Runtime version of Access 2010 with a split database?

Posted on 2014-04-04
Last Modified: 2014-04-06
Is it possible to run an Access 2010 database on a computer that doesn't have Access installed?  How do you do it?

The database will be a split Access database with the back-end file on a server and the front-end on three computers.

I assume the server has to have Access 2010 installed, correct?
Question by:SteveL13
LVL 57

Accepted Solution

Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE) earned 167 total points
ID: 39978420
<<Is it possible to run an Access 2010 database on a computer that doesn't have Access installed?  How do you do it?>>

 No and yes; you install the "runtime" version, which is nothing more then the full version with all the design features disabled.  Either the full or runtime version must be installed.  You cannot simply hand someone a DB file and be able to run it.  The runtime version is free from A2007 and up and available for download on Microsoft's web site.

You can simulate the runtime version for testing with the full version by starting it with the /runtime switch, or naming your DB with *.accdr

<<I assume the server has to have Access 2010 installed, correct? >>

 No.  With JET DB's, the server only acts as a file share.  All database processing is carried out client side.


Author Comment

ID: 39978515
So just so I'm clear...

I would install the B/E file on the server.

I would install the F/E on each client computer.

I would install the runtime file on each client computer.

But how do I link the tables using a runtime version?  Or do I have to load one copy of the full Access 2010 on one client computer for the linking process?

LVL 35

Assisted Solution

PatHartman earned 167 total points
ID: 39978604
Unless you will need to have the users relink the BE on their own initiative, you will need to link the BE before you distribute the FE.  The best method is to use the UNC name when you link.  That will avoid drive mapping issues if the users don't all have the same drive mappings.


If the users need the ability to relink, you will need to create a form to help them or a button that opens the built in Linked Tables Manager dialog.  I prefer option 1.  If you need a sample, search for the JStreet linker.  It is a free download and you can modify it to suit your situation.

PS - Access does NOT need to be installed on the server.  It only needs to be installed on the computer where you are running the application.   No part of the application runs on the server.  It is all handled on the local computer.

The Runtime is a free download available from MS.  When operating under the runtime, you loose all design options and most ribbons.  You also loose the right click menu so if you are dependent on that for sorting or searching, you will need to add the right-click menu back programmatically.  Essentially with the runtime, the users get only what you give them although it is smart enough to give you the print menu when a report is open.
LVL 57
ID: 39978626
Yup, Yup, and Yup.

<<But how do I link the tables using a runtime version?  Or do I have to load one copy of the full Access 2010 on one client computer for the linking process?>>

  You need to build re-linking capability into your application.  This is not hard and there is code floating around to do that.

 Typically you have an app start up, check a table, and if it fails, prompt the user for the location of the BE, then refresh all links.  If they don't provide it, you quit the app.

  Your going to find there are many things you need to do and will work differently under the run-time.  

 So before going further, make sure:

1. You read:

Basics for Building Access 2007 Runtime-Based Solutions

2. You thoroughly test your app using the full version, but start Access with the run-time switch or if your using the new ACE format (*.accdb), renaming a copy to .accdr


Assisted Solution

by:Armen Stein - Microsoft Access MVP since 2006
Armen Stein - Microsoft Access MVP since 2006 earned 166 total points
ID: 39980039
Pat, thanks for the shout out for our J Street Access Relinker.

Hi SteveL13,

As Pat mentioned, you're welcome to use our free J Street Access Relinker on our J Street Downloads page.  It's a lot nicer than the Linked Table Manager, and works fine with the Access runtime.

It's some code that you simply copy into your front-end application.  It handles multiple Access back-end databases, ignores non-Access tables, and can automatically and silently relink to back-end databases in the same folder as the application (handy for work databases or single-user scenarios).  There's a ReadMe table with instructions.

Armen Stein

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