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10 data recovery tools for Microsoft Access files

Microsoft Access data recovery and repair tools for accdb and mdb files

AccessFIX, Stellar, Recovery for Access, Recovery Toolbox, SysInfoTools, Kernel, Systools, EaseUS, Remo y Yodot.

David Cimadevilla

Mar 10, 2020

Comparison of data recovery utilities for Microsoft Access accdb and mdb files. In-depth analysis with tests, feature charts, screenshots and videos.

Here, I will evaluate 10 data recovery software tools. They can all be used to repair or recover data from damaged Microsoft Access files. I will perform several tests to assess their capabilities.

The reason all these utilities exist is that the tool integrated in Microsoft Access, Compact and Repair Database, does not usually perform well when dealing with damaged files.

File extension

  • .accdb (or .accde): databases created with Microsoft Access 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 or 2019.
  • .mdb (or .mde): databases created with Access 95, 98, 2000, 2002 or 2003.

The tools

Id

Tool

Version

Recovers

AccessFIX

AccessFIX

5.126

Tables, queries, forms, reports, macros, Visual Basic, deleted records, deleted tables, deleted forms, deleted reports, deleted Visual Basic, tables without a definition and orphan objects.

Stellar

Stellar Repair for Access

6.2

tables, queries, forms, reports, macros, Visual Basic and deleted records.

Recovery

Recovery for Access

3.2

Tables and queries.

Toolbox

Recovery Toolbox for Access

2.2

Tables and queries.

SysInfo

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair

5.0

Tables, queries and deleted records (partially).

Kernel

Kernel for Access

11.02

Tables.

SysTools

Systools Access Recovery

3.3

Tables.

EaseUS

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

12.9.1

Generic file undelete.

Remo

Remo Recover

5.0

Generic file undelete.

Yodot

Yodot Recovery Software

3.0

Generic file undelete.

Data recovery tools for Microsoft Access files. I've added an Id to make it easier to identify the utilities.

Do they all recover the same data?

No they do not. The utilities need to extract the data from a corrupt file. To do so, they have to understand its internal binary structure and decode every piece of it. Each application is able to decode only some of those pieces. What the tool cannot read will not be in the repaired file.

Video of the utilities

These 10 videos give you an idea of the general look of each application.

The videos are very long. If you prefer, below you have the results broken down into feature tables and screenshots.

AccessFIX 5.126. Recovers tables, queries, forms, reports, macros, Visual Basic, deleted records, tables without a definition, deleted tables, deleted forms, deleted reports, deleted Visual Basic and orphan objects.

AccessFIX

Soundless video

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. Recovers tables, queries, forms, reports, macros, Visual Basic and deleted records.

Stellar Repair for Access

Soundless video

Recovery for Access 3.2. Recovers tables and queries.

Recovery for Access

Soundless video

Recovery Toolbox for Access 2.2. Recovers tables, queries and deleted records (not working).

Recovery Toolbox for Access

Soundless video

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair 5.0. Recovers tables, queries and deleted records (partially).

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair

Soundless video

Kernel for Access 11.02. Recovers tables.

Kernel for Access

Soundless video

Systools Access Recovery 3.3. Recovers tables.

Systools Access Recovery

Soundless video

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard 12.9.1. Generic file undelete.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Soundless video

Remo Recover 5.0. Generic file undelete.

Remo Recover

Soundless video

Yodot Recovery Software 3.0. Generic file undelete.

Yodot Recovery Software

Soundless video

10 Utilities to recover data from Microsoft Access. There is one video per application in which I recover a database with all kinds of elements. You can use the side arrows to change tools.You can slide to change tools.

The tests

I have performed specific tests in 4 categories, I've taken screenshots and videos and prepared tables with the results.

For AccessFIX and Stellar, for which I have a license, I value the results over the final recovered file. For the rest, I have followed the preview of the tools.

Index of this page:

1. Recoverable objects

Besides tables, what other objects are recovered?

Archivo borrado

Tablas

Tablas enlazadas

Consultas

Formularios

Informes

Macros

Visual basic

AccessFIX

-

Stellar

-

Recovery

-

-

-

-

-

-

Toolbox

-

-

-

-

-

-

SysInfo

-

-

-

-

-

-

Kernel

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

SysTools

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

EaseUS

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Remo

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Yodot

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Objects recovered by each tool. In this test, I recover database.accdb, which is a modified version of the Microsof Access sample database Northwind.accdb, and check which objects are shown in the preview. Please contact me if you think any of the data is incorrect.

Undelete tools

Three of the tools, EaseUS, Remo and Yodot, work with disks rather than files.

The developers of these three utilities publish specific web pages about recovering data from Microsoft Access. What they actually mean that they undelete accdb or mdb files from the hard drive.

As none of them recognize the Microsoft Access binary format, I have not included them in the following categories of this comparison, since:

  • They can't repair a damaged database.
  • They can't recover records, tables or other objects from Microsoft Access.
  • They can't undelete records, tables or objects.

Recoverable Objects

I have recovered the same test file, database.accdb, with each utility. The database contains all kinds of objects, but each application only recovers some of them:

AccessFIX 5.126. Recovers tables, queries, forms, reports, macros and Visual Basic.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. Recovers tables, queries, forms, reports, macros and Visual Basic.

Recovery for Access 3.2. Recovers tables and queries.

Recovery Toolbox for Access 2.2. Recovers tables and queries.

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair 5.0. Recovers tables and queries.

Kernel for Access 11.02. Recovers tables.

Systools Access Recovery 3.3. Recovers tables.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard 12.9.1. Generic file undelete.

Remo Recover 5.0. Generic file undelete.

Yodot Recovery Software 3.0. Generic file undelete.

Recoverable objects. These 10 images show which objects can be recovered by each tool.

False positives in objects

This test affects forms, reports, Macros and Visual Basic. I have reproduced a common case of corruption by deleting, at a binary level, the data of a form in an accdb file, but I have left the entry in the object index intact.

  • AccessFIX marks false positives like this with a warning icon.
  • Stellar cannot distinguish a damaged object from a correct one.
  • The rest of the tools don't even recover these types of objects.

AccessFIX 5.126. A warning icon indicates that the form is damaged. The summary shows that it contains zero objects, but that the Visual Basic is still recoverable.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. There are no warnings or information on the form other than the name. You cannot distinguish a damaged object from one in good condition.

False positives. This is how the tools preview a form without data. Do they warn that it is damaged?

2. Table quality

What details are preserved in the recovered file?

All the applications analysed follow a similar recovery procedure. They first read/recover valid data and then save it to a clean file.

This means that, after the recovery process, data that the application cannot read will be lost. Depending on the tool, these are: Indexes, Table relationships, Calculated fields, Field properties, such as Default value, Date or number format, Comments or Validation rules. Regarding the content, Unicode texts (not western and other symbols) and some field types such as Attachment or Decimal (variable precision numerical) may be missing.

Field content

Field properties

Calculated fields

Attachment fields

Decimal fields

Unicode texts

Indexes

Table relationships

AccessFIX

Stellar

-

-

-

Recovery

-

-

-

-

-

-

Toolbox

-

-

-

-

SysInfo

-

-

-

Kernel

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

SysTools

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Characteristics preserved in the tables. In this test, I analyze the tables and fields recovered by each application. In the case of AccessFIX and Stellar, for which I have a license, the results have been verified against the recovered file. For the rest, I only include a feature if there is detailed information about it in the preview. Please contact me if you think any of the data is incorrect.

Field properties

The field properties correspond to the details that you can edit in the Table design view. Each field type has different specific properties.

Some field properties: date format, number format, default value, comments, validation rules, etc.

AccessFIX 5.126. All original properties are displayed: default value, validation rule, validation text, format, etc.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. ? There is no information about the properties.

Recovery for Access 3.2. ? There is no information about the properties.

Recovery Toolbox for Access 2.2. ? There is no information about the properties.

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair 5.0. ? There is no information about the properties.

Kernel for Access 11.02. ? There is no information about the properties.

Systools Access Recovery 3.3. ? There is no information about the properties.

Preview. This is what the field properties look like in each utility.

Microsoft Access 2019. Original field properties.

AccessFIX 5.126. The original properties are preserved.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. The original properties are preserved.

Recovered file. Are the properties in the recovered file?

Calculated fields

Its value is obtained by calculating the formula of the property Expression from the value of other fields in the record.

AccessFIX 5.126. The formula for the calculated field is shown in the overview.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. ? The formula is not indicated.

Recovery for Access 3.2. The field is shown as type Double and the formula is not displayed. .

Recovery Toolbox for Access 2.2. The field is shown as type Double and the formula is not displayed. .

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair 5.0. ? No se indica el tipo de campo ni la fórmula. .

Kernel for Access 11.02. ? No se indica el tipo de campo ni la fórmula. .

Systools Access Recovery 3.3. ? No se indica el tipo de campo ni la fórmula. .

Preview. This is how a calculated field is displayed in each tool.

Microsoft Access 2019. Field of type Calculated with its formula.

AccessFIX 5.126. The field type and formula are preserved.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. The type changes to Number and the formula is lost.

Recovered file. Are the calculated fields saved correctly?

Attachment fields

A field of type Attachment may contain one or more files, including their names and data. This type of field is complex and difficult to decode. Let's see how each tool works with them.

AccessFIX 5.126. A number in parentheses indicates the number of files contained. When you click on it, the names of the files are displayed.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. ? There is no specific information about the content of the field.

Recovery for Access 3.2. The Attachments field is missing, which should go after Notes.

Recovery Toolbox for Access 2.2. The type is incorrectly indicated as Binary.

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair 5.0. ? There is no specific information about the content of the field.

Kernel for Access 11.02. ? There is no specific information about the content of the field.

Systools Access Recovery 3.3. ? There is no specific information about the content of the field.

Preview. This is what an Attachment type field looks like in each application:

Microsoft Access 2019. The Attachments field contains 5 files in the selected record.

AccessFIX 5.126. The 5 files in the Attachments field are recovered.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. The Customers table is gone! In all tests, whenever there is such a field, the whole table disappears.

Recovered file. Are the fields of type Attachment recovered?

Decimal fields

A numeric field of size Decimal allows us to indicate how many digits are stored in the field, up to a maximum of 28.

AccessFIX 5.126. The type and value are the same as in the original.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. Badly read; the values do not match the originals.

Recovery for Access 3.2. Badly read; the values do not match the originals.

Recovery Toolbox for Access 2.2. The last few decimals are missing.

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair 5.0. The values match the original.

Kernel for Access 11.02. Badly read; the values do not match the originals.

Systools Access Recovery 3.3. Badly read; the values do not match the originals.

Preview. This is what the Decimal fields look like in each utility:

Microsoft Access 2019. field values.

Microsoft Access 2019. View Table design. Numerical field Decimal with 25 digits of precision.

AccessFIX 5.126. The field values are the same as the originals.

AccessFIX 5.126. View Table design. The type and precision settings are preserved.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. The values have been incorrectly decoded.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. View Table design. The field is converted to Double; the last decimal places are lost.

Recovered file. Are the Decimal fields preserved?

Unicode texts

The Unicode characters allow you to represent text from different languages, technical symbols and special characters. In contrast, the traditional ASCII characters can only represent western letters and a limited set of symbols.

AccessFIX 5.126. They are displayed correctly.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. They are displayed correctly.

Recovery for Access 3.2. They are displayed correctly.

Recovery Toolbox for Access 2.2. They are displayed correctly.

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair 5.0. They are displayed correctly.

Kernel for Access 11.02. The Unicode characters are decoded incorrectly.

Systools Access Recovery 3.3. The Unicode characters are decoded incorrectly.

Preview. This is what the Unicode characters look like in each utility: These characters allow you to represent non-western characters, currencies and other symbols.

Microsoft Access 2019. Unicode characters in the name of a table and in the content of a field.

AccessFIX 5.126. The Unicode characters are preserved.

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. The Unicode characters are preserved.

Recovered file. Are the Unicode characters saved correctly?

3. Undelete

How do the tools behave when confronted with deleted items?

Records

Entire tables

Queries

Forms

Reports

Visual Basic

Macros

AccessFIX

-

-

Stellar

-

-

-

-

-

-

Recovery

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Toolbox

-

-

-

-

-

-

SysInfo

-

-

-

-

-

-

Kernel

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

SysTools

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Undeleting. The first test consists of deleting all the records in some tables. the second test consist of deleting all the objects in a database.

: The data is partially recovered.

: The feature is included, but it does not work.

Deleted records

When records are deleted, Microsoft Access does not always purge them immediately. In some cases, it simply flags them as available space, which makes them potentially recoverable.

When a record is modified, Microsoft Access first deletes it completely and then creates a new, updated record. As a result, it is also possible to recover previous versions of a modified record.

Therefore, deleted records are potentially recoverable as well as old versions of modified records.

For the following test, I have deleted all the records from 3 tables. In the notes of the following 8 videos I explain the results obtained with each tool.

Microsoft Access 2019. Test set up: I duplicated the database and then deleted all the records from three tables, Invoices, Order details and Orders.

Microsoft Access

Soundless video

AccessFIX 5.126. Records deleted from the 3 tables, and modified from 2 others, are recovered. They are stored in additional tables with the same name and suffix "(deleted records)".

AccessFIX

Soundless video

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. Records deleted from the 3 tables, and modified from 2 others, are recovered. They are stored in additional tables with the same name and suffix "(deleted records)".

Stellar Repair for Access

Soundless video

Recovery for Access 3.2. It does not recover deleted records.

Recovery for Access

Soundless video

Recovery Toolbox for Access 2.2. Each table includes a Deleted Records node, but there are no records in any of the 3 tables. Of the two ones with modified records, only one has records.

Recovery Toolbox for Access

Soundless video

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair 5.0. Deleted records are partially recovered; those in the Order details table are missing. Deleted and undeleted records are mixed in the same table, which can be problematic.

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair

Soundless video

Kernel for Access 11.02. It does not recover deleted records.

Kernel for Access

Soundless video

Systools Access Recovery 3.3. It does not recover deleted records.

Systools Access Recovery

Soundless video

Deleted records. In the test, I delete all the records in three tables. Can the tools recover them?

Deleted tables and objects

In this test, all tables and all objects in a database are deleted.

  • Only AccessFIX recovers tables, forms, reports and Visual Basic.
  • None found deleted Macros or Queries.

In these 8 videos, you can watch the preparation of the test file and the recovery using each of the utilities.

Microsoft Access 2019. To prepare the test, I duplicated the database and then deleted all objects. The database is completely empty.

Microsoft Access

Soundless video

AccessFIX 5.126. Recovers several tables and unnamed objects: 22/22 tables, 20/34 forms, 10/15 reports, 9/10 Visual Basic of forms and reports, 2/8 modules.

AccessFIX

Soundless video

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. It does not recover any deleted objects.

Stellar Repair for Access

Soundless video

Recovery for Access 3.2. It does not recover any deleted objects.

Recovery for Access

Soundless video

Recovery Toolbox for Access 2.2. It does not recover any deleted objects.

Recovery Toolbox for Access

Soundless video

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair 5.0. It does not recover any deleted objects.

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair

Soundless video

Kernel for Access 11.02. It does not recover any deleted objects.

Kernel for Access

Soundless video

Systools Access Recovery 3.3. It does not recover any deleted objects.

Systools Access Recovery

Soundless video

Deleted tables and objects. For this test, all the tables and objects in the database are deleted. Will they be recoverable?

See this monograph about how to undelete objects from Microsoft Access to learn more about this topic.

4. Hard recoveries

Tables without definition and orphan objects.

So far we've dealt with complete files. Now let's deal with cases where the original content of the file has been partially lost, such as truncated files or files with large blank areas.

Even if the database is incomplete, it may be worthwhile recovering the remaining data. However, if certain essential file structures are missing, such as the internal object index or table definitions, it will be very difficult to reassemble the parts.

When these structures are lost, we find hard recoveries, which is the subject of this category.

Lost definition

Lost definition (with external copy)

Orphan query

Orphan form

Orphan report

Orphan Visual Basic

Orphan macro

AccessFIX

-

-

Stellar

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Recovery

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Toolbox

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

SysInfo

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Kernel

-

-

-

-

-

-

SysTools

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Difficult recoveries. In the first test I destroy, at a binary level, the definition of the tables. In the second test, I destroy the area of the file where the internal object index is located.
: The data is partially recovered.
: The feature is included, but does not work.

Lost definitions

In an accdb file, the data from a table is stored in two separate parts:

  • 1. Definition: name, properties and type of the fields and indexes. They correspond to the data that are edited in the Table design view.
  • 2. Record data.

In this test, I delete at the binary level all table definitions from an accdb file. This leaves all record data intact, but without the information needed to decode it.

AccessFIX is the only utility that recovers tables without a definition; specifically, fields of type Text. Additionally, it recovers the tables completely if you have an old copy of the file to provide the required table definitions.

In these 7 videos you can see how each of the utilities works when recovering a file without table definitions.

AccessFIX 5.126. 1. Recovers the tables directly without a definition, but only the text fields. 2. By providing an old copy of the file, the remaining fields are recovered.

AccessFIX

Soundless video

Stellar Repair for Access 6.2. It does not recover tables with no definition.

Stellar Repair for Access

Soundless video

Recovery for Access 3.2. It does not recover tables with no definition.

Recovery for Access

Soundless video

Recovery Toolbox for Access 2.2. It does not recover tables with no definition.

Recovery Toolbox for Access

Soundless video

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair 5.0. It does not recover tables with no definition.

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair

Soundless video

Kernel for Access 11.02. It does not recover tables with no definition. Recovery using Template Mode allows you to select a file that provides the definitions, but it does not work. The result shows tables with no name and without any record.

Kernel for Access

Soundless video

Systools Access Recovery 3.3. It does not recover tables with no definition.

Systools Access Recovery

Soundless video

Recovery of tables without a definition. In this test, I attempt to recover a file whose tables have no definition. Are these tables recoverable?

Orphan objects

The database maintains an internal index with the names of all objects. If the area of the file where this index is located is lost, all objects are also lost. Even though the data of those objects are still there, it is not possible to decode them as they are disconnected from the database structure. This is similar to the case of deleted objects.

Orphan objects. During the tests, only AccessFIX recovers orphan data from tables, forms, reports and Visual Basic. See this article about orphan objects for more information.

Download and price

Tool download links

Id

Installer

Tool

Price from

Recovers

AccessFIX

AccessFIX

$39.00

Tables, queries, forms, reports, macros, Visual Basic, deleted records, deleted tables, deleted forms, deleted reports, deleted Visual Basic, tables without a definition and orphan objects.

Stellar

Stellar Repair for Access

$79.00

tables, queries, forms, reports, macros, Visual Basic and deleted records.

Recovery

Recovery for Access

$399.00

Tables and queries.

Toolbox

Recovery Toolbox for Access

$27.00

Tables and queries.

SysInfo

SysInfoTools MS Access Repair

$69.00

Tables, queries and deleted records (partially).

Kernel

Kernel for Access

$99.00

Tables.

SysTools

Systools Access Recovery

$69.00

Tables.

EaseUS

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

$70.00

Generic file undelete.

Remo

Remo Recover

$40.00

Generic file undelete.

Yodot

Yodot Recovery Software

$70.00

Generic file undelete.

Microsoft Access data recovery tools. Click on the icon to download from the developer's website.

About this comparison

My name is David Cimadevilla. I have learned everything I know about the internal workings of Microsof Access files while developing the AccessFIX application over the past 15 years.

My intention here is to facilitate a critical choice among all available options, based on data and not on marketing texts.

I encourage you to try the tools yourself and compare the results. Here you have direct links to download all the applications from their original websites.

I realize that my opinion may not be considered to be completely impartial as I am the developer of AccessFIX. That's why I've included in this comparison:

  • Videos of the tests performed.
  • Screenshots with specific information.
  • Links to download all the utilities.

How did I make the selection?

  • I searched Google for terms like Access data recovery and Access file repair.
  • From the first 24 results, I selected those corresponding to software tools.
  • I discarded the replicas of some of the utilities that flood the results.
  • I conducted the tests with the 10 resulting utilities.

How did I analyze the tools?

I started from the Microsoft Access sample database Northwind.accdb. Then I added some new types of field like Attachment, Decimal, Calculated and others.

I have tested all the utilities and compared their capacity to recover and decode each object type, table, field and other characteristics. During the whole process I captured images and videos that I have included in this analysis.

I have also simulated common data loss situations such as deleted records, deleted objects and structural damage.

Evaluation of the results

In the case of AccessFIX and Stellar, for which I have a license, I have evaluated on the final databases resulting from the recovery. For the rest, I have relied on the results shown in the preview of each application. Please contact me if you think any of the data is incorrect.

A final note on the spam

I was surprised, while looking for tools in Google, by the amount of spam content I found.

Some of the developers, replicated their tools in different domains pretending that they are different options when in fact they are all the same.

For example, in a Google search of 24 results:

  • 8 results were copies of the tool by Systools.
  • 3 results, that of Toolbox with different icons and names, but the same application.
  • 2 results, Stellar.
  • 2 results, Kernel.

The rest do not seem to use this kind of practice.