How to Recover Access database tables, forms & queries?

Summary: This article outlines major reasons that cause database objects (such as tables, forms and queries) to disappear. It also describes methods that can be used to fix the issue of ‘database objects missing’. You can try recovering the database components from the backup or by running built-in ‘Compact and Repair’ utility in Microsoft Access. If nothing works, a software that specializes in data recovery can come in handy. Although these methods would help you retrieve the lost objects, make sure to follow preventive measures to avoid database objects from disappearing. 

There can be numerous reasons which may cause Access database objects—tables, forms and queries—to disappear such as, 

  • Interrupted read/write operation Access database crash during read/write operation may result in ‘database objects missing’ issue.

  • Network connectivity issue – Problems in network connection may cause database objects to disappear when working on a shared network drive.

  • Concurrency issue – Multiple users editing the database file on a shared network, at the same time, can lead to accidental data edits or data deletion. It may also lead to corruption in database forms, queries and tables. As a result, database components may become inaccessible. 

Methods to Recover Access Database Objects

Here are some methods that can help in recovering missing database objects:

Method 1 – Try Restoring Objects from the Database Backup

NOTE: If you haven’t taken the backup, skip to Method 2.

You can try restoring missing tables, forms and queries from the backup copy of the database. To do so, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the database to which you want to restore the missing objects.

Step 2: Click the External Data tab, and then click Access from the Import & Link group.

Step 3: In the Get External Data-Access Database window, click Browse to find the database backup, and then click Open.

Step 4: Select ‘Import tables, queries, forms, reports, macros, and modules into the current database’, option, and then click OK.

Step 5: In the Import Objects window, click the tab representing the type of object that you wish to restore. For example, if you want to restore tables, click the Tables tab.

Step 6: Select all or specific objects that you want to restore.

Step 7: When ‘All objects were imported successfully’ message appears, click Close.

Method 2: Use the ‘Compact and Repair’ Utility

You can use the Microsoft Access built-in ‘Compact and Repair’ utility to resolve the database objects missing issue. 

While the Compact utility helps to compact the database to eliminate wasted space, the Repair utility helps to restore corrupt tables, queries and indexes. 

Follow these steps to use the Compact and Repair utility:

Step 1: Open your Access database, click File > Options.

Step 2: In Access Options window, select Current Database, and then select Compact and Close checkbox under Application Options.

Step 3: Now, click OK

Exit the Access database and reopen it for the repair process to take effect. Once the repair process is complete, check if you can access the inaccessible database components. 

If the ‘Compact and Repair’ tool doesn’t help fix the issue, you can try using a specialized Access database repair software such as Stellar Repair for Access. The software is purpose-built to ensure seamless recovery of Access database and all its objects including tables, queries, reports, forms, etc.  

Tips to Prevent Database Objects from Disappearing

Although the above-discussed methods can help you recover database objects, but what happened once can happen again. 

Below are a few key considerations that would help you avoid the ‘database objects missing’ issue from re-occurring:

  • Avoid database crash by splitting the database into front-end and back-end. 
  • Avoid drop in network connection by changing the network adapter power-saving options.
  • Restrict access to database objects in a multi-user environment by obtaining an exclusive lock on the database.


This post outlined several reasons, such as interrupted read/write operation, problem in network connectivity and concurrency, which can cause database objects to disappear.

The post also discussed the methods that can be used to recover the missing database objects. You can try restoring objects from the backup copy of the database. But, keep in mind, you will need recent backup for recovering database tables, queries and forms. 

If the backup is not available or it isn’t the most recent one, try the built-in ‘Compact and Repair’ tool in Microsoft Access. It not only helps in optimizing the database performance, but also repairs the corrupt database and restores corrupt tables, queries and indexes. However, it cannot help retrieve corrupt forms and other database objects. As an alternative to the Microsoft Access repair tool, you could use a specialized Access database recovery software. 

Note: If your business organization relies on MS SQL server then you should protect your database (.mdf) file carefully. To fix database file errors in MS SQL server, you can try SQL recovery software like Stellar Repair for MSSQL.  

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