem. However, it has certain downsides. You need administrator privileges to apply the registry hack. Also, you may experience some performance issues.
The steps to apply the registry hack are as follows:
|REG ADD HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\lanmanserver\parameters /v DisableLeasing /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f|
NET STOP SERVER
NET START SERVER
Now check if you can open the Access database without any issues.
If you’re using MS Access 365, the following steps may help you fix the ‘unrecognized database format Access’ error:
Note: Delete .laccdb file if you’re getting the error on opening an ACCDB database file. If the problem happens when opening an MDB file, delete its .ldb file.
Some users could fix the error by creating a new folder and moving their problematic database to that folder. Make sure to create the new folder on the same drive where the original database is stored.
Do you fear implementing the ‘DisableLeasing’ fix? Or, if none of the above solutions work for you, try to extract data from inaccessible Access database files (.accdb/.mdb) using Stellar Repair for Access software.
“Microsoft Access Unrecognized Database Format Error” may appear while upgrading the system or when a user tries to access Microsoft Access database file through a different application like Visual Studio. The error happens because of a Windows 10 bug. It may also be caused due to corruption in an Access database, which might occur when using an unsplit db, sharing the same front-end copy with multiple users, etc.
Unfortunately, Microsoft is still investigating the issue, and there is no permanent solution for the problem. However, applying the ‘DisableLeasing’ registry hack is your best bet to fix it. If you want to avoid the registry hack, try using the other workarounds. You may also consider using Stellar Repair for Access to recover data from the inaccessible database.
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.