“Unrecognized Database Format MDB” How to Fix ?

Summary: This blog talks about the Unrecognized database Format MDB/ repair access database / resolve unrecognized database format/ MDB unrecognized database format error

Generally, organizations deal with a large amount of data regularly. And DBMS (database management system) software becomes an essential tool for every organization. The primary objective of a DBMS tool is to make it possible to organize data in a database file. Microsoft Access is a popular database management system that combines the relational Microsoft Jet database engine with a graphical user-interface and software-developments tools. It has many advantages, but one major drawback. An Access 2010 database, be it MDB or ACCDB, is highly prone to corruption. So, we need urgent access database recovery. Database corruption is certainly a nightmare for any administrator or user. In this article, we’re going to discuss the most common reasons for Access database corruption. Also, we’ll learn how to repair Access database manually.

Also, Read – Repair MDF File

Unrecognized database format MDB

Confronting error messages is always very annoying. How often do you face error messages while using the Access program? If there’s any sort of issue or error in the Access database, you’re likely to face corruption. One of the most common error messages is “unrecognized database format”.

unrecognized database format

You may receive this error message while trying to open an Access database or using the current database. There are likely two causes for this error message: either you’re trying to open the database file in the previous version, or the database file is corrupt. Make sure you open the database in the same version of Microsoft Access on which it was originally created. For example, if you try to open a database file in MS Access 2007 originally created by Access 2010, you’re likely to receive this error message. Access database corruption might be another reason for this error message.

Common Reasons Behind Unrecognized Database Format MDB

Have you ever faced Access database corruption? Do you know the reasons which cause corruption in the Access database? Below I’m discussing the most common reasons for Access database corruption:

Unrecognized Database Format MDB

Reason #1 – Computer Viruses

A computer virus is one of the most common reasons for file corruption. It’s very harmful to your computer system as well as the data stored in it. An Access database ain’t immune to virus infection. A virus can infect the database by deleting some part of the file and/or by overwriting it.

Reason #2 – Sudden System Shutdown

If the system shuts down due to a sudden power failure or due to any other reason, it can cause a great loss. Not just the data and information, this situation may even put your hardware devices at high risk. If the system shuts down due to any reason while you’re working on the database file, it may cause Access database corruption. The next time you open the database, it’s likely to be corrupted or inaccessible.

Reason #3 – Abruptly Cancellation of Access Program

A computer program/application is very sensitive. You can’t close it just like that especially if you’re working on it. If you close the software application forcefully or it turns off due to any reason, it may cause serious troubles. The program and the files associated with it may become corrupted.

Reason #4 – Hard Disk Failure

The hard disk drive is an important part of the computer. Everything is stored on a hard disk, be it a software application. Being a hardware device, a hard disk is prone to many severe issues. If any mishap takes place in the hard disk drive, the situation becomes worse. Hard disk crash is one of the major problems faced by computer users. At the time of a hard disk crash, you may lose almost everything from the hard disk including the Access database files.

Reason #5 – Software Malfunction

It generally refers to a situation when a software application starts behaving abnormally. There might be many reasons for software malfunction, such as internal bugs, software collision, running outdated versions, etc. It has a direct relation to the files associated with the software. If any type of software malfunction takes place in Microsoft Access, the Access database file is likely to be corrupted.

Reason #6 – Improper Data Synchronization

Sometimes human errors also play an important role in Access database corruption. Improper data synchronization is one of the common mistakes often done by Access users. Via data synchronization, Access users can synchronize a single set of data between two or more devices. This will establish the consistency among data from a source to the target data storage. But if the users perform the data synchronization process improperly, it may lead to Access database corruption.

How to Repair Access Database File?

Access database corruption can lead to data loss if you don’t repair Access database in time. If you have a valid backup of your Access database, you can successfully restore it from the backup file. A backup file plays the role of a lifesaver at the time of data loss due to accidental deletion or corruption. That’s why taking a regular backup is strongly recommended by professionals and data recovery experts.

But if you don’t have any backup, you should consider using a professional Access Database Recovery Solution. There are many vendors in the online marketplace that provide 3rd party Access Repair tool. However, if you’re looking for a free solution to repair Access database, you should try the manual solutions I’ll be sharing below.

  • Microsoft Access has a built-in repair feature, Compact and Repair Database.
  • You can also use the Import feature to import the corrupt Access database into a new one.
  • Microsoft also provides a freeware utility, called the JetComp.exe utility, to repair Access database.

Compact and Repair Database 

The “Compact and Repair Database” is considered one of the best ways to repair Access database. It comes as a built-in repair feature in Microsoft Access. Since it’s a free solution, you must try it before anything else. Follow these simple steps:

  1. First, launch the Microsoft Access program. But don’t open the corrupt database.
  2. On the taskbar, click the Database Tools tab.
  3. You’ll see the Compact and Repair Database option there. Click it once to launch the Database to Compact From dialog box.
  4. On the “Database to Compact From” dialog box, locate the corrupt Access database and select it. Then click the Compact button.
  5. On the “Compact Database Into” dialog box, define a location and create a new database file into which you can compact the corrupt Access database. Then click the Save button.

Important note: Make sure nobody else is using the same Access database on which you’re using the Compact and Repair utility.

Run JetComp.exe Utility

If the “Compact and Repair Database” feature fails or doesn’t work due to severe corruption, you should try the JetComp.exe utility. It’s a freeware utility provided by Microsoft to fix Access database corruption. Follow these simple steps:

Note: Kindly rename the Master Client database to PROB.mdb before running the JetComp.exe utility.

how to use JetComp.exe utility

  1. Run the JetComp.exe utility from the Montel Application/support directory.
  2. From Database to Compact From (Source) field, specify the source database. In most instances, databases are stored in c:\RESDATA.
  3. In the Database to Compact Into (Destination) field, select the destination for the new (compacted) database. Make sure the new database has a new name.
  4. In the Database Locale: field, the None – Use Current language option is selected. Leave it selected.
  5. Under the Additional Compact Options section, the Destination is 4.x database format is checked by default. Leave it checked.
  6. Now finally click the Compact button.

Use Import Feature

Microsoft Access has a built-in Import feature which you can use here. By using this feature, you can import data from the corrupt Access database into a new one. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Launch the Microsoft Access program. Now create a new database file.
  2. On the new database, click the External Data tab on the taskbar. Now click Access to import the corrupt database.
  3. On the Get External Data – Access Database window, specify the source of the data. Click Browse and select the corrupt Access database.
  4. Now specify how and where you want to store the data in the current database. Click OK to continue the process.
  5. In Import Objects window, select the objects which you want to import from the corrupt Access database. Click OK to start the import operation.
  6. Within a couple of minutes, the process will be completed successfully. Click Close.

Access Database Recovery for Unrecognized Database Format

In a case of severe corruption, manual solutions may fail or don’t work. In such a situation, you should use a professional Access Database Recovery Solution. The Access Repair Tool provided by SysInfoTools Software is an excellent solution to repair Access database with utmost accuracy. It can smartly handle a high level of corruption and restore all the file objects like tables, queries, forms, reportsindicesrelations, etc. There are two recovery modes: Standard and Advanced. It supports both MDB and ACCDB files created by all versions of Microsoft Access.

download now

SysInfoTools provides the demo version of the Access Repair tool for a free evaluation. So before you can purchase the software, you must download the free demo version. By using the demo version, you can scan the corrupt Access database and check the preview of your recoverable data prior to saving. And if you’re satisfied with the results, then only you should purchase the software.

Here is a quick video to know how it functions:


An Access database is highly prone to corruption due to various reasons. In this article, we’ve discussed the most common reasons for Access database corruption. Also, we’ve learned how to repair Access database by using manual solutions. And if the manual solutions fail, you should use the professional Access Repair tool recommended in this article. However, you should always take a regular backup of your data including the Access database in order to prevent data loss.

About The Author:

I'm a content writer in the field of Email Migration, Data Recovery, Email backup, and File Management. I started this writing career two years back. I think the vast range of information in this industry is the reason I am so fascinated to read about the newer techniques and technology.

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