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Data Recovery for Access Databases

A data recovery nightmare! (a true story)

For months, since their new computer had been installed, the employees at a remote site had been doing their tape backups, and then keeping the tapes off site. One day, the inevitable happened. Their hard drive crashed. No problem, get a new disk rushed in, and do some basic data recovery by loading from a backup tape.

The first tape did not work. The 2nd one was also empty. And so on and so on.

It seems that every morning the tape software was reporting success, even though there had been a failure. Since none of the employees, or their far away supervisor, had thought of testing a backup, they never knew until it was too late.

You may not lose your entire drive and require hard disk data recovery, however, MS Access databases are definitely prone to failure. Some people say the risk is too high. I personally have never lost an entire MS Access database to corruption, and I've been an Access Developer since 1997. Here are some simple things you can do. This list is not exhaustive, but it is a great start.

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  1. Backup up regularly. When I am in design mode, I stop regularly and make a copy of my database.
  2. Backup BEFORE doing a Compact and Repair.
  3. Do Compact and Repair. When working on the design of an Access database, the file gets "bloated". I regularly read comments on newsgroups about a database growing from 500K to many MBs.
  4. Start from scratch. After a large number of design sessions, I find that Compact and Repair does not seem to work well. I then create a brand new database, and import everything from the old one.
  5. Store your backups on CD or DVD and then take the disks to an "off-site" storage. Even a friend or relative's place will do. (but not your next door neighbour - the same fire that destroys your place may also destroy theirs)
  6. Split your database into a front end (FE) and a back end (BE). The front end will contain the queries, forms, reports, and modules. The back end will contain the tables. This plan is a known way of decreasing the chances of corruption.

If you have followed the above tips, and you lose an MS Access database to corruption, and Compact and Repair does not work, here is a company that specializes in recovery of your data. Access Database Repair

If, however, the problem is that your hard disk failed, then you need data recovery services. There are many companies that specialize in hard drive data recovery. A look on Google using any of these terms (data recovery, data recovery services, hard disk recovery) will list some. One you could try immediately is ACR Data Recovery. They sell a software package that helps with Data Recovery, and in serious cases you can ship the hard disk to them and their experts will do their magic. Click here to visit their site.

Now that you've read this great article (!!!) become proactive about keeping your Access databases from corruption.

Happy Coding

Note: This web site dedicated to MS Access database users is an independent publication of Richard W. Killey and is not affiliated with, nor has it been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft® Corporation.


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