Garry Robinson's Popular MS Access, Office and VB
The Magazine that Access Developers loved to read and write for is back
Article Index Here or
Join our XML/RSS Newsfeed or sign up for our informative newsletter on
Office Automation, Access and VB topics
Sign up here
Get Good Help
If you need help with a database, our Australian Professionals could be
Find out who has
your database open, start the correct version of Access, easy compacting
and zip backups, change startup options, compile, shutdown
Access > SqlServer
Upsize to SQL Server 2005 or 2008, easily repeated conversions,
highly accurate SQL query
translation and web form conversion.
Like FMS Products?
Purchase them from us and get a free Workbench or Smart Access
Libraries of software that we regularly import into our projects.
Find out a few other things that
Garry has been writing about Microsoft Access.
About The Editor Garry
Robinson writes for a number of popular computer magazines, is now a
book author and has worked on 100+ Access databases. He is based in
Contact Us ...
Workgroup Files - Opening Databases with Shortcut Files
A reader of my book on Access Protection and
Security wrote in
I'm new to MS Access security and protection so I just purchased your book
"Microsoft Access Database Protection and Security".
My situation is that I've created a new workgroup and have inputted a
username/password for the Admin. Now every time I open a database (any
database), I'm prompted for this username/password.
My question is, how do I make the new workgroup I created only applicable to one
database, as such keeping SYSTEM.MDW the default for all other databases on my
Thanks so much and look forward to hearing from you.
Note: The book is great, I will definitely recommend it to my peers
To answer this question, there are 3 ways that you can tackle this problem.
First is to keep using you new workgroup file and setup a simple password for
the admin account. That way when you are prompt to open other databases, it is
relatively easy to switch between the two accounts. In this case the admin
account will work for both the secured and unsecured databases. The second way
is setup a shortcut file for your secured database and revert to using the
default workgroup file for the rest of your databases (see description below).
This is generally faster but you must use the shortcut if you want full
permissions on the secured database. The third way is use our
Workbench product. This allows you
to setup all your workgroup files and accounts and to then allocated them to
files in the favorites list.
Setting Up Workgroup File Shortcuts
This is an excerpt from
chapter 10 of my book on Access Protection
If our world were simple, there would be only one database to open and
protect. In this world, we could install Access on an end user’s computer and
use the workgroup administrator to join to a workgroup file. We could then train
users to open Access and select the first database on the most recently used
list, and DBAs would have a relatively simple time of it. Of course, the world
isn’t that simple, as most Access sites have many Access databases and sometimes
more than one workgroup security file for each user. This section of the chapter
shows you how to use special commands in shortcut files to circumvent these
issues. It also shows a more secure way of using Access VBA code to open
databases that are protected by workgroups, or even those that aren’t.
Irrespective of your current development and users’ workgroup arrangements, it
is a good idea to understand how to use shortcut files to start Access because
they will provide you with a quick way to open your database with a workgroup
file. Unfortunately, if you don’t get on top of the quick and simple ways to
switch workgroups and databases, you will forever be gnashing your teeth when
you or your users open a database while connected to the wrong workgroup file.
Using shortcut files is good because people only join the workgroup for the
session. If you combine this measure with menu-specific startup options,
protected menus, and toolbars (see Chapter 7), users will not as easily be able
to open the backend database by using the workgroup file. The shortcut file
helps protect the back-end database because users have to close Access and,
hence, lose their association with the workgroup file. In the Access help guide,
shortcut commands are referred to as startup command-line options. Access has
quite a number of these options, but for the purposes of protecting the
database, the ones that I will cover follow:
/wrkgrp. Starts Access by using the specified workgroup information file.
/user. Starts Access by using the specified user name.
/pwd. Starts Access by using the specified password.
Creating a Shortcut File
If you want to create a shortcut file, you must
first include the path to the Access executable on your computer. The way that I
like to do this is to find the Access executable (MSAccess.exe), which is
generally located in the Program Files folder on your computer. Now right-click
the MSAccess.exe executable and choose Send To ~ Desktop (Create Shortcut). (The
sample demonstrated in Figure 10-14 is from
Windows XP.) Now switch to your Desktop, which you can do quickly by pressing
the Windows key and the D key together.
<< Click to enlarge
Book Figure 10-14. Right-clicking the Access executable to send a shortcut to
To customize the shortcut on the Desktop, right-click it and choose Properties,
as shown in Figure 10-15. The first item that you want to add to the target line
is the full path to the database, which should occur directly after the path to
the executable. Once the shortcut to the database works, you can start adding
the commandline options. To demonstrate, I will show you a command line that
will open a copy of the Northwind back-end database with a workgroup file and
the Editor user (described in the section “Trusting Your Users by Adopting the
You should organize these commands together in the shortcut’s target field. As
you can see, after each argument is entered, you need to leave a single space
before putting the required entry in the line. These shortcuts can be a bit
cumbersome to build and test, so you should add each item one at a time.
/wrkgrp c:\developer.mdw /user editor
NOTE: If a workgroup file or database is in a folder that has spaces in
the name, you will need to enclose the path to the file in double quotes.
<< Click to enlarge
Book Figure 10-15. Modifying the target line of the shortcut by
right-clicking the shortcut file.
Another thing that I like to do at sites where multiple users use the same
is to enter the name of the user account that has the least permissions as
part of the path. That way, even if the user may have found out the password of
higher-level account, the interface may persuade them to use the lower-level
Other Pages at VB123.com That You May
Want To Visit
Duplicate Data Entry For
Take Advantage Of The Class
Module Features Of Your Access Forms
Are Your Workgroup Files Built Using The Correct Version
Opening a workgroup file that was created with an older
version of Access is not so efficient. ie if it was built with Access 97
and you are using Access 2003.
How do you find this out?
Open Access 2000+, choose menu File then Open and navigate to
the workgroup file. When it opens, if it says "You cannot make changes to the
database objects in this database" then you have an old workgroup file.
To convert to a newer workgroup file is impossible, you have
to recreate it from scratch as per this kb.
For that you are going to need the Name, Organization and ID
that you used to create the original file. You are also going to need the
PIDs of the usernames or you may as well stick with the slightly slower old
Click on the
button for the next
help page in this Access Loop.