Locking Down Your Access Database

Locking Down Your Access Database
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Sometimes, as an end user, you need to be able to add on an extra level of security for your data. It is not that your system admin does not do a crack up job – the odds are that he or she is taking very real and important steps to protect the data that is stored on your network. Your friendly local admin is not psychic, however, and as a mere mortal, he or she must also depend to a degree on your good judgment and ability. Today, we are looking to expand on that ability by showing you how to lock down a file.

What is a Lock Down and Why Use it Anyway?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term we will do a basic review. A lock down is when the creator of a file, usually a compiled program like an Access database, keeps the other users who can view the file from making any changes to it. This is a handy little trick if you have collaborative co workers who think they are helping you by tweaking this or that in your deliverables. Now, you can stop that (well intentioned?) meddling dead in its tracks.

How to Lock a Database Down

  1. Open your un-compiled file and click on “Tools” in the menu bar.
  2. From the “Tools” menu choose “Database” and select “make MDE/ADE” file. Click “OK”.
  3. Make your way back to the “Tools” menu and choose “Startup in the compiled file” (which may be worded slightly different depending on your version of Access).
  4. You will see 3 checkboxes that you will need to uncheck. These are labeled “Turn off database view”, “Access special keys”, and “Ability to edit menus”. Then click on OK.

Or…you can just do it the easy way

If you are willing to shell out some of your hard-earned cash, then you can do this without as much fuss with programs like Lassie or Light Application Security. These utilities can do the trick and even let you prevent certain users from accessing specific forms. Lassie costs about $36, but if you are not willing to pay the price, Solo can be a great alternative.

No matter which option you choose to get things done, you should test out your lock out on a separate machine, just to be sure. Also, be forewarned that if you do this manually, a user who is tech savvy can get around it by holding down the Shift key while the database opens.