Top 10 Access Database Corruption Causes

Summary:  If an Access database file gets corrupt or damaged, MS Access has a built-in Compact and Repair utility to resolve such issues. However, sometimes, this utility fails to repair the MS Access database (.accdb) file due to various reasons. In this post, we’ve discussed an alternate solution to repair the MS Access database when Compact and Repair do not work.

MS Access database may become corrupt or damaged at any point in time. When this happens, you can’t access the database (ACCDB and MDB) files, which forces you to stop your vital project work.

In such a situation, the only thing you would wish to do is repair the ACCDB and MDB files. However, before repairing these critical Access database files, it is important to know the reasons behind corruption.

Why Does My Access Database Keep Getting Corrupted?

Here’s a list of top 10 reasons ‘why your Access database keeps getting corrupted’ in Windows 10, along with the tips to resolve the issue and fix the Access database corruption in MS Access 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019.

Cause 1: Failed Hardware 

A failed hardware is one of the most common and hence one of the top causes for corruption in the Access database.

If the hardware, such as hard drive or other storage media, which is being used to store the Access database files is obsolete, has bad sectors, etc., it restricts the complete utilization of the Access application. Also, drive with small or limited storage and bad sectors interrupt the accessibility of database files. In such circumstances, the Access database becomes corrupt and may keep getting corrupted even if you fix it somehow until the faulty hardware is replaced.

Tip to handle this cause of Access Database corruption – As an Access database user, you should use reliable hardware components, such as a storage drive, that is up-to-date with the latest firmware updates, free from any health issue or SMART errors, and has adequate storage capacity.

Cause 2: Failed Software

The next common cause of corruption in the Access database is incorrect file system recovery, which is a type of software failure. This can also be referred to as a failed software. The other type of software failure is resource conflict on the system and file system corruption.

Tip to handle this cause of corruption – You would have to use a correct file system recovery to keep the software in working condition. You should also keep away the resource conflict on your system and file system in working condition. This will help you avoid any software conflicts and Access database corruption due to software-related issues.

Cause 3: Sudden System Shutdown 

A sudden shutdown of your system is another top cause of corruption in the MS Access database. This may happen due to accidental system shutdown, power surge/outage in the absence of power backup, or system crash while the Access file is open. The downside of this cause is that it occurs all of a sudden without any prior information, warning, or sign. This can not only lead to database corruption but also data loss.

Tip to handle this cause of corruption – To avoid sudden system shutdown, install uninterrupted power supply (UPS). Also, before turning off the system, close all running applications including MS Access. This will help avoid ‘force close’ MS Access while it’s running.

Cause 4: Incompetent Database Design or Structure 

An incompetent or ineffective database design/structure may also cause corruption in the Access database. This can happen when the issue is left unattended in the coding of the database. This means that any flaw in the coding makes database incompetent and thus, corrupts the Access database files.

Tip to handle this cause of corruption – You should properly design/structure the Access database with the right information and agile so that it meets your requirements and can be easily modified later. This can be done by keeping the code free from faults. You can refer to this Microsoft’s guide on Database Design Basics.

Cause 5: Virus or Malware Attack

Attack by modern-day computer virus or malware is one of the main causes of corruption in the ACCDB and MDB files. This is also a common reason why your access database keeps getting corrupted.

The viruses that occur these days cause more harm as they contain much-advanced algorithms and codes. Sometimes, the attack can be exceedingly severe, so much so that data cannot be recovered at all. This cause of corruption is one of the most difficult to deal with. This is because it requires extensive research to develop codes that can counteract the virus attack.

Tip to handle this cause of corruption – As a user of Access application, you should install an effective antivirus on your system. Also, the antivirus program should be upgraded to the latest version so that it is efficient enough to handle all new viruses attack and threat.

Cause 6: Concurrent Use of Access Database by Multiple User 

If one MS Access database file is used by more than one user at the same time, it causes the particular database file to become corrupt or damaged. This is because Access databases suffer from user limitation. Plus, its performance regarding efficiency reduces if several users use the database file concurrently.

Tip to handle this cause of corruption – Here, in this case, simultaneous use of Access database file should be avoided by multiple users. To ensure this, provide the database access permission according to user’s requirement.

Cause 7: Frequent Addition or Deletion of Data from MEMO Fields 

If the data is added to or deleted from MEMO fields frequently, it may lead to corruption in the database design or structure, thereby, leading to Access database corruption.

Tip to handle this cause of corruption – Here, in this case, you should avoid the addition/deletion of data to and from MEMO fields frequently.

Cause 8: Improperly Installed Plug-ins & Weak Network Connectivity

Any interruption caused due to weak network connection and inappropriately or unsupported installed plug-ins may also cause corruption in the Access database.

Tip to handle this cause of corruption – Ensure that a strong and stable network connection is available on the system where you are working on an Access database. Also, avoid installing unsupported or outdated plug-ins from unknown sources.

Cause 9: Access to MS Access Database Having Dissimilar JET Engine

If multiple users accessing same Access database file have unlike JET Engine Service Packs mounted on their system; any discrepancy in the file lock mechanism or data file can corrupt the Access database.

Tip to handle this cause of corruption – Here, users should avoid having an Access database file with different JET Engine Service Packs installed on their respective systems.

Cause 10: Disconnecting from a Database Incorrectly 

Access database corruption is often the result of a user erroneously disconnecting from a database, i.e. when Tables fly around the network frequently.

Tip to handle this cause of corruption – Correctly disconnect from the Access database, if the disconnection is the requirement.

How to Fix Corrupt Microsoft Access Database Successfully?

Now that you know the top 10 causes behind Access database corruption in Windows and tips to avoid them, you should also be aware of the best way to fix such corrupt MS Access database files.

The most effective method is to use third-party Access repair and recovery software that is capable of fixing the corrupt Access database quickly. You can try the demo version of Stellar Repair for Access software that possesses the capability to repair corrupt Access database files in a simple and short process – SelectRepair, and Save.

Key Features of Access Recovery Software

  • It restores all database objects: tables, indexes, queries, deleted records, relations, etc.
  • It supports password-protected modules and forms.
  • It supports MS Access 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2002, and 2000 versions.
  • It is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, 2003 & XP.


As an Access database user, you should be aware of the causes that lead to Access database corruption. By following the tips that we mentioned in this guide, you can prevent most possible situations in Windows that may result in corruption of the Access database. These will also help you prevent any data loss.

However, if this inevitable situation occurs and you fail to open the Access database, use Stellar Repair for Access to fix any corruption issue and recover the Access database files (ACCDB & MDB). This software comes with several advantageous features to fix common Access database errors and restore all objects to a new database file.

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