Microsoft Access is a great and widely-used tool for storing and managing databases of files. Those familiar with this tool know how important it is in a variety of industries. Unfortunately, sometimes users tend to encounter various errors and problems while accessing *.mdb, or *.accdb files due to corruption in the Microsoft Access database. Among the reasons that can lead to corruption are the following:

  • Making frequent changes in Memo fields.
  • Interruptions while modifying data.
  • Malware/virus infections.
  • Issues with hardware or software bugs.
  • MS Access crashes caused by poorly designed plug-ins.
  • Conflict with the version of the Jet database engine.

Our guide will help you repair your Access database and recover files if they have been damaged or corrupted. You can choose to go either through the manual steps for both repairing and recovering databases or use a specialized utility called Stellar Repair for Access with easy-to-use functionality for solving Access-related issues in just a few steps.

access database repair

1. Repair and Recover Access database with specialized software

If you did not find success repeating the methods below or simply want to fix your issue in a shorter time, then it might be a good idea to take use of specialized software. Stellar Repair for Access is one such tool able to repair and recover damaged or corrupted database files (.mdb, .accdb) in Microsoft Access. With its advanced scanning algorithms and object-level recovery, you will be able to get a more precise solution and narrow the scope of recovery down to specific objects within the database file, such as tables, forms, reports, and other elements instead of having to recover the entire file. You can download it using the button further below and check our short list of steps on how to use it.

Download Stellar Repair for Access
  1. Download and install Stellar Repair for Access on your computer.
  2. After opening the program, you should be greeted with a pop-up window where you can select the corrupted database file. You can click on Browser or Find buttons to select the problematic database file.
  3. Once done, click on the Repair button and wait until the repairing process ends.
  4. After this, you will see a review of the recovered data. It is possible to preview the data for each object.
  5. Then, click on Save Database in the top left corner to save the recovered database.
  6. Select where it will be saved and click OK.

Note: It’s recommended to save the repaired file with a different name than the original database file to avoid overwriting the original file. Also, the software allows you to save the file in different formats such as .mdb, .accdb, and in SQL Server.

2. Use the “Compact and Repair” feature to repair the Access database

Repairing the MS Access database actually consists of one manual method, and it is the usage of the “Compact and Repair” feature that is already built into Microsoft Access. This compacting process will reduce the size of a database file by removing any unused space and the repairing process will search for and fix possible database errors. The guidelines below are divided for users who can open their database and those who cannot do it. You should also make sure that no other user is using your data at the moment. Otherwise, the compacting and repairing process may not be available for use. Here is how you can use this feature:

If you are able to open Access database:

  1. Open Microsoft Access and navigate to the database file that you want to compact and repair.
  2. Click on the File menu in the top left corner and select Info from the drop-down menu.
  3. Then click on Compact and Repair Database button.
  4. You will then be asked to select the database file that you want to compact-repair. Select it and click OK.
  5. Wait until the compacting and repairing process ends. This can take some time depending on the size of the database file.
  6. Once the process is finished, you will see a window confirming success. Simply click OK to close it.
  7. Finally, try to close and open the database again and see if everything works properly now.

If you are unable to open Access database:

  1. Open Microsoft Access and double-click on Blank database.
  2. Once the new database opens, click on the File menu in the top left corner and choose Close from the drop-down menu.
  3. Navigate to Database tools on top and click on Compact and Repair Database.
  4. Locate the corrupted database file and double-click on it.
  5. A similar window will open where you need to give a new name to the compacted and repaired database. After giving the name, click Save.
  6. This whole process will create a copy of the compacted and repaired database at the same location as the original database.
  7. Try to open the database and see if it works correctly.

This is it with repairing access to corrupted database files in MS Access. If you need to recover the files, go to the next section with the instructions below.

3. Recover MS Access database from backup

If there is a backup copy of your Access database on your computer or somewhere else, you can use it for restoring the database. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Open Microsoft Access and click on the File menu in the top left corner.
  2. Choose Open from the dropdown menu, and navigate to the location of the backup file.
  3. Click on the file once to select it and then on Open to open it up.
  4. You will be asked for confirmation if you want to convert the backup file. Click Yes.
  5. Once the conversion process is complete, a new window will appear with the restored database.
  6. Check the restored database and make sure everything is restored and save the restored database with a new name.

Note: It is highly recommended to keep multiple backups in different locations. This way you will be sure you have a backup option to restore your files in case of emergency.


We hope this guide was useful, and you successfully managed to repair/restore your corrupted or damaged Access database file. Recovering a lost or corrupted Microsoft Access database can be a challenging and time-consuming task, but it is nothing to worry about when there are powerful third-party tools and instructions to use. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can repair and recover access to your Access databases. To avoid losing permanent access to important database elements, it is always a good idea to make regular backups. Doing so can help you save nerves and recover your valuable data without problems in no time.

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