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> Unrecognized Database Format 2013 To 2010 (2007), Any Version    
post Nov 14 2017, 11:59 AM

Posts: 14
Joined: 4-January 16

Hello All,

Any advice and opinions much appreciated

I have a customer with an old database. He is running Access 2007.

I have been making changes using Access 2013 to modernise the screens and make the application navigation intuitive and easier to use.

For the last few months all has been going well. I change the front-end and all works fine. The last release I sent was November 6 2017.

I sent an update today (14 November) and the user is getting a dialog box "Unrecognised database format C:\Filepath\Filename.accdb" when they try and open the frontend.

The updates in the latest release are not complicated - mainly VBA and queries. The structure of the backend data database has not changed in the past week.

I have tried Compact and Repair - no luck.

The user has emailed the working November 6 frontend database to me and I can open it (in Access 2013) send it back to him and he can still open it in Access 2007.

This suggests to me I have changed "something" in the last week. Does anyone have any suggestions about the main things I should be looking out for?

I have a workaround which is to install Access 2013 runtime but I'm reluctant to take this option in case I cause any problems with other operational databases. As I am sure will be familiar to many of you, the databases are critical to the business but the powers that be are reluctant to upgrade to a more recent release of Office/Access.

Thanks for reading, all feedback welcome.

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Jeff B.
post Nov 14 2017, 12:36 PM

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From: Pacific NorthWet


Have you already tried "saving as" an earlier version?


Jeff Boyce
Microsoft Access MVP (2002-2015)

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post Nov 14 2017, 01:22 PM

Posts: 3,150
Joined: 19-October 10

Backwards compatibility is a big lie. I found out with 2007 and 2010, the new layout options in 2010 causes it to be read as 'corrupted' in 2007, whats worse once you added the new options to a form in 2010 (it was empty cells causing the issue) they could not be removed, even if you deleted every object on the form the markers remained and stopped it loading. I was only able to diagnose and fix by exporting to a text file and reading line by line, deleting the extra info and re-importing.

There will be something like this in 2013, you added it somehow even if it seems like you haven't, its unlikely to be VBA and queries, I suggest exporting all the objects as text in the working and non working versions and then using a compare tool looking for differences. Hopefully you'll spot something.

Basically you need to dev in the version to be used. You should tell your user to upgrade, 2007 is out of support. Get runtime for free.
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post Nov 14 2017, 01:26 PM

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You simply can't expect Access to be forwards compatible, ie expect 2007 to understand 2010+. Development is always to be done using the oldest version that will ever be used to run the database. So if they are using 2007, even though others have 2013, 2016, ... they MUST do all development in 2007. Your other option as you are aware is to install a later runtime version to ensure everyone is running the exact same version.

There is an issue with the latest update, but for 2016 (I don't think it impacted 2013, but I could be wrong).

@JonSmith - What you are describing is forwards compatibility, not backwards compatibility, and no software can see into the future and promise forwards compatibility, nor does Access make any such assertions. Now, for the inverse, backwards compatibility, say Access 2013 opening an Access 2007 database, that Access does remarkably well!

Daniel Pineault (2010-2017 Microsoft MVP)
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post Nov 14 2017, 02:22 PM

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From: Newcastle, WA

One more voice here.

I have found that, even if forms render in a different version (2010 vs 2007), there can be subtle differences in fonts and background colors in the two. It's a pain, but one should be disciplined enough to start the right version every time before even touching the accdb.

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post Nov 14 2017, 06:53 PM

Posts: 284
Joined: 15-January 17
From: Somerset UK

Agree with all the above comments. A2007 is an outdated product & should be replaced.

I develop in A2010 but have made various & often futile attempts to modify databases for users of A2007.
As I never use any of the 'new' datatypes like attachment fields & attachment fields it should in THEORY be easy.
However, all sorts of unexpected things fail including form layouts, If ... else..End if statements in autoexec macros and many more.

It is a pity that although you can save an accdb database as both 2000 and 2002/3 MDB versions in Access 2010, you can't save as 2007 ACCDB.
Now its out of support, you never will be able to do so

One thing that I don't think anyone has mentioned is to check the references in case any are marked as MISSING.

Failing all else, consider trying the following:
DECOMPILE the database to remove all compilation code done in A2013.
Then get your user to open in A2007 (possibly holding the shift key down) & RECOMPILE it in that version.
I would be interested to know if that works
This post has been edited by ridders: Nov 14 2017, 06:53 PM


Access 2010 32-bit, Access 2016 32-bit & 64-bit, SQL Server Express 2014, Windows 10, Website, email
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post Nov 15 2017, 02:37 AM

Posts: 14
Joined: 4-January 16

Many thanks for all of your replies.

I had the feeling I was pushing my luck using 2013 where the user had 2007. I "got away with it" for a long time, right up to the point when I didn't. I'm not going to go through the decompile and compare process as the database has so many objects.

So here's the plan...

One of the PCs on their network has runtime version of 2013. I'm going to see if my database runs as expected on that PC. It should do but we'll see.

If all is OK then Ill arrange for the user to get an upgrade to Access 2013/2016. The runtime won't be suitable for this particular user which is a shame, so I'll need to revisit what the upgrade options are which I posted about some time last year. I'll also need to check all the legacy databases run properly on an up to date version of Access.

Thanks again for your help,


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post Nov 15 2017, 03:29 AM

Posts: 3,150
Joined: 19-October 10

@JonSmith - What you are describing is forwards compatibility, not backwards compatibility, and no software can see into the future and promise forwards compatibility, nor does Access make any such assertions. Now, for the inverse, backwards compatibility, say Access 2013 opening an Access 2007 database, that Access does remarkably well!

Fair point, I was referring to forwards compatibility then and got my directions mixed up and you are quite right, going 'backwards' MS Office does a good job.
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