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Will Access 97 run under Windows 7 Professional?

Discussion in 'Software' started by JamesP, May 29, 2010.

  1. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class

    Hello All,

    The question is in the title
    I have an extensive Access Database Application written over 15 years ago that I use in my business on up to 6 computers accessing a server. This application was written in Access 97.

    We are currently running XP Professional on all our computers and Access 97 runs perfectly enabling us to run my Access Application.

    The application does all that we need and I don’t feel inclined to re write it in a more recent version of Access or indeed in Visual Basic – it would take me a year at least!

    But we do need to upgrade some or all of our computers. We could “downgrade” to XP but would perhaps prefer to move forward on the operating system. But if Access 97 won’t run under Windows 7 Professional we will for the foreseeable future stick with XP.

    Long explanation for a short question.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    Well, you say you prefer to move forward on the operating system so isn't it time to also get a newer version of Office? If you're talking about business, you should be able to lower your cost of Office software by buying under a volume license agreement.

    Word 2007 can recognize Word 97 files and Excel 2007 can recognize Excel 97 files. And, I'm quite sure later versions of Access can also open Access 97 databases. So, can you explain why you think you would need to rewrite your database application?
  3. DavidGP

    DavidGP MajorGeeks Forum Administrator - Grand Pooh-Bah Staff Member


    It should do, maybe not perfect so if you have a newer Office version then maybe worth if possible converting the older Off 97 Access DB to Office xx version, but I know in some cases its not possible (we have a few DBs in work that wont run ok in anything but Access 97) but try this HERE
  4. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class

    Thanks usafvetran and Halo

    Actually we are using the latest (almost) version of Office for everything – except the Access Application.

    As you might imagine I have looked at allowing later versions of Access take care of “upgrading” my application to a later version but it throws up too many errors the correction of which is more of a chore than just loading up an older version of Access and letting that take care of the database application.

    I understand the backward compatibility of Office applications but my Access application is an extensive suite of tables, forms, queries and a stack of code linking it all together. The front end sits on the individual computers and the tables reside on the server. It is not a trivial application. There was a time when I intended to offer it for sale to similar businesses but due to other pressures and the problems of support I never quite got there. It is very specific to my type of business. The user is completely unaware that it is an Access application.

    I am approaching retirement and frankly I don’t want to start coding again – at least not something as extensive as that at the moment.

    I have not kept up with developments and although I dallied with Visual Basic a few years back I could see a steep learning curve that back then I did not want to cope with.

    There will come a time (when retired) when either I will recode the whole thing in VB (as a hobby) so that my successor (son) will be able to use it or he may chose to purchase an off the shelf package and cope with the shortcoming as it applies to us. We could not afford to pay someone for bespoke software.

    You are correct the tables are accessible from later versions. As far as I know old Access queries work just as well under later version of SQL. It’s the highly developed forms and the code behind them that upsets later versions of Access. Just as a further point of interest – although running under Access 97 the application automatically writes form letters including formatted quotation details in the latest version of Word.

    So hopefully you will see that my desire to upgrade the OS can (for the time being) only happen if I can continue to run Access 97.
  5. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    Several possible options come to mind but I honestly don't know for sure whether any of them would be a viable solution for your needs.

    One idea dual booting Win XP and Win 7. In other words, if you get Win 7, don't remove Win XP. Install Win 7 in a dual boot configuration.

    Second idea: try running Office 97 in Win 7's compatibilty mode.

    Third idea: If upgrading your OS to Win 7, remove Win XP rather than create a dual-boot configuration. Then, install Win XP as a "virtual machine" using VM software such as VMware Player or VirtualBox.

    Any of these options would, I presume, involve some learing curve for all users.
  6. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class

    There are a few interesting ideas there usafveteran.

    For clarity - we are not running Office 97. We are running Office 2002 which includes Access of course. But in addition we run Access 97 on its own alongside Office 2002. The OS is XP Professional SP3

    It is only my Access application that uses Access 97.

    So referring to my original question...

    I would like to purchase new computers with the latest operating systems and possibly the latest versions of Office then in addition run Access 97 as well.

    If that won’t work (if Access 97 will not run under Windows 7) I shall buy new computers with XP installed.
  7. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    Assuming you already have discs for Win XP, I would definitely go the VM (virtual machine) route. That way, you could use your current Win XP OS and also have Win 7. But, that's me and I realize you may not want to go this route.
  8. theefool

    theefool Geekified

    Or XP mode if you are using windows 7. Personally, I prefer VMware Workstation, but it isn't free. Also, 7.1 of workstation is coming out soon, and it is way nicer than XP mode. But, I can't really talk about it. ;) Though, VMware player might also be beneficial.

    For XP mode:

  9. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class

    Thanks guys for your input


    I really am not into what appear to be very technical and elegant solutions. Frankly what you have proposed is not something I would want to do simply because I am not sufficiently interested in experimenting with these things and although I regard myself as being computer literate I don't think my technical ability would be advance enough to allow me to get embroiled in what appear to me to be complicated solutions.

    If Access 97 (on its own without the rest of Office 97) will not run under Windows 7 then I will stick with XP as long as I can.

    My original question was "Will Access 97 run under Windows 7 Professional?"

    It runs perfectly under XP. Is there not a simple "yes" or "no" answer to this apparently simple question?
  10. abekl

    abekl First Sergeant

    The rest of office 97 runs well with windows 7, so I see no reason why Access wouldn't work as well.
  11. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class


    I have decided to postpone the purchase of new computers so this problem will not be tested for some time.

    Thank you all for your interest and your help.

  12. BrianCFX

    BrianCFX Private E-2


    Read your question and all the responses.

    Let me say I am in exactly the same position as you are and for probably the same reasons. So I understand your problem 100% . And like you have been looking for solution and dreading the day we could no longer get an XP machine. I suspect that day is 'virtually' here

    Virtual machines on Win7 didn't do it for me and my next step was to bite the bullet and get the most important parts of the application rewitten in PHP on MySQL and put it in the cloud. I think I'll do that anyway. I think Microsoft has let us all down badly and the sooner we get away from Bill the better.

    In the mean time I'm pinning my hopes for a native Win7 solution to our problem of running Access 97 on this post I found on the web http://nwsmith.blogspot.com/2010/07/running-access-97-on-windows-7.html

    My programmer intends to check it out. Hope it provides some help for you.
  13. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class

    Hello Brian,

    I perhaps should have updated this thread some time ago.

    The laptop that I was using with XP went to meet its maker around last Christmas so I had no option but to replace it. I opted for a 64 bit processor running Windows 7 Extreme (which I quite like). Actually I only ordered Professional but it came with Extreme!

    So I installed Office 97 (as well as Office 2002) and surprise surprise the Access 97 application works perfectly.

    So now I can upgrade other computers as it becomes necessary and postpone any rewriting to the time when I am retired and treat that as a hobby.
  14. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class


    I have just looked at


    Yes Windows 7 does work OK but I did have to download some file or other – just can’t remember what!

    The files noted in the Blog above don’t ring any bells.

    I can remember though that it was not much of a chore getting things working.

    I could research this further if anyone asks
  15. BrianCFX

    BrianCFX Private E-2


    What a relief it is to hear of your success.

    There's a whole army of '97 luddites, like us, out there looking for a solution to this problem. And they're only going to become more urgent and fretful as XP is no longer available.

    So you know that whoever stumbles across this thread is going to hound you for more details. With due respect, let me be the first. No pressure- of course -just gentle encouragement from another late retiree.

    I have a Win 7 'Ultimate' machine arriving early July and will give it a go myself. I hope to duplicate your success and will document and post the details. In the mean time any tips you could offer would be most welcome.

    Cogratulations on your success from another '97 Luddite'.
  16. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class

    Hello verysimpleveryeasy,

    That all sound fine buy where and how do we run the Office Workgroup Administrator to create a new system.mdw file?

    Perhaps I should know but it escapes me for the moment.
  17. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class


    The story so far…

    My extensive Access front end was written in Access 97 in 1997. Shortly after we upgraded Office to whatever was on offer back then. When attempting to get Access to upgrade my suite of forms, queries, macros, and code it came up with so many errors that the task of correcting them manually was a nonstarter so we continued to allow Access 97 to run alongside whatever version of Office that we had installed.

    And we have done that ever since –often with some difficulty getting Access 97 to run with the various versions of Office. See the previous entries in this thread.


    But we must move on. Yesterday I installed Office 2010 on my laptop under Windows 7 and formally Office XP and stared the work of getting Access 97 to work alongside Access 2010. No joy – One or the other would run but not both together – There might be a solution but never mind that for now.

    As I had some time to spare I thought, “What the hell, let’s see what happens if I let Access 2010 attempt to convert the 97 front end.” I ran the routine which took only a minute or two and no errors were reported. I started the front end and I could not believe my eyes – it worked. It obviously accessed the data files on the server and output form letters to Word 2010. So far I have not found any area where it is not working even though the tables on the server are still in 97 format.

    Well that’s not quite true. The original front end ran so that the user was completely unaware that it was running under Access 97. It is now obviously running under Access 2010 so that the user could “mess” with it if he wanted. But I am sure that making adjustments to correct that will not be too onerous. The point is that the conversion was, from an operational point of view, completely successful. Perhaps I should have tried this years ago. But the first attempt back in 1998 or ’99 was such a disaster that I thought any further attempt with a much later version of Access would be pointless,

    I hope this helps someone in future.
  18. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    Thanks for posting that update. You just increased the value of this discussion thread. I'm gonna click the Thanks button for you.
  19. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class

    OK everything did work – THEN…

    I proceeded to remove Office XP and Access 97 from the computer. This caused a problem. My front end is used to automatically prepare quotations by exporting standard text and quote details into a Word Document ready for printing. It can also be used for immediate access of previously issued Word documents from a client screen.

    After removing Office XP the transfer of quotes to Word did not work. This is because the code used to do that would not work with Office 2010. Whilst Office XP was still on the system it worked by opening Word XP, but after removing it didn’t open Word 2010

    Fortunately to make the correction only requires the rewriting of about 3 lines of code in two locations which I will do as soon as I figure out what to replace them with – I’m a bit out of practice.
  20. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class

    Further update and a new problem.

    The previous post we in error. Shortly after posting, whatever was stopping the transfer of information to a Word 10 document cleared and it is now working perfectly – well almost.

    The new problem is that it is interminably slow.

    The old set up using Access 97 with various versions of Office was quick and there was never any delay that prompted frustration. Now under Access10 things that used to be almost instant take several seconds. Even moving from one record on the database to the next one takes perhaps 10 seconds or more.

    What could be causing this?

    Just in case you have not read the rest of this thread, the Access front end is on a number of laptops in my office and the data tables are on a server running SBS 2003. The other laptops are still running Access 97 with Office XP and are not affected by slow performance.

    Could it be that the tables are still in Access 97 format and the Access 10 front end is having difficulty getting through? Has there been some change in the SQL since Access 97 that could be causing the problem?

    Any ideas will be appreciated.
  21. pwillener

    pwillener MajorGeek

    That is quite possible. If the database is still in 97 format, it may need to be converted for every access. Almost all Office data storage format has changed, so I guess it is likely that Access storage format has also changed (but I do not know for sure).

    I have not read the entire thread, but have you tried to test convert one of the tables to Access 2010, and see if you can access them faster?
  22. JamesP

    JamesP Private First Class

    Thanks pwillener

    As a way forward your proposal had not escaped me. But I can't just convert the tables because it would almost certainly upset the other users who are still on Access 97 and Word XP. I also need a few hours of free time to do it.

    I need to convert a duplicate set of tables to test it out. The follow on - if it works - is that we would need to update the other operating systems and Office versions. It's the cost of progress.

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