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Step-by-step manual for Recovery Toolbox for Access

Recovery Toolbox for Access (download) is used for recovering data from corrupted database files in the Microsoft Access *.mdb, *.accdb format. The tool is capable of performing the following operations:

  • Recovery of the original table structure (indexes and other parameters).
  • Recovery of table data.
  • Recovery of queries, except for queries used in reports and forms.
  • Recovery of relations, excluding those relations that are used for displaying data.

You can recover a corrupted database in several simple steps:

  1. Select a file for further processing
  2. Preview the structure or the data extracted from the damaged database file
  3. Specify a file to save the extracted data to
  4. View the final report

You can stop the recovery process at any moment by choosing File | Exit, pressing the Exit button or closing Recovery Toolbox for Access by clicking the small cross button in the top right corner of the window. If you decide to stop the work of the application on stages 1, 2 or 3, the recovery process will not be finished. Users can also use the Back button to go back to the previous stage, view the data and make changes, if necessary.

Recovering data from damaged database files of Microsoft Access

As an example, let's assume we have a damaged database file called db11.mdb and located in D:\AccessRecovery.

1. Selecting a source file for further processing

Screenshot 1. Opening a file.

When Recovery Toolbox for Access is started, users see a window prompting to select a source file for further processing (see screenshot 1).

The path to the source file and its name are entered with the help of the keyboard in input field. Alternatively, you can use a standard dialog by pressing button .

Users can also open one of the previously opened documents - the list is shown in field .

When the source file is selected, users can press the Next button to proceed to the next step of the recovery process.

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2. Preview of the structure of the data extracted from the damaged database file

Screenshot 2. Viewing the table structure.

The preview mode allows you to see the structure of the file in the form it will be saved in (see screenshot 2).

On the left-hand side, users can see the structure of the database in a tree form and can view detailed information about each database object. The tree form consists of three main branches: Relations, Queries and Tables.

You can also view system tables (MsysACEs, MSysObjects, MSysQueries and others starting with MSys), user tables (Addresses, Phones), queries (PhonesQuery) and relations (PhonesPhones Query, Reference, PhonesPhones, PhonesPhones Query1).

When one of the tables is selected, the window will assume the form seen on the screenshot. Such parameters as table name and corresponding columns can be found in one of the right top pane window sections. Table records can be viewed in the corresponding section of the right bottom pane window. If you want to see all table records, please use the checkbox up the records of table.

Screenshot 3. Viewing the query structure.

Apart from that, you can open the Indexes branch to see the Primary Key parameter, as well as indexed columns shown in accordance with their names. The second section of the screen contains the index name and several related parameters. Specifically, it shows which columns comprise the index, shows whether the specified column is required, whether columns should be unique only and whether this column contains primary keys. If no index has been created for this table, the Indexes branch will not contain any values and will be empty. In this case, no database records will be shown when the index is selected.

Screenshot 4. Viewing a relation .

When the Phones table is selected, you will see such columns as NickName, LastName, MobilePhone, HomePhone, WorkPhone, BirthDate, EmailAddress, AddressID. Only AddressID, LastName, EmailAddress and BirthDate are indexed. The names of the fields match the names of corresponding indexes. These indexes are not unique and records are not mandatory in this case. The primary key includes the AddressID column only.

When one of the queries is selected, the right bottom pane of the window will not be shown and the right top pane will contain the name of the selected query and the related SQL code (see screenshot 3).

If you choose one of the relations, the right top pane will show the names of the corresponding relation, reference tables and table columns (see screenshot 4).

Please press Next to continue the database recovery configuration process.

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3. Selecting a file for saving the previously extracted data

Screenshot 5. Saving the file.

Once you have finished previewing the database structure, the application will prompt you to select the name and path of the file to be used for saving the recovered data (screenshot 5).

You can leave the settings unchanged - in this case, the application will save the output file in the same folder the original database file was in. The name of the file will consist of the name of the original file and the _repaired postfix.

Please specify the path and name of the file in the input field to save the recovered data. Besides, you can use the standard dialog for saving the file - click the icon . Please press the Recover button to start the recovery process.

If the selected file name already exists at the specified location, you will see a corresponding warning message. You will then be able to go one step back and specify another file name and/or location.

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4. Viewing the final recovery report

Screenshot 6. Journal.

The actual recovery process takes place on this stage.

When the recovery process is started, Recovery Toolbox for Access shows messages in the journal window. Besides, these messages are saved to the Err.log file located in the Recovery Toolbox for Access folder. If a file already exists, new information will be appended to it. When a new record is added, it also contains a timestamp.

There are three message types:

  • The bold font signifies that a group of data has been recovered. Users see such messages when the tool starts recovering a sequence of data of the same type, for instance, tables or queries.
  • Element recovery messages are shown in normal font. These notifications tell the user that a group element has been recovered - for instance, a table structure or a query. To simplify the journal structure, such notifications are not shown during table recovery.
  • The red font means an error. If the program cannot recover certain data or any other errors occur, a corresponding notification is shown in the journal. There notifications are also marked with an $Error$ string in the Err.log file.

Recovery Toolbox for Access does not recover data from encrypted files. Unencrypted password-protected files can be recovered, but passwords are lost. Besides, the software does not recover reports, pages, modules, macros, links and fields referring to other databases, Access-specific features for displaying elements in the editor field and restrictions used for value selection.

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Final stage

If you have looked through the journal, you can finish the process by pressing the Exit button or by selecting File | Exit. You can also go back using the Back button and specify another file for processing. Please note that the file and the folder it is stored in will not change automatically, so you will need to change these parameters manually or use the standard Browse dialog.

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Our software do not recover:

  • forms;
  • macros;
  • modules;
  • password protected files.
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