What to do when a database won't open

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by Keri Hardwick, 01 January 1999    (Access 97)

These are a series of steps designed to help you determine what the problem is, and to offer some suggestions on how to recover as much of your database as possible.

First and foremost, try not to panic. I know it seems, and may very well be, that you have a big problem.  However, panic can hamper your ability to fix things and even cause you to make errors that cause more problems. Get a cup of coffee, take a short walk, however you blow off some steam - do so, then come back and begin.

The first thing to try is the Jetcomp utility. If you don't have it, download from Microsoft: 

If that doesn't solve your problem, work your way down this table. The flow is down as you answer questions.

 

Are you not able to open the mdb or is the mdb open and you can't open a table?
Can't open mdb Can't open table
Can you open any file on this computer? Is the table in the mdb file you have open, or is it attached?
Yes, I can open other files No, I can not open other files Table is in MDB Table is in attached db
Can you open another mdb on this computer? (Copy in another mdb if necessary.) Sounds like the computer. Move the files you need, if possible, or just sit back and wait for the computer to get fixed. Can you open another table in this mdb? Open (in the database window) the db that actually has the table. Run through these steps again.
Yes, I can open another mdb No, I can not open another mdb Yes, I can open another table in this mdb No, I can not open another table in this mdb
Try creating a new db and importing objects, one at a time, from the corrupt db. Still no good? See When All Else Fails, below. Sounds to me like the server's copy of Access is kaput. Try moving the db you can't open to another computer and see if you have better luck. Sounds like you've just lost the one table. Create a new db and import all other objects. Create a second new db and try to import the bad table. Try to create a query based on this table - basically, try anything to get at the data for this table, but try it in isolation from all other objects. Nothing? See When All Else Fails, below. Can you open any object in this mdb?
Yes, I can open another object in this mdb No, I can not open another object in this mdb
This would indicate the data tables have been hosed. Again, try creating a new db and importing objects one at a time. It may be just one table. Save your most recently used table (if you know) for last. Still no good? See When All Else Fails, below. Try creating a new db and importing objects, one at a time, from the corrupt db. Still no good? See When All Else Fails, below.
When all else fails: Contact an Access Database Recovery Service

Editorial Note: Read our Access Database Corruption Repair Guide



Hope this helps,
Keri Hardwick

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