Repair a read only database


Sometimes a Capable 21C database can become so badly damaged that a compact and repair will not repair it.  If this is the case, follow the instructions in this knowledgebase article.

Underlying challenge

Whilst Microsoft Access includes a Compact and Repair function, this feature cannot repair all types of damage to a database file.  Note that the steps to repair this kind of damage are slightly more complicated, and assume a level of expertise higher than that required for most Capable Software knowledgebase articles.


To repair the database:

  1. Open the database using Microsoft Access.
  2. Note that one of the two possible messages from Microsoft Access indicate that the damage can be repaired by this procedure.  These messages are, a) Database file is Read-Only, and b) Choose whether to Convert or Open the database.  The usual warning messages about being unable to change database objects, or blocking unsafe expressions are not indicators of this kind of damage.
  3. Choose the option to Convert the database.
  4. When prompted, save the converted database as DB1.MDB in the same folder as the original database.
  5. Note that Microsoft Access may produce a number of 'Database is Read Only' errors whilst converting the database.  This is normal.  When Microsoft Access has completed its attempt to convert the database, it will open the database window.  Do NOT close Microsoft Access at this point.
  6. Go to Tools|Database Utilities|Convert|Convert to Microsoft Access 2002-2003
  7. When prompted, save the converted database as DB2.MDB.
  8. When the conversion process finishes, close Microsoft Access.
  9. Rename the original Capable.MDB to Damaged.MDB.
  10. Rename the new DB2.MDB to Capable.MDB.
  11. The interim DB1.MDB can be safely deleted.

Detailed Information

Capable Software Pty Ltd recommends moving the Damaged.MDB file to a different folder to reduce backup size.

This knowledge resource is designed for use on a Windows (tm) XP system operating at a screen resolution of 1024x768 or better. Windows Media Player must be installed for this training resource to operate correctly.

Copyright 2008 Capable Software Pty Ltd

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