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Reverse Access Run-time into an mdb file

Posted on 2011-09-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have assumed responsibility for an old access 97 database. The users have run-time access the database via an exe file. I found a mdb file but it only has tables in it, no forms or reports. The run-time executable must be linked to this mdb because it has the current data tables in it.

I also found some frm and frx files that I assume are the vb code for the forms. It's in a directory called 'Source' that looks like it packages the system. Other folders under 'Source' directory have dll's, msi, etc.

Is there a way to rebuild the mdb file so I can better support the users on this system?
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Question by:mph23
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Expert Comment

by:JVWC
ID: 36534540
You could possibly build a new Front End in Access and link to the same data...
I see you have placed this in the Web Browser zones. are you looking for a web based solution or desktop?

Cheers
JC
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Author Comment

by:mph23
ID: 36534871
oh oh - I didn't mean to put it in the web browser zone.

I don't want to rebuild the front end because they want it exactly like how it is.

thanks
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Expert Comment

by:JVWC
ID: 36534946
OK, so what is it that you want to achieve?

Cheers
JC
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Author Comment

by:mph23
ID: 36535004
Using the frm and other packaging files, can I rebuild the original mdb?
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Expert Comment

by:JVWC
ID: 36535006
To expand on my question...
<Is there a way to rebuild the mdb file so I can better support the users on this system? >
and
<I don't want to rebuild the front end because they want it exactly like how it is.>
Really means that you do not want to change anything...?
Are you asking about moving the data to something like SQL?
Adding reports?

Cheers
JC
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Accepted Solution

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JVWC earned 200 total points
ID: 36535029
OK,
It seems that the MDB is a standalone data store with a VB front end.
You could rebuild the mdb using ACCESS, but I am not sure why you would want to do this if the VB interface will not change.
It would be a simple conversion to a later version of access, but your users would not notice...

Perhaps a move to SQL server is what you are after?

Cheers
JC
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LVL 84
ID: 36535047
If you have a version of VB that is compatible with the one used to build the original FE, then you could possibly rebuild it. A lot would depend on whether you have all the needed files, whether the program uses 3rd party controls/libraries - or even controls/libraries from Microsoft, whether you have the right drivers on your machines, etc etc ... so it would be difficult to say if you could be successful with this.

However, like JVWC, I don't see any problems that you'll have if you convert the database to a newer version, so long as you use the Access 2000 format (which was the default all the way up to Access 2003). If you move to the newer versions of Access, you would have to change references and code in your VB program, and for that you'd have to be able to rebuld that VB frontend.
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Author Comment

by:mph23
ID: 36535119
Sorry, I guess I need to clarify.
I don't want to move to SQL server or any other database.

I was just wondering if I could somehow import the package files (frm, etc.) to rebuild the original access database front end. If I can do that, I can make changes the user may need in the future using Access design view.

Thanks
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Assisted Solution

by:peter57r
peter57r earned 100 total points
ID: 36535183
The 'frm,etc' files are created by VisualBasic (v6 or earlier) - they are nothing to do with Access.
The mdb file is just being used as a data store.

So there is nothing to 'reverse' into Access.

You either use VisualBasic (a suitable old version)  to open the project or you have to develop a brand new front-end.
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Assisted Solution

by:Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE ) earned 200 total points
ID: 36535188
That's what we're telling you: Access doesn't store items in this manner for the Frontend items (like Forms, REports, etc). All Access items are stored in a single file (the .mdb file).

If you're dealing with .frm and .frx files, then almost certainly you're dealing with Visual Basic 4.0/5.0/6.0 or some subset thereof. In order to make changes to those items, you'd need a copy of that program. You cannot import a Visual Basic form into Access. They're incompatible platforms (at least as far as development is concerned).

Often you'll find a .vbp or .sln file in that directory. You can open that with Notepad (DO NOT make any changes to this file), and you can see what version of Visual Basic is being used, along with quite  bit of other information.

In most cases you can use Visual Basic 6.0, which can generally open/convert earlier versions.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mph23
ID: 36535309
Ok, now I understand. Thanks all for clarifying that those files are generated/used by VB6 not when building Access run-time. I will look further into using VB6 to rebuild the front end.
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Expert Comment

by:JVWC
ID: 36535380
FWIW:
You could easily rebuild the same (if not better) frontend in access, as you already have in VB.
It could be a better option than rebuilding the VB project...

Just a thought.

Cheers
JC
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Author Comment

by:mph23
ID: 36535545
Thanks!
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