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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Unanswered: MS Access 2003 Database Security

    Hello Guys,

    I'm trying to get my head around the best way to setup reliable Security to my MS Access 2003 database.
    I've finished building the database for now and I'm wanting to move it from my Desktop onto a Network share so other colleagues within my team can access it.
    I've read the other Forums on Database Security but seem to be getting confused with the different file extension(s) that I should convert the database to for maximum protection.

    Basically the Database will need to be updated on a regular basis by myself and two other nominated colleagues. Also there maybe 'Design' modifications which will need to be made only by myself. Then finally I need to create a seperate account for other colleagues within the team who can READ only...

    To re-cap, could you please advise me on the following:

    1) Would you advise I create 3 seperate accounts?:

    1 x READ only (READ ONLY)
    1 x READ/WRITE (Adding Text to the Forms)
    1 x Full Permissions (For Design Modifications)

    Would I be best using the Security Wizard to set these accounts?

    2) Also would you advise I copy the database to the Network share first then setup the Security or should I complete this before I move the database?

    3) When the Database has been moved to the Network Share and the Security has been setup, what are the Back-up implications. Should I back-up everytime a Change is made or can I schedule a back-up?

    Sorry for so many questions - I just need to get this spot-on because the last time I did it, I screwed my database up and had to rebuild it?

    Thanks again for your support :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Not a simple question to answer.

    1. None. Read-only users can be done with code in your application rather than using the messy login box from Access. Design permissions should not be done this way imo. You keep control of the MDB and they get to use MDE. That's the simplest way.

    2. Setup security first.

    3. Keep copies of the design version and publish MDEs to the network. Backup the back end only on a regular basis.

    Problem with user-level security in Access is that it is far too easy to break. There are tools around to reveal all usernames and passwords in the MDW file and there goes your security.

    MDE files are much harder to break into.
    Owner and Manager of
    CypherBYTE, Microsoft Access Development Specialists.
    Microsoft Access MCP.
    And all around nice guy!

    "Heck it's something understood by accountants ... so it can't be 'that' difficult..." -- Healdem
    "...teach a man to code and he'll be frustrated for life! " -- georgev

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Hi StarTrekker,

    Thanks again for your advice...

    I've backed-up the database to my own hard-disk, and then with the original database I've split into a Front End and Back End, applied the Security and then converted to an MDE file.
    I've put the MDB and MDE file onto the Network share and then sent the shortcut to the MDE file to my colleagues... Is this correct?

    The only problem I seem to be getting is with the MDW file... The Backup Copy of the Database (currently located on my Hard-disk) and the MDE file of the original database (located on the Network share) keeps using the same MDW file... When I try and point either database to the MDW file I want it to use, it changes both Databases.

    How can I keep the backup database to use the default system.mdw file and then point the MDE file to the other mdw file where Security has been implemented on the network share
    Also when I'm working 'Offline' the shortcut to the MDE file thats located on the network defaults back to using the system.mdw file instead of simply not being available...

    Sorry if this doesn't make alot of sense...


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Madison, WI

    MSAccess Security Notes

    Perhaps this document will help (see step 10) on creating shortcuts to open an mde/mdb using an mdw security file and check your current shortcuts to make sure they are pointing to the correct mdw file (which I usually store on the network drive with the mde file (so user's have permissions for the mde to access the mdw along with permissions to open the mde file.))

    I'm not sure what you mean by "When I try and point either database to the MDW file I want it to use, it changes both Databases"
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by pkstormy; 01-09-09 at 15:16.
    Expert Database Programming
    MSAccess since 1.0, SQL Server since 6.5, Visual Basic (5.0, 6.0)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Hi pkstormy,

    Thanks for the document...

    I've backed up the LIVE database from the network share and placed the backup copy of the database on my local hard-disk.
    Now the LIVE database has created an MDW file with all of the Security features I've set, which is fine... I've created a shortcut to the LIVE Databases MDE file and pointed its Target to the network share including the MDW file that I've set up. Everything works fine...
    But when I try and open the Backup Copy of the database which i on my Hard-Drive it uses the LIVE Databases MDW file and prompts me for a password. If I try and change this to point to the default system.mdw it also changes the LIVE database which then becomes un-protected...
    There seems to be some kind of link between the LIVE and Backup Database, how can I make these databases use different MDW files?

    Hope this makes sense....

    Thanks again....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    out on a limb
    Provided Answers: 59
    either everyone (every copy of Access) has to join the same workgroup, or you deploy the application as shortcut with a specified workgroup. have a look at the Access command line switches
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Hi Healdem,

    Thanks for the reply....

    I'll just make sure I keep a backup copy of the MDW file as well.

    Thanks for all your help guys...

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