MS Access ldb file
Most users will realise that their Access database is held in a file with an mdb extension
but from time to time we get asked about a similar file with the same name as the
database but with an ldb extension. What is it? Is it a virus? Is it safe? What should
I do with it?
What is it?
The ldb file is harmless and you can see something of its contents with a simple text
editor. You won't get far if you open the file with Notepad.
The NotePad++ editor does a better job of interpretting the contents of the file and
gives us more of a clue.
Here we can see the name of our computer and a user name and that's what the ldb file
does. It records the names of the people using the database and - although we can't see
it by using this simple approach - the file also holds information about the records
which are locked by each of the users.
I've no idea why NotePad does not show the contents of the ldb file. WordPad also fails
but MS Word and the text editor within Visual FoxPro will both show these names. You
might have to experiment with various editors until you find one that will work.
What should I do with it?
For most of the time, the answer is "nothing". Microsoft Access will create the ldb file
when the first user opens the database, it will add users' details to the file as more
people log in, and it will delete the ldb file when the last person closes the database.
Sometimes an Access database will crash and leave the ldb file behind and sometimes the
file will be left in a state indicating that someone still has some records locked. The
easiest solution to this situation is to delete the file. Make sure that nobody is using
the database before you try to delete the file though.
You won't see an ldb file if a single user has opened the database in exclusive mode.
There's no risk of conflict between multiple users in this situation and so there's no
need for the file.
A user's entry is not deleted from the ldb file when that user closes the database. This
means that you can't simply look at the ldb file to discover who is using the database at
this instant. All that you can get is a list of the people who have used the database
during this session. This usually means the people who've used it today so the list is
still useful when you're investigating a crash because you can use it to identify the
people who were the last to have used the system.
The Microsoft Knowledge Base entry
gives details of how to extract more information from the ldb file by writing VBA code.
Note that Access 2007 uses the similar
file when working with its native database format.