Encrypt a database by using a database password

When you want to help prevent unauthorized use of an Access database, consider encrypting the database by setting a password. If you know the password for an encrypted database, you can also decrypt the database and remove its password. This article explains how to encrypt a database by using a database password, and how to decrypt a database and remove its password.

In earlier versions of Access, you could create user accounts and passwords using a feature called user-level security. This topic does not discuss user-level security, which is not available when you use the .accdb file format. For more information, see the See Also section.

If you encrypt a database and then lose the password, you will be unable to use the database. You cannot remove a database password if you do not know the password.

In this article


Overview

The encryption tool makes your data unreadable by other tools, and sets a password that is required to use the database. Remember these rules as you proceed:

  • The new encryption feature applies only to databases in the .accdb file format.
  • The tool uses a stronger encryption algorithm than was used in earlier versions of Access.
  • If you want to encode or apply a password to an earlier-version Access database (an .mdb file), Access uses the Encoding and Password features from Access 2003.

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Encrypt a database by using a password

The steps in this section explain how to create and apply a password to an Access 2007 database.

Encrypt a database

  1. Open the database in Exclusive mode.

ShowHow do I open a database in Exclusive mode?

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then click Open.
  1. In the Open dialog box, browse to the file that you want to open, and then select the file.
  2. Click the arrow next to the Open button, and then click Open Exclusive. The following figure depicts the menu.

Opening file in Exclusive mode

  1. On the Database Tools tab, in the Database Tools group, click Encrypt with Password.

Access Ribbon Image

The Set Database Password dialog box appears.

  1. Type your password in the Password box, type it again in the Verify box, and then click OK.

 Note    Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A pass phrase that uses 14 or more characters is better. For more information, see Help protect your personal information with strong passwords.It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it. Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.

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Encrypt a split database

To encrypt a split database, you encrypt both the front-end database and the back-end database. After you encrypt the back-end database, you relink to its tables.

  1. Using the steps provided in the section Encrypt a database by using a password, encrypt the back-end database.
  2. In the front-end database, delete the links to the tables in the back-end database, and then link to them again. Access will prompt you for the back-end database password when you relink.
  3. After you relink the tables, encrypt the front-end database by using the steps provided in the section Encrypt a database by using a password.

Open and decrypt a database

As a reminder, it is critical that you remember your password  — if you forget your password, there is no method by which it can be retrieved.

Decrypt a database

  1. Open the encrypted database the way that you open any other database.

The Password Required dialog box appears.

  1. Type your password in the Enter database password box, and then click OK.

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Remove a password from a database

When you remove a password from a database, you can restore it at any time (or replace it with another password) by repeating the steps in Encrypt a database by using a password, earlier in this article.

Remove a password

  1. Open the database in Exclusive mode.

ShowHow do I open a database in Exclusive mode?

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then click Open.
  1. In the Open dialog box, browse to the file that you want to open, and then select (single-click) the file.
  2. Click the arrow next to the Open button, and then click Open Exclusive. The following figure depicts the menu.

Opening file in Exclusive mode

  1. On the Database Tools tab, in the Database Tools group, click Decrypt Database.

The Unset Database Password dialog box appears.

  1. Type your password in the Password box, and then click OK.

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Applies to:
Access 2007