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A question came in recently regarding whether you can password protect just the VBA code for an Access database, but not the rest of the database. The answer is yes!
Here’s how to do it:
Next time you go to view the VBA code, you’ll be prompted for the password.
Note that there are a lot of free or inexpensive tools that allow you to “recover” lost passwords, so protecting your VBA by using this procedure should not be considered a fool-proof security method. However, it’s a good way to keep people from accidentally changing the code. A more robust way to protect your VBA code is to convert the database to an .accde or .mde file, as described in this Office.com article.
Thanks to Kevin Bell on the Access team for his help with this tip, and be sure to keep sending your favorite tips to Mike and Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Since most of the free/inexpensive software for recovering these Password Protected modules and Code use the brute force method, the longer the password the more difficult it is to recover.
Also, using characters in the 128 to 255 ascii range also increases the time necessary to recover the password. One of these programs estimates that it would take 3 years to recover a password of length 10 characters. Although not fool proof, it is certainly a deterrant.
Shouldn't people just convert the database to an MDE/ACCDE to protect the code and other objects?
@Luke: Yes, converting to ACCDE/MDE is the recommended technique for protecting both the code and the database objects. In this case, though, the customer wanted to allow users to add/modify/delete objects, and just prevent accidental changes to the VBA. @Ken: Good info, thanks for posting!
But ACCDE files are not supported with SharePoint.
I have been working with access since a very long time
I have always deployed mde's and now accdr's So users never can modify our source code; however, i have seen that there are ways to overcome this issue. LOOK at how they advertise Supported file formats: MDE files are converted back to MDB format, including VBA source code ADE files are converted back to ADP format, including VBA source code ACCDE files are converted back to ACCDB format, including VBA source code www.everythingaccess.com/mdeconversion.htm
So, i think our files are never really protected. Edwin
Jack - Can you elaborate on that comment? That would be news to me as I've published *DE files to the Sharepoint just fine. Edwin - Yes, Mr. Phillips is very good at what he does. However, two points: 1) To decompile the *DE file is considerably more challenging than decompiling a .NET assembly or .EXE file. This is partly due to the fact that the p-code for VBA is not publicly documented. 2) I would expect this service to be quite expensive. IINM, this is not a program you can download, click "Decompile" and a *DB file is spit out. You send it to him and he does the work for you. So that's quite different from ULS password where it's just a download away. On the bright side - Mr. Phillips has claimed that he requires a proof of ownership before he will reverse engineer. Of course, that is not to say there won't be other unscrupulous characters out there who will not ask. In response, Wayne also offers a means of stripping away the details from *DE making any effort even more difficult: www.everythingaccess.com/mdeprotector.htm But you're right - nothing will ever be fully protected. For someone dedicated enough, it can be broken - what we should be aiming for is to push the required skill to a point that it's just not worth it to crack a database containing last year's shipping orders in comparison to hacking DoD's website. ;) For more details:
This is an excellent tip for any consultant. There are invariably power users that will get into and mess with the code. This protects you and the customer. www.dataplus-svc.com/MSAccess_Developer.htm