Summary: You may experience a problem accessing an MS Access table if it loses its definition. This blog discusses about the issue and how you can recover the table using an Access database repair and recovery tool.
While a table stores all the data of an MS Access database, the table definition contains all the details about each table. So, you won’t be able to open a table that has lost its definition and may receive the Unrecognized database format error.
Note: You might not necessarily encounter the ‘unrecognized database format’ error if you lose the table definition; however, it could be one reason that leads to the error.
Before troubleshooting the issue, you need to understand why a table might not open if you lose the definition.
If a part of your Access database file (MDB or ACCDB) gets damaged, you can retrieve the available records. Also, you can recover an unspecified table if a few records get damaged. But, you cannot access a table if the definition is lost. That is because you will need a table definition to interpret the table’s records.
Note: Do not try to repair the table using the ‘Compact and Repair’ utility, as it may remove the damaged tables. For instance, suppose a ‘Customers’ table definition is damaged or lost. On trying to open the table, it returns an error as follows:
Running the Access ‘Compact and Repair’ utility on the ‘Customers’ table makes the table disappear and deletes the data from the database file.
Using an Access repair tool like Stellar Repair for Access can help you recover the table that has lost its definition. This is how the ‘Customers’ table used to look in MS Access.
Once the table definition is lost or becomes corrupted, any attempt to open the table will result in an error. But, you can try to recover the Access table and all its data using Stellar Repair for Access software.
The software is purpose-built to help Microsoft Access users to repair corruption in an Access table and other objects. Before saving the data, you can preview it and verify data accuracy. To do so, download the software from the below link.
After downloading and installing the Access repair tool, the software’s main interface opens with options to browse or find a corrupt ACCDB/MDB file. Select the file and initiate the repair process. The software will display a preview of all the tables in the repaired file. You can also view the table records and fields, without modifying the original table structure.
Manually repairing a corrupted table definition using the built-in ‘Compact and Repair’ utility may fail. The only resort to make the table accessible is to restore it from a backup. If you don’t have a backup, use Stellar Repair for Access software to fix and restore the corrupted database table definition. The software also helps recover table relationships, keys, indexes, etc. The tool also helps recover linked tables.
Charanjeet is a Technical Content Writer at Stellar®who specializes in writing about databases, e-mail recovery, and e-mail migration solutions. She loves researching and developing content that helps database administrators, organizations and novices to fix multiple problems related to MS SQL and MySQL databases and Microsoft Exchange.