Recover MS Access Data from a Crashed Operating System

An operating system may crash due to hardware or software problems. While the hardware problems tend to be caused due to sudden power surges or outages, physical damage to the hard drive, etc., the software problems could occur due to malware attacks, corrupt registries, etc. Whatever be the reason, an OS crash can make the data and files on the computer inaccessible. This post will explain steps you can use to recover MS Access data from a crashed operating system.

Step 1 – Perform a Clean Installation of Windows

Create a bootable media (like a USB drive or DVD). After this, perform a clean installation of Windows OS using the bootable media and choose to repair your computer. Once it is fixed, try backing up MS Access data locally or to an external hard drive. The detailed steps are as follows:

  • After a fresh installation of Windows OS, a Windows setup dialog box will open.

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  • Click Next. On the screen that appears, click Repair your computer.

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  • Choose the Troubleshoot option.

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  • Open a command prompt window and type in it “notepad.exe”.
  • In the notepad window that appears, go to File and click on Save As.
  • In the ‘Save As’ window, go to the drive where your Access database(s) is stored. Copy that database, go to any location on your computer and paste the copied database.

See if you can access the copied data from an Access database.

Step 2 – Connect Hard Drive to another Computer

If you have stored Access database files on a hard drive, connect the drive to another computer to check if the drive is functional. Copy the database files from the drive and paste them onto the other system if you can locate the drive. If the hard drive doesn’t show up, it is likely that your hard drive is damaged or corrupted. In that case, you will need to send the drive to a data recovery services professional to get back the MS Access data.


Step 3 – Compact and Repair the MS Access Database

If you can see the connected drive on another computer but cannot access the database file, try to repair the file using the Compact and Repair utility. For this, perform these steps:

  • Open your MS Access program and open a blank desktop database.

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  • In the blank desktop database screen, go to File, and then click Close.
  • On the screen that appears, click the Database Tools, and select Compact & Repair Database.

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  • Select the Access database file(s) you need to repair and click Compact.

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  • Specify a file name for the repaired database and press the Save button.

The compacted and repaired copy of the Access database will get saved at the selected location.

The compact and repair utility may fail to fix a severely corrupted database file and can result in data loss. In that case, you can use an Access database repair to recover the data. Stellar Repair for Access is a reliable tool that helps repair corruption in Access database and recovers all its components. You can preview the recoverable data before saving it, by downloading the software’s free demo version.



An operating system crash caused due to physical damage will require a professional hard disk recovery service for recovering MS Access data. However, for data loss scenarios that are not caused due to physical damage, implementing the steps discussed in this post may help.

Begin with performing a clean installation of Windows OS from a bootable media. Once Windows is up and running, repair it and back up the data to another location or a hard drive. If this doesn’t help, try connecting the hard drive with the MS Access database to another PC and copy the database to that PC. If the database doesn’t open, try repairing it using the ‘Compact and Repair’ utility or a Microsoft Access database repair software.


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