Connecting to MS Access Files via JDBC in 64-bit Java

In 32-bit Java, the technique for connecting to a Microsoft Access file via JDBC connection is well-known and available as part of the Sun JDK. There are a number of errors, though, if you attempt to use a 64-bit version of Java that are not as well documented. This article points out some of those issues and a working strategy for how to successfully connect to a Microsoft Access file via JDBC in 64-bit Java.


1. Review of the 32-bit Connection Strategy

The well-known syntax for connecting to an Microsoft Access file via JDBC is as follows:

1final String fileName = "c:/myDataBase.mdb";
2Connection con = null;
3try {
4    Class.forName("sun.jdbc.odbc.JdbcOdbcDriver");
5    String url = "jdbc:odbc:Driver={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};DBQ="+fileName;
6    con = DriverManager.getConnection(url,"","");
7} catch (Exception e) {
8    // Handle exceptions
9    ...
10} finally {
11    try { if(con!=null) {con.close();} } catch (Exception e) {}
12}

If you are using the Sun JDK, then the driver will be available in the classpath automatically. Notice, I make sure to close my connection object in a finally block as all good JDBC developers know to do.

2. Errors in the 64-bit World

Attempting to run the proceeding code returns the following error when using a 64-bit JDK:

[Microsoft][ODBC Driver Manager] Data source name not found and no default driver specified

If you would prefer to stick with the 32-bit version of the driver, there are two options available:

  • Use the 64-bit Java installation but run java.exe with the “-D32” flag.
  • Use a 32-bit Java installation

Both of these solutions limit the amount of memory a Java application can use.

3. Adapting JDBC to 64-bit Java

If you would prefer to use the 64-bit Java, there is a solution, although for some users this may require removing Microsoft Office.

Step #1: Download the Microsoft Access Database Engine 2010 Redistributable, specifically the AccessDatabaseEngine_x64.exe file.

Step #2: Install the Microsoft Access Database Engine. If you are running a 32-bit version of Microsoft Office, you will likely get the following error when you try to install it:

You cannot install the 64-bit version of Office 2010 because you have 32-bit Office products installed.

At this point, you must decide whether or not to uninstall the 32-bit version of Microsoft Office. Newer versions of Office, such as 2010, often contain both 32-bit and 64-bit versions on the installation DVD, although the 32-bit version is used by default when installed via the AutoRun process. In this case, you would first uninstall the 32-bit version of Office. Restart the computer. Then, ignore the AutoRun on the DVD and manually open the setup executable in the x64 directory. After a 64-bit Office version is installed, continue with the Microsoft Access Database Engine installation.

Note: If you are installing a recent 64-bit version of Microsoft Office, you may be able to skip installing the Microsoft Access Database Engine, as it is often included in the Office installation.

If a 64-bit version of Office is not available, then you will unable to run the 32-bit version of Microsoft Office alongside the 64-bit Microsoft Access Database Engine, and must decide which is more important.

Step #3 Update the JDBC code to use the following revised connection string as follows:

1final String fileName = "c:/myDataBase.mdb";
2Connection con = null;
3try {
4    Class.forName("sun.jdbc.odbc.JdbcOdbcDriver");
5    String url = "jdbc:odbc:Driver={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb, *.accdb)};DBQ="+fileName;
6    con = DriverManager.getConnection(url,"","");
7} catch (Exception e) {
8    // Handle exceptions
9    ...
10} finally {
11    try { if(con!=null) {con.close();} } catch (Exception e) {}
12}

After making these changes, you should be able to connect to your Access database in 64-bit Java.


Last modified: Friday, 29 January 2016, 3:11 PM