How to Repair Microsoft Access Database Manually

When an Access database file becomes corrupt, one question that users often ask, is ‘Can I Repair Microsoft Access Database?

Yes, the database can be repaired by using the Microsoft built-in ‘Compact and Repair’ utility.

Before we discuss how this repair tool works, let’s look at some common causes of Access database corruption.

Reasons behind Access database corruption

·         Hardware Failure: Using an obsolete or faulty hardware, or one with less storage capacity, for storing database files can turn the files corrupt.

  • Editing data in MEMO fields in an Access file shared over a network: Multiple users simultaneously editing data in MEMO fields in an Access file, shared over a network, increase the risk of database corruption.

Other reasons that can damage the database are virus infection, software bugs, and weak network connection.

How to repair Microsoft Access database?

The ‘Compact and Repair’ utility allows you to fix open as well as inaccessible Access database.

Steps to repair Access database when the database is open

Step 1: Click File, and select Info.

step 1

Figure 1-Navigate to Info window.

Step 2: Click Compact & Repair Database.

step 2

Figure 2-Open Compact & Repair Utility

Access will create a copy of the compacted and repaired database.

Steps to repair Access database when the database is inaccessible

NOTE: Make sure that the database file is currently not in use by other users.

Step 1: Open MS Access 2019 application.

Step 2: In the window that appears, double-click Blank desktop database.

step 3

Figure 3-Open a Blank database.

Step 3: Click File, and then hit Close.

step 4

Figure 4-Close the blank database.

Step 4: Click Database Tools, and then select Compact and Repair Database on Tools menu.

step 5

Figure 5-Open Access Database Tools

Step 5: In Database to Compact From window, find and double-click the database that you need to compact and repair.

step 6

Figure 6-Database to Compact Form

A copy of the compacted and repaired database will get created in the same location (where the original database is saved).

What if the above method fails?

The ‘Compact and Repair’ utility might not help fix the issue, as it has certain limitations:

  • It may fail to fix severely corrupt .accdb/.mdb files.
  • It cannot repair damaged forms, macros, reports, or modules.

As an alternative, use an Access repair software to repair severely corrupt database files. Such a software can help fix tables, queries, forms, reports and indexes. Also, it helps recover macros, modules and relational databases.


This post outlined reasons behind the Access database corruption issue. It also discussed how you can repair the database by using the ‘Compact and Repair’ tool. If the tool fails, using a specialized Access database repair software may help.

But, keep in mind, what happened once can happen again. So, it is important for you to take precautionary measures to prevent Access database from getting damaged. For this, follow these tips:

  • Make sure you use a hardware that is up-to-date and has adequate storage capacity.
  • Install an antivirus software that can efficiently handle virus/malware attacks and threats.
  • Restrict simultaneous editing of .accdb or .mdb file by multiple users.
  • Avoid addition or deletion of data to and from MEMO fields on a recurring basis.
  • Split large-sized databases.