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September 2006 : access

 

  password protecting a database


Password-protecting a database in Microsoft Access prevents unauthorized users from viewing or modifying your data. For example, let's say you're putting together a quarterly company spending report. Chances are, you don't want very many people knowing how much money goes in and out each month. By password protecting this database, you can ensure that this information is secured and that only you and other managers have access to it.

This article will show you how to protect your sensitive information from prying eyes, including adding and removing a password, and opening a protected database.

Assigning a password

In order to assign a password to a Microsoft Access database, the first thing you need to do is make sure the database you want to secure is closed. If the database is shared on a network, make sure all other users have closed the database as well.

Next, open the database that you want to secure using the Open Exclusive command. Select File > Open from the menu and navigate to where the database you want to open is stored. Select the database you want to open, click the Open button list arrow, and select Open Exclusive from the list.

(View a screen shot of this on the right.)

Once the database has been opened exclusively, select Tools > Security > Set Database Password from the menu. The Set Database Password dialog box appears.

Enter a password in the Password text box, and then enter it again in the Verify text box. Passwords are case-sensitive, so make sure that the Caps Lock command hasn't been turned on by mistake.

The text you type in the Set Database Password dialog box appears as a string of *****'s. This ensures that a passing coworker can't see your password.

Before you set your password, it is important to note that if you lose or forget your password, it can't be recovered. To make sure that you never get locked out of your own data, keep your password in a safe place so that it can be retrieved later on if need be.

Once you are satisfied with your password, click OK.

Opening a protected database

Once you have password-protected a database, it's a good idea to try and open it just to make sure everything has been set up correctly.

First, close the password-protected database. Then try and open the database as you would normally (you don't have to use the Open Exclusive command).

As soon as Access opens the password-protected database, the Password dialog box appears. You must enter the correct password here in order to gain access to the database.

For the sake of this article, try entering an incorrect password into the Password text box and then click OK. An error message should appear, telling you that the password you entered was incorrect. Click OK to try again.

 

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This time, enter the correct password into the Password text box and click OK. The database should open without a hitch.

Removing a password

In order to remove a password from a database, you must have access to it: if you don't know the password to begin with, you can't remove it.

Select File > Open from the menu and navigate to where the database is stored. Select the database that is secured by the password you wish to remove, click the Open button list arrow, and select Open Exclusive from the list.

An error message appears if you don't open the database exclusively.

In the Password Required dialog box that appears, enter the database password and click OK. Remember that passwords are case-sensitive, so make sure you don't have the Caps Lock command turned on by mistake.

Then, select Tools > Security > Unset Database Password from the menu. In the Unset Database Password dialog box that appears, type the current password and click OK.

Before you start handing out passwords…

It's important to note that anyone you give your password to has the ability to change or remove the password. Keep this in mind when deciding who should be granted access to the database.

More Complex Password Options

Through the Security menu, you can set user-based or group-based permissions on every single object in your Access database.  You can say which users can access which forms, reports, and tables, and if that access is read-only, add-only, edit, or more.

If you are interested in locking down your database to this level, let me know and I'll help you out or write an article on it.

  screen shots


The following screen shot(s) illustrate this article.  Click on one for a larger view.