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Can I edit a SQL table structure while people are using the database?

Posted on 2014-09-26
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I have an Access front end and a SQL Express back end.  I sometimes need to add new fields to the tables.  I do this in the evening when there is nobody in the database.  Is it possible to add the new fields while people are using the database?  I know I will have to relink the tables for the changes to be seen but I don't want the users to get any errors once I have made the table changes but not refreshed the links yet.
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Question by:egalaw
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Jerry Miller earned 2000 total points
ID: 40346697
I generally don't make structural changes to the tables while users are connected. An ALTER TABLE statement creates a table lock during the duration of the operation. Depending on the size of the table it could take a little time. Read the REMARKS section on this MSDN page:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms190273(v=sql.110).aspx

"ALTER TABLE acquires a schema modify (SCH-M) lock on the table to make sure that no other connections reference even the metadata for the table during the change, except online index operations that require a very short SCH-M lock at the end."
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by:pdebaets
ID: 40346714
On a side note, you can use our free Force Shut Down utility to shut down all copies of your Access application so that back-end or SQL schema changes can be made. then you won't have to wait until evening to do this. More info is at http://peterssoftware.com/fsd.htm
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by:Jerry Miller
ID: 40346730
That's true, if you have a way to get your users out that is a great alternative. I have one web app where I can send a message and get them all out, but the other one is older and I have to wait until off hours for maintenance.
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