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Read Raw ACCDB

Posted on 2011-03-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have written a VB.net program that tears down and analyses an ACCDB by using the MS routines.
My question is:
Is it possible to read the ACCDB as a raw input file and analyze it that way.
By parsing or whatever.
I know that Access has a routine that reads all the attributes of the DB and reports them and I'd like to know how it does that.

Thank you for your input.

Jerry
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Question by:Donna Kainer
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6 Comments
 
LVL 57
ID: 35110963
Jerry,

  Possible?  Certainly yes.  Easy no?

  No because the JET/ACE database structure has never been fully documented.  Obviosuly all  the companies out there offering recovery services have mangaed to figure it out, so it is doable.

  But I would suspect that its taken them hundreds of man-hours to do that.

JimD.
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LVL 74

Assisted Solution

by:Jeffrey Coachman
Jeffrey Coachman earned 50 total points
ID: 35112580
<Is it possible to read the ACCDB as a raw input file and analyze it that way>
Depends on what you mean by "Analyze"
;-)

You can certainly open any raw Accdb file in notepad and use: Edit-->Find to search for certain words.

But to extract anything meaningful from this format without explicit consent would be considered borderline "Hacking"

JeffCoachman
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

by:Bitsqueezer
Bitsqueezer earned 75 total points
ID: 35116686
Hi,

the question is: What are you missing? The Microsoft libraries offers you access to anything you want using the Interoperability libraries, a start is here:

Creating Managed Add-ins for Access 2007

So why should one try to identify anything on binary base? This would be a horrible job and I don't think it will be successful. Maybe there's not everything documented using the standard methods, but I think with a little bit experimenting it should be possible to find out all the properties you need (not with the binary data, of course) using the Interop methods.

Cheers,

Christian
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Author Comment

by:Donna Kainer
ID: 35127794
I was hoping to find whether somebody has figured out the ACCDB structure.  Hacking is not my purpose.
My curent routine uses the MS Routines to loop thru all Tables, Forms, Modules, etc and extracts relevant properties and code.  But this takes time.  I was hoping a more direct approach would be quicker.  Maybe I'm shooting for the moon.
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LVL 57

Accepted Solution

by:
Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE) earned 125 total points
ID: 35127858
<<I was hoping to find whether somebody has figured out the ACCDB structure. >>

  Not that anyone has shared.  There was an effort a number of years ago to figure out the structure, but it was far from complete and it only covered JET.  The new ACE format didn't exist back then.


<<My curent routine uses the MS Routines to loop thru all Tables, Forms, Modules, etc and extracts relevant properties and code.  But this takes time.  I was hoping a more direct approach would be quicker.>>

  Well I don't see how you are going to achieve that quicker by doing it yourself.  It's still going to take time to go through a DB structure whether you do it or Microsoft does.   DAO's been around a long time, so I doubt there is anything in it that's not optimized at this point.

  Maybe you could make some gains, but I'd highly doubt they'd be drastic ones.

  And one other thing; your talking about more then just the JET/ACE DB structure.  Access objects are stored as BLOB fields in JET, so you'd need to figure out their interal structures as well.

<<Maybe I'm shooting for the moon. >>

  Honestly you are.  Just use DAO.

JimD.

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Author Closing Comment

by:Donna Kainer
ID: 35130567
All three were helpful and helped me to leave things as they are.  I always wondered whether it was possible to do this and now I know it is, but the time to figure it out would not be worth it.

Thank you
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