10 Super Easy Ways to Prevent MS Access Database Corruption

by guest blogger Max Jordan
From Scottgem: This is an article submitted to me by Max Jordan, self described as a passionate learner of technology. Besides working as an MS Access DBA, he loves exploring his knowledge on MS Access and sharing tech blogs.

Specifically, in the case of IT industry “The pain of the severe loss is quite unimaginable for those who had never suffered this situation. It kills several instances because its anguish can no longer be attempted again.” Similar is the situation if Microsoft Access database gets corrupted due to any reason. This is why system experts recommend users to take preventive measures, regularly. The question arises of how to prevent Microsoft Access database corruption? So, here in this article we are going to suggest 10 ways to prevent Access database corruption.

  • Split MDB or ACCDB Files: It should be a practice of an user to split the database in two parts i.e., the front-end and the back-end. The front-end database should contain forms, reports, queries and code modules. The back-end contains just the tables with the user’s. The front-end is installed on the local drive of each machine. The back end is stored on a shared network drive. This separation of Access files proves itself beneficial when the application is to be used by multiple clients. This technique will make the database accessible more quickly and enable users to enter/edit data in front-end. And possibilities of MS Access database corruption issues decreases as back-end is secure. 
  • Utilize Decent Network Cards: The unbranded motherboards are made up of plastic and silicon wafers. These unbranded materials lead to cause corruption in files stored on the hard drive by intermittent loss of network connections. Therefore, we suggest sticking with good quality branded network cards. It is suitable to match manufactures of all NICs with networking elements. If possible then, using same brand as the switches and hubs to inhibit corruption in MS Access databases or other applications. 
  • Keep Updated with Latest Drivers: Not only device drives but, programs should also be updated with their recent editions. It is quite obvious that a system manufacture pays less attention on the device drivers. Till today’s research, 80% of crashes are caused due to lack of proper maintenance of device components. It should be the responsibility of each user (or the corporate IT department) to keep drivers updated for fixing bugs and problems. 
  • Change the Suspected Network Element: If an individual stretches the cables tightly then, wires might get bent or disconnected because snagless material is used in them. Users are advised to use switches instead of hubs for networking. A switched network is a topology that benefits users with several advantages. The major advantage of using a switch is that the network speed increases by using collision domains concept. This concept includes breakdown of the LAN leading to occurrence of fewer collision. It means that fewer packets will be transferred over the network through cables. 
  • Avoid MAC and Windows on Same Network: There is a good chance that availability of both Windows and Mac operating system users on one network leads to problem. Mac applications create large amount of traffic over the closed loop. The traffic rapidly increases when transferring of graphic files or their printing takes place. To speed up the working in a closed network, users are recommended to keep Mac and Windows users separate. As much possible, it will be by far better to keep database traffic different from graphics traffic. Permit the administrative workstations for connecting to the server along with a shared database through local switches.
  • Regularly Utilize Compact and Repair Applications: Until and unless, users utilize the Compact & Repair feature, the Access file does not get smaller in size. Even though deletion of data is taking place, it will have no affect on overall file size. Keep one thing in mind, the larger the file, is the greater the target of packet loss. Therefore, set ‘Compact on Close’ feature on the database file, which is provided in Options menu. Compact the file regularly, if you are splitting data onto a separate back-end. Apart from all this, to prevent Access database corruption clients can also utilize visual basic code to set file compacting after certain time duration. 
  • Defragment the Network Hard Drives: It is known that the Access database files are often big. The size increases with regular use of this file. This causes hand in hand problem, with hard drives. A disk with low or full storage space leads to fragmentation more rapidly. This will be having less than 25% of free space on drive. Therefore, clients should defragment their system drives to prevent any disaster. 
  • Try to Avoid Leaving the Database Opened: When an Access database is opened the backup products create back up of the data. This operation starts executing on itself leading to chances of the MS Access database file corruption. This is the reason why it is suggested to keep the application properly closed when they are not in use. 
  • Terminate the Connection When Not in Use: We hope that being a responsible technician, users might do this preventive measure regularly. This protective tip is important when users connect to ADO or DAO within an Access database. It is just one click to close connection but, without it the database will get corrupted twice or thrice.
  • Be Attentive While Using Wireless Networks: A simple cable network might work fine and it is also safe to use. But, using WiFi, multiple clients could suddenly cut off the connections. This will lead to MS Access Database corruption when someone is writing to it simultaneously. When users are reading database then, this sudden interference is not a big issue but, in case of writing, it is! So, try to avoid using Wifi when not in need. 

Observational Verdict

10 ways to prevent Access database corruption are described with details in this article. Not only for Access but, these preventive measures should also be used for other programs. If a person keeps these tips in his / her mind then, there will be less chances of corruption in Access database or in any other database file.



Microsoft expands availability of Access

Microsoft announced yesterday (11/4) that Access will now be included in Office 365 Business and Business Premium packages. Office Blog In doing so, Microsoft is recognizing the importance of capturing and analyzing data to businesses. They are promoting Access as a viable tool for any business to deal with the value of the data they collect in the course of doing business.

Along with this announcement, MSFT also announced new data connections for Access. The ability to combine data from multiple sources has always been one of Access’ biggest strengths and it will now get stronger.

However, in doing this MSFT is setting up a tiered structure for Access. The ability to create applications that link to these new sources will only be in the E3, E5 and Pro Plus versions. But all versions will be able to use apps created in the higher versions.

This is all part of exciting news coming from the Access development team. We can expect more news in the coming months as Access continues to be developed.

Also recently announced is the opening of Power Apps. Power Apps can help you build WEB and Mobile apps fairly easily. MSFT sees this as new way to capture and present data. They are worth checking out.

What is Access?

As one can see, my blog concentrates on Microsoft Access. As a long time database developer who has worked on designing database applications on several platforms with several products (starting with dBase III, working through FoxPro on finally concentrating on Access) I have the knowledge and experience to give advice on Access development.

It occurred to me that I have never actually defined what Access is. As I start this I’m attending Microsoft’s annual MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Summit. This is chance for MVPs to gather, interact with their Product Groups and other MVPs. So we’ve been talking about Access a lot over the last few days. It occurred to me (though not for the first time) that Access is a much misunderstood product. So I decided to blog about what Access actually is.

Most people think of Access as a database. To do so shortchanges Access because it is much more. Sure a database is part of Access, but only a part. I like to describe Access as an Application Development platform. In that, Access is not much different from Visual Studio or other, comparable, development environments. Access comprises several components that all can be used to develop an application that people can use.

The first is a Forms Designer. Access has a Forms Designer that allows the developer to create powerful interactive forms that enter/edit data, view data, process data, do work flows and more. With the Forms Design Wizard, even a novice can create a nice looking form to enter or view data. With the use of process controls like command buttons, subforms, split forms and data controls like combo boxes, list boxes, option groups and text boxes, one can easily create powerful, interactive forms that can work with data or not.

The second component is a Report Writer. Access has one of the best Report Writers in the business. Many people use Access almost solely to create reports on data. The Report Writer is a banded tool that allows very powerful grouping, summarizing and analysis of data. As with the Forms Wizard, the Report Wizard, makes it easy for even the novice to create nice looking yet powerful reports that can be printed (both hardcopy and electronic) or even interacted with. Just the Report Writer alone is almost worth the price of admission.

The next component I want to discuss is the Query Designer. Generally used in conjunction with other components, the Query Designer provides a graphical interface to build SQL statements that can be saved and run directly or used in code modules. I will admit that the SQL generated through Query Design mode is not the best (too many parentheses, etc.) but it is workable. It also provides a way to learn SQL by seeing the code generated through the graphical interface. Queries are integral to getting data out of a relational database. At lot of activities in Access revolve around queries that pull the relational data together.

Another component to discuss is automation. Access contains two ways to provide automation for processing. First, let me state that automation is a more advanced feature of Access. People can build viable applications without using automation at all. But, with automation, the developer can provide end users with a full-fledged application that can does not need any knowledge of Access on the part of the user. But the macro language

Automation comes in two flavors; macros and VBA. The macro language was greatly improved in 2010. Prior to 2010, the macro language was rudimentary, not very powerful, and, in my humble opinion, not worth using. Since 2010, you have a language that is more powerful, more flexible and is usable in lots of situations. In addition, if you are designing a WEB App, your only choice for automation is macros. The other flavor is VBA. Visual Basic for Applications is a superset of the Visual Basic language. In addition to all the VB commands there are objects, methods, properties and classes specific to the application you are working in. With all that, VBA is a powerful language. There is very little that can’t be done in VBA. Many have extended Access greatly using custom VBA functions and procedures.

Finally, Access comes with a database component. This component has gone through lots of changes over the various versions. Previously called the Jet Engine it is now referred to as ACE (originally Access Connectivity Engine, now Access Database Engine). ACE is the native database store for Access. ACE is the weakest link in the family of components that comes with Access. But one of the strengths of Access is that it can connect to a variety of data stores. An Access application can connect to a variety of data stores. Anything from the freely distributable SQL Express, through text files, Excel or anything with an ODBC connection like SQL Server, Oracle, DB2 and more. And you can combine these connections to pull data from a variety of sources.

So Access was designed to work with relational databases. It was also designed to work in a multi-user environment. This makes Access very scalable in a variety of uses.

Because Access is a platform for developing applications it can be used on a variety of levels. The single end user can use it to develop simple applications for their personal use. The “knowledge worker” can “develop” multi-user applications to share data among a small workgroup. The experienced developer can create applications that can be used on a variety of levels in small to medium size businesses.

It has to be remembered that Access is not simply a database. If one looks on Access as a database one is missing the full breadth of features and capabilities that Access brings to the table. As an experienced Access Developer I am proud of the applications I’ve developed and how they have helped people with their jobs and hobbies.

I’ll close with a bit of a shameless plug. I’ve spent a significant portion of my life in helping people use Access to its fullest extent. I’ve done this as a volunteer on several Web forums like answers.microsoft.com, utteraccess.com, and more. I’ve done it through this blog. I’ve done it as teacher in a variety of venues (most recently for the Continuing Ed department of Hofstra University). I’ve also done this as a paid consultant for a variety of clients. So if I can help you make the most of Access, feel free to contact me through the various venues mentioned.