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How to access MS-Access datatbase remotely

Posted on 2011-02-18
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I want to access an MS-Access database remotely. I'm pretty familiar with the considerations but just thought I'd ask.

I'm assuming the only way is to remote desktop into a PC running the d.b. But Windows XP / Vista / 7 doesn't allow for multiple users, correct ? So is there any Windows option for multiple users ?

Citrix would be a high-end option, as I've seen that work.

A colleague uses HyperOffice and I checked that out and it practically looks like a Windows server, but being on the Web,  MS-Access doesn't work in its natural state.

Any other creative solutions ?
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Question by:Alaska Cowboy
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LVL 85

Assisted Solution

by:Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE ) earned 400 total points
ID: 34928889
In order to do this, you must have a VPN connection to the folder hosting that database, and Access databases do NOT work well across WAN's unless you enjoy a VERY high speed, robust and reliable WAN (and the overwhelming majority of scenarios would not fit that bill).

Terminal Services will work, but you'll have some outlay involved. YOu'll have to purchase and setup a Microsoft Server environment, which can rack up some serious money. You'll then need to implement Terminal Services, which costs you for the CAL's needed.

There's also VNC and the various flavors of that. It can work pretty well, depending on your needs (but it's also a single-user type setup, for the most part).

Of course there's LogMeIn and GoToMyPC, but again, they're limited and often not suitable for what you're after.

http://www.thinsoftinc.com/support_winconxp.aspx is a viable replacment for Terminal Services. I've not used it, but it has been recommended by other Experts whose judgement is well trusted.
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:mslunecka
mslunecka earned 100 total points
ID: 34928901
Do you need several people to be able to access it at once?  If not just get yourself a free account at Dropbox.com and keep your file stored there.  Just make sure you're either using the desktop software to keep the folder synchronized or you're manually re-uploading the file when you're done editing.

That's a cheap-as-free solution, but my honest recommendation is to get away from access as storage mechanism.

Get yourself an MSSQL database and import your access tables into that, and use access as a front-end to point to those tables.  It will require re-writing some of the forms, table links, etc...but long term it's a much better solution.
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LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:bjohnson_MN
bjohnson_MN earned 100 total points
ID: 34928989
I would agree with the top items, although there are some tools available now to publish Access to Sharepoint (I believe).

Further, the VPN solution works well, if your office has quality upload speeds.  You can purchase an inexpensive Firewall with VPN capabilities by Netgear, and Sonic Wall.

LIke I said, it works over VPN, but make sure your upload is sufficient.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Alaska Cowboy
ID: 34928994
LSM, thanks for the tips.

mslunecka, yes, they'll need multiple users. In regards to getting MS-Sql d.b., that doesn't really solve the "remote access" issue, does it ?

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by:Alaska Cowboy
ID: 34929220
bjohnson_MN, thanks as well.
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LVL 59

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by:
Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE) earned 400 total points
ID: 34929350
There's also this as an option for some:

    www.eqldata.com

  Out of all the options, Terminal Services is the best approach overall for a JET based Access app.  It's basically a plug and play situation, with no app changes.

JimD.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Alaska Cowboy
ID: 34929371
JDettman, thanks as well.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Alaska Cowboy
ID: 34930253
LSM, Thinsoft looks like a good solution.

JDettman - also a good, quick solution, thanks.
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LVL 1

Author Closing Comment

by:Alaska Cowboy
ID: 34930261
good options, thanks.
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LVL 85
ID: 34930621
Just to be clear: VPN has never been advocated as a reliable method to remotely work with Access. While some may get away with it, nearly every developer I know of (as well as the Access team) does not advocate this method of using an Access database. Unless you enjoy a VERY wide, fast and STABLE pipe between the endpoints, you'll end up with (a) unhappy users, (b) constant data corruption of (c) a lot of both.

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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Alaska Cowboy
ID: 34930665
LSM, ok, thanks for the clarification. This is a small business so VPN is out of their (and my) league.

I like the Thinsoft option as well eql-data.
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LVL 85
ID: 34932702
If you do use EQLData, please report back here and let us know what you think of it. We've seen it around a bit, but so far I've not heard back from anyone whose actually used the service. Seems like a good idea, but it'd be nice to have some firsthand experience.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Alaska Cowboy
ID: 34932708
LSM, ok, will let you know if I try it, need to talk to my client first.
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LVL 59
ID: 34932909
<<If you do use EQLData, please report back here and let us know what you think of it. We've seen it around a bit, but so far I've not heard back from anyone whose actually used the service. Seems like a good idea, but it'd be nice to have some firsthand experience. >>

  Ditto here.  I should also add that I have no connection with them what so ever and have no experience with them.  Make sure that it works and works well for you.

JimD.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Alaska Cowboy
ID: 34933349
JimD, ok disclaimer noted so will proceed carefully.
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