Access 2002: Deleted Record Recovery


Have an Access database (I do not manage the DB, but have been called in to provide assistance) containing 2 tables: 1 table is a lookup table and the other is a table in which employees enter customer information). Apparently, last night, someone deleted approximately 18K records from the main data entry table. The database was subsequently closed, but has not, as far as I know, been compacted and repaired since the incident.

Before anyone says "Revert to a backup", I already tried this: sadly, no backup has been done on the file or the server on which the file resides for about 2 months (I know, I was shocked too). We have a file that's a couple of months old, but to revert back to it would mean losing approximately 10,000 records - not good.

So, thought I would drop a note here and see if anyone has any suggestions on how, if possible, to get these records back. I've seen discussion of some freeware and payware apps that may help, but before investing time and money into any of these, would like to hear some recommendations from the experts here.

Point value is 500 due to time and urgency considerations.

Thanks in advance for any guidance or assistance you may be able to provide.
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Jim P.Commented:
Found at

Question:  A user at work has accidentally erased the contents of an Access MDB. The file size is still as it originally was. Is there *any* way of getting the data back?

Answer: No, not really. Although the space used to store the deleted records remains unchanged, the actual contents of that storage are not just deleted, but duplicated in part. Typically, only about one out of every twenty records is recoverable, for technical reasons. Basically, although the undeleting is easy enough, Access/Jet copy the first deleted record on a page over the remaining deleted records on hat page. Typically there are twenty or more records per page, and hence the 95%+ data loss.

That said, if the table had been deleted, rather than just its records, it would indeed be recoverable. In fact, if all tables had been deleted, they would all be recoverable. But records deleted from a table that is not deleted are indeed toast, or at least predominantly so.

Additional Info: For the above you must visit a data recovery specialist such as are in the When All Else Fails section of the Corrupt MDBs page.

There are several KB articles on this topic however they have several restrictions.

Found: as a recovery service.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorCommented:
As jimpen states, a data recovery specialist is your only option.  You should be able to google for them.  Be prepared to pay at least $300-ish.

It is also important, if readily apparent, that the disk with the missing data is the importanrt object, not the file.  Copying the remaining file will probably not yield the results you want, but it will let you retain the existing remaining data.
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

Just a thought-It might be worthwhile to examine how you determined the records are gone.  Might you have a corrupted field (like a memo field) which is suppressing the display of records?
Painfree888Author Commented:


Compact and repair doesn't seem to work. The file does not seem to be corrupt. What are the telltale signs of corruption that I should be looking out for?
Painfree888Author Commented:

OK, from everything that I've read, it seems there is no reliable way to get the records back. Turns out a month old copy of the DB was found, so they'll revert to that and try to recreate records that are missing.

Jimpen, while it wasn't the answer I was hoping for, your replay *was* the correct answer, so, you get the points. Thanks to all who assisted - it is much appreciated.
Jim P.Commented:
Sorry I couldn't give you a better answer.  And now, while this loss is fresh in their minds, stress backups, backups, backups! :-)

 May all your days get brighter and brighter.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Microsoft Access

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.