Creating a stand-alone program

I'm new to MS Access, and I don't even have it on my PC yet.  Someone has told me that they have an Access 2000 program and database, the use of which requires Access 2000 or higher to be installed on the applicable PC.  I can understand that Access would need to be installed to make changes to the program and database structure, but surely not to just use the program for data entry, reports, etc?  I know this kind of thing can be done for VB programs, for example.

1. Is it possible to convert an Access program to be "stand-alone" (ie: one which will run on a PC which doesn't have MS Access installed on it)?
2. What is such a stand-alone Access program called?  (eg: is it called a "stand-alone Access application" or what?)
3. What is the process called for converting it to be stand-alone?
4. Would the user of the stand-alone program be able to get at all the usual Access menus, to do record deletes, etc?
5. Can I make ANY or my Access programs stand-alone?
6. Can I use ANY version of MS Access to make a stand-alone program?
7. How do I convert an Access program to be stand-alone?  (Instructions for 1 version of Access should be fine.  Please specify the version you're talking about  If it's more efficient to point me to some web page or specific section in a specific Access manual, feel free, but a brief description could be good, too).

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Hi tel2,

  - No compilations are available: Developers have the possibility to distribute
    databases with a run-time version for the purpose of lettin non-Access licensed
    user use an Access Db.

  - The run-time applications provide full functionality for any Db, - the difference
    is the lack of design facilities.

Kind regards,
tel2Author Commented:
Thanks for that, Sven,

With that in mind, and expanding my question 7...
How can developers distribute databases with run-time version?  Is it a menu option in Access?  Where exactly is the option?  Any idea how much disk space the run-time version takes?

tel2Author Commented:
PS: Also...
Can I just download this run-time version from somewhere and use it on someone else's Access database?
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A developer would buy the Microsoft Office Develoopers version, of course. I haven't had one of those since version 2.0, when I stopped developing databases for general commercial purposes, so I can't tell you exactly what tools are available.

But mainly it's based on the MS Installer application, which will make an installation package of the database and the run-time environment. Additional components are selectable of cource, in case some DLL or other stuff needs to be included in the distribution.

The minimum Access 2000 Runtime is 33 mb packed, and is available from Microsoft for free download.

As for the licence rules and implications of using this as an end-user: I am not an attorney of law and would not try to interprete the cryptic rules which are the current practice of any SW vendor, - I must refer you to Microsofts site on this question.

tel2Author Commented:
Thanks Sven,

Sounds as if, whenever someone wants to use (but not redesign) an Access database which someone else has set up, all they have to do is download and install the art2kmin.exe Access runtime program (if they don't already have it), and they're away!

Sound correct?
I'm sorry to sound a disagreeabl note here but even if you can find a download of the Access runtime it is NOT a FREE download.
The license to distribute the Access runtime is part of the Office Developer Tools for A2000 and prior, and is included in the Office XP Developer Edition and is part of Visual Studio Extensions for MSOffice 2003 all of which have to be purchased to obtain the distribution license.  Distribution here includes 'internal' distribution.
The license terms go a bit further in that you cannot distribute JUST the runtime environment; it can only be distributed as part of an application.  

In terms of the question, I would not bother with the runtime if you can possibly avoid it.  It might work like a dream, but I would be very surprised if it did so.  You can spend hours if not days trying to get the same installation to work on different machines unless they are all built to exactly the same config.  And your app has to be built to work specifically with the runtime because of the lack of menus and error handling that comes with runtime operation.



thanks for clearing up that, - your sentiments about run-time problems are exactly mine, and the reason why I dropped it as an option in the past.

Peter, Sven sorry but I disagree with your sentiments on the Access Runtime. The Runtime option restricts what users can do and the developer has to ensure the database is properly rounded, error handling etc but that is the part the developer is getting paid for.

Pay a professional developer to handle all the runtime options and you can save your money by not having to install the full versions of access on all machines. Oh and not to forget that you have to pay for the license of course. 1 Access license for each PC installed on. The figures soon clock up when you are taking about occasional users across a large organisation.

Cheers, Andrew

I have no problem in accepting your disagreement, - I guess it's all down to something business related, -probably your clients are bigger than mine ;-)

I'd love to have clients who'd accept that would I have the full control of everything, and accept that the users can't make a personal query without contacting me, but that's not my situation. My typical client require me to create their platform, but to leave it open for them to maintain and develop. And I won't even write "unfortunately" in any of those sentences. Even before I come along, the vast majority of my clients provide the full Office package to all users (but then again: I have never serviced 500+ empl. sized companies).

As I mentioned, I actually started out supplying applications based on the runtime version, but the license argument never carried any weight, - my clients typically only request an Access Db for supportive applications, and in such situations they demand a high degree of freedom for in-house development.

Don't get me wrong: I DO believe in managed systems, - problem is that at the small and medium sized companies I encounter, even Boards and CEO's are negative towards the correct way of managing systems of any kind.

My responsibility is to advice on the correct solution, and I still do. But my clients don't want the correct solution. Iguess it's just like the fact that most countries I know have absolute speed-limits on highways, but still allow all cars to be able to break that limit at will, - people just demand the right to make a mess ;-)  (or at least they do here in Denmark,  can't speak for your region of course).

tel2Author Commented:
Thanks to all for your comments so far.

How do you know Access run-time it is NOT a FREE download?

Yes, I can find it on a site, for download.  It's one of Microsoft's download pages:

Before finding it at Microsoft, I found a file by the same name and size elsewhere, downloaded and installed it, and during the install it didn't even present a license agreement for me to agree to.
I haven't worked out if it's free or not (I haven't read anything to the contrary yet), but traditionally, I thought that Microsoft's downloads were free (eg: Viewers, patches, etc).


8. Do you know of a Microsoft URL which would indicate Access run-time is not free?

9. If it's free...
a) What stops someone from using the Professional (not Developers) version of Access, creating an application, and giving it to someone who has installed the run-time engine?
b) What value does the Developement version add in this situation

How do you know Access run-time it is NOT a FREE download?;en-us;140212

As a further comment, the 'AccessRuntime- Alternative version ' was made available by MS following concerns about the 'natural' size of the runtime package created by A2000 which ran to some 160mb.
Bear in mind that prior to Office2000, the Access runtime package was installable via floppy disk.

MS created a version without some of the components that they initially regarded as 'essential', primarily Internet Explorer.
It is unfortunate in my view that the download page doesn't put the runtime in context and indicate licensing requirements.


Sven, I guess I have been fortunate that most of the companies I haved worked with do not want their business people to hack at the system and if they do I still issue my system as a secured RUNTIME system but allow them a Query Database that allows them to create their own object but akllows me to do new releases without having to worry about the 7 billion objects they have created. They are also aware that if the structure of the tables change then they are responsible for the Query Database not me.

Cheers, Andrew
as I mentioned earlier, I find the licence problem concerning the run-time to be a case for some lawyer. The developer gains the right to >distribute< the run-time, but what are the rules for using it ?

I would tend to agree that it is related to other 'run-timers' like Word-viewer, but again: I cannot claim to have certain knowledge of this.

The real problem is:
1. a simple dbs developed in a standard Access version can often make do with the run-time
2. the run-time is available for free download from MS

3. Given that 1 & 2 is true, can you then do development in a standard environment and sell your database to a client with the instruction to download the run-time, relieving the client of the need to buy an Access license ? (I know it's not much the developer wolud save in money, - just thinking theoretically)


 > if the structure of the tables change then they are responsible for the Query Database

... is a standard clause (and expressed in a quite elaborate way) in any of my business agreements, of course.

I'm just happy+envious to hear of someone who's got such a good grip on the clients ;-)

Kind regards,
OK as far as the runtime goes, the Access 2000 runtime is covered by the Office 2000 Developer License agreement that you sign up to when installing Office 2000 Developer there it states that you can distribute royalty free your application with Access 2000 Runtime. Therefore the copy you get with Office 2000 Developer is covered by a Software License Agreement and is restricted.

As far as the version that you can download then I suspect it has a license agreement on it to state that it is only to be used if covered by an Office 2000 (or XP) Developer License,  I am in the process of checking this myself now.

Cheers, Andrew
OK there were no license agreement to accept when installing the Runtime so i went back to check the web page the download is on and the More Information option fails to load the page and perhaps MS thought it was on there.

I would conclude that you need to be covered by a license agreement or get in writing from MS that you are allowed to use it as you wish to.

Cheers, Andrew

I hate diving into legal matters, but to cut a long thread short: MS did not intend for any others than owners of the Developer Edition to download the minimal run-time:

   If you have a licensed copy of Microsoft Office 2000 Developer,
   you can download Access 2000 Run-Time Minimum (Art2kmin.exe).
End quote>

The fact that it is openly available for download without any warnings of license requirements is covered by the fact that the downloaded package contain a EULA-file (OEMEULA.TXT) stating MS standard license rules.

I hope this clears things up.

Fortsat god arbejdslyst,

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tel2Author Commented:
Thanks for the help, guys.  Much appreciated.

PS: Sven, what does "Fortsat god arbejdslyst" mean?

it means something like "Have a nice day at work!"


tel2Author Commented:
Thanks Sven.  I'm trying to, but my contract finished on 30/11/03, so I might have to settle for having a nice break from work.
I was hoping that "god" might have meant "God".
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