|A Page from the Access Database|
While I wan't enjoying holiday events with friends and family, I was working on my great database match-up project. With a couple of days of long hard work planned, I anticipated finishing it in time for New Year's Eve festivities.
Then at about ten o'clock in the evening New Year's Eve Eve disaster stuck. My family tree program totally freaked out, sent me a strange message, and then shut down. In most cases, a instance like this is not a cause for panic. Usually a deep breath, a wiping of the hands on the pants legs, and a click to reopen the program solves the problem. However, such was not the case on December 30th.
The family tree program opened, but gave me two messages. First that the program had not closed down correctly and that I might have to compact the file. (Compact file - what is that?!). Second that the file was already open or was an invalid file tip. (umm - I just opened it, so how can it be already open and INVALID?!!! - it wasn't invalid two seconds ago). The file did open and all the data appeared to be present, but every time I tried to add something new the program shut down. Additionally all attempts to compact the file crashed the program as well. Something. Was. Wrong.
The next day I repaired the program with the original disc and then did some searching for the second error on the Internet. First I found this helpful post from Virginia Family Tree Genealogy. The post's author suggested exporting the file that wouldn't open. Seemed like a good idea. However, the program wanted to compact the file prior to export. When the compacting still wasn't finished 22 hours later, I decided it wasn't working. Why did I let it go so long? My file was huge, over 10 years old, contained information on nearly 4000 people, and had never been compacted before. I had no idea how long it might take. The software manufacturer on one of their pages said it might take "some time."
I found a page from the manufacturer here and followed their directions on working with corrupted files. I finally gave up and decided to use the back up from December 29th. I also discovered that while I couldn't export the entire file, I could export individual families. I did so for the families I had been working with on the 30th and merged them with the new file. I compacted the new file (following the helpful hints posted here) and it took about 20 seconds for a 25 MB file to become a 15 MB file. Apparently, somebody's definition of "some time" is different than mine. By the end of New Year's Day, I was back up and running.
I was surprisingly calm throughout this entire event. The most important part of my data is in Access and that wasn't bothered at all. I could use that information to recreate any changes I had made to the family tree file on the 30th. My data in the family tree program seemed to be there, I just had to get it out. Also, I had a backup that was less than 24 hours old. If I hadn't had a recent backup I probably would have cried for days. At the same time I was trying to solve this crisis, I visited the Microsoft Fixit Solution Center and used it to tweak Window and I repaired Microsoft Office. My computer is running much better now, so I suppose one could say the whole episode was a blessing.
While I was slowed by the corrupted files (and a post-New Year family visit), I did finish the project on Saturday, January 5th. Now on to the next projects ... I hope they don't end being as "easy" as this one.