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MDE to MDB Conversion Service - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I don't believe this is possible.  Can you prove it?

    Our Answer:

    We understand that it's human nature to question something that is supposedly impossible to achieve - like converting a compiled MDE file back to full MDB format, including VBA source code.

    To put the speculation to an end, a few years ago we took on the challenge to convert a compiled MDE back to a fully functioning MDB, in a public forum.  The MDE was provided by Karl Donaubauer, Access MVP.

    The results have since been written about in an article here (in German):

    Review of MDE Conversion Service by EverythingAccess.com

    (Review by Karl Donaubauer, Access MVP)

    Alex Dybenko (also Access MVP) was our common contact throughout the process, and he also writes about it in his blog here:  Live test reverse engineering MDE to MDB

  2. Many Microsoft Access developers claim that it is impossible to convert an MDE back into an MDB file, yet this is what you are claiming to achieve.  Who am I to believe?

    Our Answer:

    It depends!  It is true that it is impossible to convert an MDE (or ADE) file back to its original form in its entirety.  The service we offer recovers all Access objects with one exception: source-code comments.

    When an MDE file is created, all source code (including comments) are removed from the file.  The file still works however since the VBA compiled code remains in the MDE file.  The compiled code is a binary interpretation of the VBA source code - it is not easily human-readable. 

    Fortunately our experienced developers are capable of interpreting the compiled code in an MDE file and recreating a new fully compatible version of the original source code. 

    Using advanced techniques, our developers can also recover all procedure and variable names. Using this extra information we can recreate your code almost exactly to the original standard.  The few differences between the original VBA code and the new VBA code can be seen in this example (but note there are no functional differences):

    An example of the quality of recovered VBA code

  3. How long does it take for you to convert an MDE into an MDB file?

    Our Answer:

    Converting an MDE into an MDB file is a complex process.   Once you've provided us with information about your project (such as project file size) we will be able to give you a free quote. 

    In general, most projects can be reverse engineered within 48 hours.

    Enquire Here

  4. How much do you charge for this service?

    Our Answer:

    The cost is largely dependant on the complexity of the compiled VBA project in your project.  We provide a free no-obligation quote on request.

    Our costs reflect the time and effort involved in converting your project in a professional manner.  To our knowledge, no other service is available that is capable of producing similar results and accuracy.

    Enquire Here

  5. I have an ADE file - can you reverse engineer that too?

    Our Answer:

    Yes, our experts are capable of converting MDE, ACCDE or ADE files back to their original formats from Access 97 right through to the latest version of Access (v2013 as of writing).

  6. I have an Access 97 MDE file which I would like upgraded to Access 2003, is this something you can do for me?

    Our Answer:

    Certainly.  Once your project has been converted back to its source format, any experienced Access developer should be able to assist you in upgrading your project to another Access version.  If you would like our experienced engineers to do this for you, please talk to us after the conversion work has been completed.  

  7. I've heard that reverse engineering source code often produces "spaghetti code", where the result is a working version, but not easily maintainable since the code is essentially a representation of how the computer interprets the code not how the original developer wrote it.  Is this true?

    Our Answer:

    This is true of most 'decompiler' type software.  However, our reverse engineering experts are also experienced developers and the quality of the resulting VBA code is an example of this.  As an example, most decompilers don't recognise loops and condition statements at all, yet we do.  You can be rest assured that your 'recovered' VBA code will be of the same quality or higher quality than the original VBA code.

    An example of the quality of recovered VBA code

  8. It sounds too good to be true.  How come you can do what others can't?

    Our Answer:

    Our engineers are very competent developers and understand all Access database formats at the binary level.  The knowledge that was gained from running our Access database repair service provided the groundwork for the conversion services. 

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