Access 97 Database Error Was Caused By Windows January 2019 Update, Microsoft Confirms

Microsoft’s issues with the recent Windows 10 Updates never seem to end. From deleting user files to granting admin privileges to any user, the bugs have been plenty. Access 97 had a bug discovered recently which breaks access to its databases. Guenni from Borncity discovered the bug yesterday and highlighted it on his blog post.

The Windows January 2019 Update was the cause behind the bug, Microsoft confirmed today. Microsoft added the Access 97 bug to the “known issue” section. The January update aimed to fix a vulnerability in Jet Database Engine shipped with Windows. “As a result of this patch, open databases in Access 97 MDB format fail with a database error “unknown database format” – if the database contains field names with a length greater than 32 characters”, as Borncity reports. While this bug only affects Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0 providers, there were only a few workarounds. Microsoft added the following paragraph to the known issue section, highlighting the bug.

Applications that use a Microsoft Jet database with the Microsoft Access 97 file format may fail to open if the database has column names greater than 32 characters. he database will fail to open with the error, “Unrecognized Database Format”.


Microsoft promises a fix by February 2019, and this is the same bug highlighted by Born City yesterday. Until, then Microsoft has suggested some workarounds for the same. You can find the workarounds below:-

Use one of the following options:

Option 1: Modify the database to ensure that all column names are less than or equal to 32 characters.

Option 2: Convert the database to the .accdb file format. To use the .accdb file format, you must change the Connection string after conversion.

The easiest way to convert is to use Microsoft Access 2010 or earlier.

  1. Use Microsoft Access to open a database that has an older file format.
  2. You will be asked if you would like to convert. Click Yes and save the database with the .accdb extension.

Option 3: Convert the database to a newer .mdb file format. This doesn’t require a change to the Connection string.

While Microsoft has offered some workarounds, these workarounds are “extremely cautious and in practice maybe not realistic” according to Born City. Ad hoc solutions are now required since the bug occurs in January 2019 Update. So beware while using the workarounds, as they might cause further issues as well. At the end, it depends on the user to see which workarounds to implement.

Md Armughanuddin
An ardent gamer and a tech enthusiast, Armughan loves writing about a variety of stuff. If he is not writing, you will definitely find him grinding in Rocket League.

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Access 97 Database Error Was Caused By Windows January 2019 Update, Microsoft Confirms

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