I have to use MS Access in a remote location nearly ten miles from the servers where the database is stored.

Here are some of my impressions:

  • I am under the impression that the connection between the two locations is a dedication t-line.
  • I believe Access works by constantly updating the database, making adjustments as soon as you stop typing.

Here is the issue:

I think these two things, how Access updates the database and the remote location, are leading to a good deal of lagging while using Access. I will type an entry, then look to my paperwork to see what next I need to do, then find that Access won't let me type again for as long as 20 or 30 seconds. I can trick Access to not update the database by tapping spacebar while I look at my paperwork, then delete the spaces and continue, making it like I was typing the whole time.

Here are some things that I think would work conceptually, but I do not know how to do it:

  • If I could set Access to only add new information periodically, instead of immediately after typing. Once per day would be enough, because new entries from the remote location are few.
  • If I could have two Access databases, one at the remote location and one at the other, and edit the remote database as needed then some auto-protocol reconciles and merges them at the end of the day.

I am certainly open to other solutions. I would entertain using other programs, but I doubt my employers would.

A note on the version I am using: I am using Access 2007, but the tech department told me that the database is a 2003 version and I am some how able to use it with 2007 because of some smart dll editing. I am under the impression that some users, at other locations, are still on 2003, hence the monkey work. My supervisor tells me that if we can resolve some other issues, then they will update all other locations to 2007, so lets just assume that there is no weird dll editing or whatever and say I need a solution with Access 2007.

I apologize if this is off-topic and would appreciate a migration if it is on-topic on a different SE site.

I am not really sure of the best title for this question, but I invite editing to make it better.


Access running slow? I'd say this is by design. Seriously though, if you have a T1 line from site to site, chances are it's probably saturated, since 1.5 Mbps is tiny these days... the saturation of the network uplink is likely the bottleneck, not Access. Updating the database to a modern .accdb format might help a little, but it's unlikely to have a huge impact, unless your .mdb file is enormously bloated and that's the reason for the lag.

You can try compacting the database, which might help a little in the near term, but the new .accdb files are much better at not getting bloated in the first place, which you can definitely do by running Access 2007 (or later; 2010 and 2013 are even better).

Also, I'd like to clear up some misconceptions you seem to have. There is no "dll hack" necessary to open and use Access 2003 files in Access 2007; you can continue using .mdb files (the old 2003-and-earlier file format) all the way up until and including Access 2013. This is the same backwards compatibility as you get with, for instance, Word opening and saving .doc files, and Excel opening and saving .xls files, both of which are extremely old and crufty formats, but which Office applications all the way up to version 2013 can still read and write perfectly well.

If your IT department or management claims to have installed some kind of "dll hack", you might want to get details on what exactly it is that they've done, as it may be indicative of something that they're doing wrong which is causing your lag. This certainly isn't normal procedure for people running newer versions of Access who need to open older Access database files.

  • Thanks. I'll give your suggestions a try. My impressions about the T1 and the dll hack are no less than fourth person, so they might be completely inaccurate. Honestly, I seriously doubt the T1, but that's what I was told. After I have a go at your suggestions, I will comment back. If any of them worked, I will select. – fredsbend Jan 7 '14 at 2:46
  • They updated the Internet service to something much faster and the problem went away. I don't think they ever had a T line. – fredsbend Sep 12 '16 at 17:51

You do not want to run any file-based database over the internet, end of story. The only way to do this properly is via remote desktop onto a server which is on the same physical LAN as the server that has the MDB on it, and run your application like that. There is no way of making it faster or more stable unless you get your internet connection up over 100Mbps, which is unlikely.

  • Thank you for the thoughts. Remote desktop might be an option. Is the 100 Mbps from personal experience or does MS have a recommended spec? – fredsbend Jan 7 '14 at 18:14
  • It's from experience using similar databases. I would have to search for any MS recommendation but I'm sure you're up to that task yourself. :) – Alan B Jan 8 '14 at 14:20

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