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Eliminating 'Unrecognized database format' error

by larendaniel

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An MDB file is associated with Microsoft Access, a database management system provided by Microsoft. However, the introduction of Access 2007 brings a new file format known as ACCDB. An MDB file is quite prone to corruption problems. It can become corrupt due to varied reasons (both software and hardware) including data storage device failure, faulty networking device, incorrect file system recovery write operation abort and others. In typical MDB corruption scenarios, Access behaves strangely and might throw various error messages. This particular article demystifies one of the frequently-faced error messages and makes you familiar with the possible causes and MDB repair strategies to be followed.

Consider a situation, wherein, you have an important Access 2003 database. When you make an attempt to mount it, you may fail and receive the following error message:

Unrecognized database format 'filename.mdb'

The error code for the above message is 3343.

Microsoft Access reports the above error message if it is unable to read database definition page. To elaborate, an MDB file comprises of several pages with a fixed size. The database definition page is the first page and records vital database definitions.

If you have an MDB file with a damaged page structure, then Access will not be able to read or recognize the pages and throw the above error message.  In a nutshell, in absence of a valid page structure, Access will not be able to recognize an MDB file and you would encounter an error.

The error message can be eliminated if you fix the corrupt MDB file and its page structure by employing effective MDB file repair strategies. Here is what you can do:

•Compact and Repair: This inbuilt utility ensures that your database file doesn't overgrow in size and remain free of errors.
•Backup: You can use a backup copy of the database to get rid off the error message surfacing due to corruption.
•Third-party software: If no reliable or valid backup is available, you must download and use a professional MDB repair application. Such tools eliminate all corruption errors and help you recover a usable Access database file.

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