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  1. #1
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    Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    Is there a utility out there that will automatically convert MDB files in a folder to the new Access 2002-2003 file format?

    I'm sure a person could build an application like that using Access, but I'm looking to save myself some time if there is a product that's already built to do that. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    What format are you using now? If you're using Access 2000 format, I would recommend sticking with that. It is smaller and more stable than the 2002/2003 format, and has the additional advantage that the format can be used without conversion in Access 2000, 2002 and 2003. If you convert to the 2002/2003 format, Access 2000 users will not be able to open the database.
    If you're currently using Access 97 and are going to upgrade to a new version, I'd recommend to convert to Access 2000 format for the same reasons (regardless of whether you are going to use Access 2000, 2002 or 2003).

    MSKB article How to programmatically convert multiple Access databases in Access 2002 contains code to convert all databases in a folder.

  3. #3
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    Re: Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    Most of our DB's are in the Access 2000 format, but by powers greater than me, it has been deemed to convert them all to the newest file format. (We upgraded from Office 2k to Office 2k3 this spring.)

    I'm aware of the fact that Access 2000 users won't be able to open the Access 2k3 files and so are my managers. But our company is all using Access 2003, and since we have the ability to "dumb" down the MDB files, they don't see that as a reason not to convert.

    Why do you say that the Access 2k format is smaller and more stable? I haven't heard that claim before.

    I'll check out that KB article in the meantime.

  4. #4
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    Re: Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    If you convert an Access 2000 format database to Access 2002/2003 format, you'll notice that the file size increases somewhat (how much depends on the structure of the database). Access 2002/2003 databases appear to be more prone to increase in size than Access 2000 databases during use, and to become corrupt more easily. See for example <post:=526,245>post 526,245</post:>, <post:=504,322>post 504,322</post:> and <post:=482,375>post 482,375</post:> for some comments by <!profile=WendellB>WendellB<!/profile>.

  5. #5
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    Re: Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    Thanks for the links to Wendell's comments.

    I'm sure he knows what he's talking about. I'm the Access support person in our company and so I'm wondering if we should stop our conversion efforts based on Wendell's comments. I suppose I'll have to check the other Access forums out and see if there are further complaints about the updated file format. I have noticed that after conversion to 2k3 that the file size is slightly larger than the same db in 2k format. So you and Wendell think that this increase in bloat causes a stability & corruption problem?

  6. #6
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    Re: Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    I have never worked seriously with the Access 2002/2003 format - by the time we converted from Office 97 to Office XP at work, I had read so many negative comments about it that I decided to use the Access 2000 format. But Wendell does have extensive experience with it.

  7. #7
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    Re: Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    I also have experience of it. In our shop we have used Access 2002 for our commercial application front ends, but we use the 2000 format for the backend data files, and we will continue to do that for the .Net version of the application even though the front end will no longer be in Access. There is a system table in 2002 and higher that does not exist in 2000 and it does not compact when you compact the database. As a result, that table keeps growing and the only way to effectively "compact" the database after a while is to create a new mdb and import all the objects and relationships. That alone, absent any corruption issues, made us decide to stick with the 2000 format for the data files.
    Charlotte

  8. #8
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    Re: Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    Wow! Thanks for the insight.
    Mark Liquorman
    See my website for Tips & Downloads and for my Liquorman Utilities.

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    Re: Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    What is the name of that table Charlotte.

  10. #10
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    Re: Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    It's MSysAccessStorage. To test:, temporarily turn on the display of system tables (View tab of Tools | Options...). Create a database in Access 2002 format, or convert a database to this format. You'll see one extra MSys table compared with an Access 2000 format database. Don't forget to turn off showing system tables again.

  11. #11
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    Re: Mass Conversion Utility? (2003 SP1)

    Thanks Hans

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