Launching Microsoft Access from Internet Explorer to view a downloaded MDB file opens the wrong file (not a problem if I use Firefox) RRS feed

  • Question

  • When clicking on a link (in Internet Explorer 9) to download an Access MDB file and then choosing to open the file directly in Microsoft Access (2007) instead of saving it, the file is copied to Temporary Internet Files but Microsoft Access tries to open a different file and displays an (Unrecognized database format) error.

    When I click on the option to open the file, the MDB file is copied to Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5 but instead of that file, Access tries to open a different (incorrect) file located in Temporary Internet Files\Content.MSO (e.g. in the above error message, is an XML file containing an error message).

    I don't see this problem with Word, Excel or PowerPoint files. When opening a Word file (without saving) the Word file is copied to Content.IE5 but an identical .tmp file is created in Content.MSO which when opened in Microsoft Word displayed the required file correctly. The same happens for Excel files. PowerPoint appears to be handled a little differently (no .tmp file created in Content.MSO but the required file is still copied to Content.IE5) but the PPT file is still opened correctly in Microsoft PowerPoint.

    I think the Content-Type "application/msaccess" is fine because Internet Explorer does launch Microsoft Access. It just tries to open the wrong file (or so I think). However, it looks like the file type is not being determined. Here is what I noticed when trying to open different Microsoft Office files using Internet Explorer:

    The last one is the MDB file. As you can see, only for this type of file, the "Type" (Microsoft Office Access 2007?) is not displayed in this Open/Save dialog box.

    On Firefox, I don't see this problem. When I tried clicking on the link to the MDB file in Firefox, Microsoft Access was launched and the file was opened correctly. Is there something I can do so the MDB file is opened properly using IE? I can add/change headers in the HTTP response that writes this file to the output stream (on disk) if that helps.

    Thanks for your time!
    Thursday, March 20, 2014 6:51 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    In a MDB file, the data are stored as continuous pages with a fixed size. The first page, called database definition page, contains the most important definitions of the database. If the page structure in the MDB file is damaged, for example, several bytes in the head of the file are lost permanently, Access will not be able to recognize the pages in the file and will report this error. If the database definition page or other important data is damaged, then Access cannot recognize the database format and will report the error, too.

    In a word, as long as Microsoft Access cannot recognize the MDB file as a valid Access database, it will report this error.

    You may check if the file is corrupted or used by other user. If yes, please make sure no usres are using the file and do a repair to the database.

    I also suspect the file you opened is not load completely.

    You may try the following steps to see the result:

    1. Clear your browser's cache.
    2. I supect this issue is related to permission, you may run IE as administrator for a test.
    3. Ensure that the Internet Explorer security settings are not set to high.
    4. May be one of your add-ons that causing this. Manage add-ons in Internet Explorer:
    5. You could add these addresses to the browser's list of Trusted sites.

    Also temporary disable or uninstall the security software such as anti-virus software to see if the issue occurs.

    Hope it helps.


    Blair Deng

    Blair Deng
    TechNet Community Support

    Friday, March 21, 2014 2:29 AM
  • Thanks for the explanation and suggestions, Blair.

    But the problem isn't that the MDB file is corrupted. It's that Internet Explorer / Access are trying to open an XML file rather than the MDB file.

    Friday, March 21, 2014 6:46 PM