repair Access database
Database Recovery

Unrecognized Database Format. How to Repair Access Database?

Generally, organizations use large amounts of data. And the database management system (DBMS) software becomes an essential tool for every organization. The primary objective of a DBMS tool is to make it possible to organize data in a database file. Being a part of well-known Microsoft Office suite, Microsoft Access is a popular database management system that combines the relational Microsoft Jet database engine with a graphical user-interface and software-developments tools. It has many advantages, but one major drawback. An Access database, be it MDB or ACCDB, is not immune to corruption. Access database corruption is not less than a nightmare for any administrator or user. In this blog post, I’ll show you the most common reasons for Access database corruption and how to repair Access database manually.

Error message: Unrecognized database format

Confronting error messages is always very annoying. How often do you face error messages while using the Access program? One of the most common error messages is “unrecognized database format”. You may receive this error message while trying to open an Access database or using a current database.

unrecognized database format

There are likely two causes for this error message: either you’re trying to open the database file in the previous version, or the database file is corrupt. Make sure you open the database in the same version of MS Access program on which it was originally created. For example, if you try to open a database file in MS Access 2007 originally created by Access 2010, you’re likely to receive this error message. Access database corruption might be another reason for this error message.

Access Database Corruption – Its Common Reasons 

Have you ever faced Access database corruption? Do you know the reasons which cause Access database corruption? Well, there are many reasons can cause severe issues in your Access database. Some of the most common reasons are listed below:

Computer viruses 

A computer virus is one of the most common reasons for corruption. It’s very harmful to your computer system as well as the data stored in it. An Access database file is prone to virus infection and becomes corrupt with ease. A virus can infect the database by deleting some part of the file and/or by overwriting it.

Sudden system shutdown 

If the system shuts down due to a sudden power failure or due to any other reason, it can cause a great loss. Not just the data and information, this situation may even put your hardware devices at high risk. If the system shuts down due to any reason while you’re working on the database file, it may cause Access database corruption. The next time you open the database, you’ll find it corrupt or inaccessible.

Abruptly cancellation of Access program 

Computer programs/applications are very sensitive. You can’t close them just like that especially if you’re working on a file. If you close the software application forcefully or it turns off due to any reason, it may cause serious troubles. The program and the files associated with it may become corrupt.

Hard disk failure 

Hard disk plays the major role in a computer system. Everything is stored on a hard disk, be it a software application or any file. If any mishappening takes place on the hard disk, the situation becomes worse. Being a hardware device, a hard disk is prone to many severe issues. Hard disk crash is one of the major problems faced by computer users. At the time of hard disk crash, you may lose almost everything from the hard disk including the Access database files.

Software malfunction 

It generally refers to a situation when a software application starts behaving abnormally. There might be many reasons behind this situation, such as internal bugs, software collision, running outdated versions, etc.  Software malfunction has a direct relation to the files associated with the software. If any type of software malfunction takes place in MS Access program, the Access database files may become corrupt.

Improper Data Synchronization 

Sometimes human errors also play an important role in Access database corruption. Improper data synchronization is one of the common mistakes often done by the Access users. Via data synchronization, Access users can synchronize a single set of data between two or more devices. This will establish the consistency among data from a source to the target data storage. But if the users perform data synchronization process improperly, it may cause Access database corruption.

How to repair Access database file?

Corruption can surely increase the chances of data loss. Whenever you face Access database corruption, this means all your crucial data is at high risk. Smart computer users always take backup of their crucial files and also update it regularly. A backup file plays the role of a lifesaver.  Whenever you face data loss situation due to corruption or accidental deletion, you can use the backup file to restore your lost data from it. That’s why professionals and data recovery experts strongly recommend using the backup.

But if you don’t have any backup for the Access database, you should try to fix Access database corruption with the help of few easy manual tricks. The Compact and Repair utility is one the best and effective solutions to repair Access database. Also, you can use the JetComp.exe utility here to fix Access database corruption. There’s one more thing you can try here, importing corrupt Access database into a new one.

Refer to this article for some useful information 10 ways to prevent Access database corruption

Compact and Repair utility to repair Access database

compact and repair Access databaseThe Compact and Repair utility comes as a built-in repair tool with MS Access program. It’s considered one the best solutions to repair Access database. So before you can try anything to repair Access database, you must use the Compact and Repair utility. It’s very easy to use it, just follow these simple steps:

Step 1: First of all, launch Microsoft Access program. But don’t open the corrupt database.

Step 2: On the taskbar, click the Database Tools tab.

Step 3: You’ll see the Compact and Repair Database option there. Click it once to launch the Database to Compact From dialog box.

Step 4: On the Database to Compact From” window, locate the corrupt Access database and select it. Then click the Compact button.

Step 5: Now on the “Compact Database Into” window, define a location and create a new database file into which you can compact the corrupt Access database. Then click the Save button.

Important note: Make sure nobody else is using the same Access database on which you’re using the Compact and Repair utility.

JetComp.exe can fix Access database corruption

If the Compact and Repair utility fails or doesn’t help you due to severe corruption, you should try the JetComp.exe utility. It’s a freeware utility provided by Microsoft to fix Access database corruption. Like Compact and Repair utility, you can easily use it and it also provides effective results. Follow these simple steps:

Note: Kindly rename the Master Client database to PROB.mdb before running the JetComp.exe utility.

how to use JetComp.exe utility

Step 1: First of all, run the JetComp.exe utility from the MonTel Application/support directory.

Step 2: In the Database to Compact From (Source) field, specify the source database. In most instances, databases are stored in c:\RESDATA.

Step 3: In the Database to Compact Into (Destination) field, select the destination for the new (compacted) database. Make sure the new database has the new name.

Step 4: In the Database Locale: field, the None – Use Current language option is selected. Leave it selected.

Step 5: Under the Additional Compact Options section, the Destination is 4.x database format is checked by default. Leave it checked.

Step 6: Now finally click the Compact button.

How to import corrupt Access database into a new database?

There’s one more thing you can try, import corrupt Access database into a new database. And you can do that with the help of the built-in Import feature of MS Access program. See below how you can do that:

Step 1: First of all, launch Microsoft Access program. Now create a new database file.

Step 2: On the new database, click the External Data tab on the taskbar. Now click Access to import the corrupt database.

Step 3: On the Get External Data – Access Database window, specify the source of the data. Click Browse and select the corrupt Access database.

Step 4: Now specify how and where you want to store the data in the current database. Click OK to continue the process.

Step 5: On the Import Objects window, select the objects which you want to import from the corrupt Access database. Click OK to start the import operation.

Step 6: Within a couple of minutes, the process will be completed successfully. Click Close.

Professional Solution to Repair Access Database

If the Access database corruption is severe and you can’t fix it manually, you must look forward to a professional solution. The Access Repair Tool is one such smart solution available with the demo version for free evaluation. It can smartly handle any level of corruption, be it minor or extreme, with the help of two recovery modes: Standard and Advanced. Via this software, you can restore Access database objects like tables, queries, indexes, relations, etc. and save them into a new database file. This software works in both these situations:

  • If you’re using an older version of MS Access and you want to repair MDB file;
  • And/or if you’re using any newer version of MS Access and you want to repair ACCDB file.

Before you can purchase the Access Database Recovery software, you must download its free demo version. The demo version of this software has the same features and functionalities what you get in the full version. With the help of demo version, you can scan and repair Access database with ease. Also, you can check the preview of your data which you can recover from the corrupt Access database.

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