Access slow to open

Copper Contributor

I have 4 HP laptops - all configured identically with Win-10 Home updated fully to current 1903 plus all have Office 365 under a single Microsoft Account Subscription (so all identical). The laptops range from 2 years old to brand new. The faulty one in question (below) is 12 months old.


With one of those laptops (only), of the 4 ways I know of to open a database file, 2 of them take anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. The other 2 ways of opening a database file each take 1 to 2 seconds. the 4 ways are as follows:

  1. Open Access and select the file by browsing or from the list of recent files opened (FAST)
  2. From an already open Access database, execute code to open another DB (FAST)
  3. From Windows Explorer, double-click the DB file (SLOW)
  4. Right-Click the Access icon on the task bar and select a previously pinned file (SLOW)

It seems to me that the first two are using MS Access to open an Access file, whilst the other two are using Windows to open the Access file. So I suspect that the problem is actually in Windows, not Access.


The problem only started a few weeks ago, so up till then on that PC there was no issue, so it looks like an update issue, but it is only affecting one of the 4 laptops. The other 3 have no trouble at all in opening DB files by any of the 4 methods above.


I have spent about 14 hours on the phone with both Office and Windows support staff (level 1 and 2 and also the S/W development team) over the last several weeks, but none of them has been able to resolve the issue.


In the process they have completely reinstalled Office 365 and completely reinstalled Win-10. Neither action worked. They also set up a separate local account on the laptop, but when logged in under that new user name, the problem still existed.


The support team has now given up and asked me to seek help from this community. I find that startling, to say the least: can't Microsoft fix a technical issue in one of its installations? That is unbelievable!


But, here I am - seeking help. Does anyone have any bright ideas? 


The reason it is so important for me is that I earn my living by designing and building MS Access DB solutions for small business people to manage their businesses. I have been doing that for over 20 years. And to have to wait 5 minutes (instead of 2 seconds) for a system to open is unacceptable. And sometimes the methods that work fast are not appropriate (like when I need to hold the shift key down as I double-click the file in the Windows Explorer list).


Any help and/or suggestions would be most welcome. Please don't be concerned if I don't answer you immediately. I am in Sydney Australia, which is a different time zone to most of the people using this service, I would guess.



23 Replies

@CustomMadeDB At first ... i would go with the matter if one laptop is 10 years old and the other is brand i7 from the past would outperform some low end new processors and then there other things that make the single thread performance.

This belongs to the CPU area.

Moving to memory...well here things are better in terms that newer rams are usually better...not dramatically especially for laptops but you want a good scan with MemTest+ to ensure they are are error free

Now its time for the these days if you don't have SSD or better M2 you are matter what....HDTune should give you a first glimpse of what performance differences you have

OS ....laptops some times have some strange issues with drivers..while they share the most with desktops tiny changes in firmware make the drivers a big case...check for latest BIOS  + drivers

Antivirus & background process....well probably here is the culprit...make sure that paths to Office are excluded and for testing just try to disable everything...

Since you already spend 14 hours i would propose the fastest way to check....

1st check memory

2nd check HDD ...if you find that one drive reads/write in the 400-500 Mb and the other in 30-50Mb/s you know that you are comparing oranges to apples.

3rd find some stressing utility for CPU (IntelBurn)

4th take a good backup of your system

5th ...don't reinstall or repair Windows...just install fresh..clean the drive...let it update and find whatever it needs...don't install ANYTHING extra

6th just install Office....on default...preferably 32bit if you are mixing development.

Report back


P.S. curious how you develop Access on Laptop.. i have tried it a couple of time and it was a pain.....nothing beats a big screen and a wireless mouse ....i am also a Ms Access developer-freelancer ...cheers from Greece

@CustomMadeDB To add a crucial mid step ...just before step 5 ...make sure you stripped you Laptop from anything extra...USB drive,printers,NAS....

When you start step 5 it will be only the Laptop ,the charger and the USB stick with the Windows 10 installation media + Office and maybe some test LOCAL Access databases.

It would be a good idea to also connect the laptop to the router directly via cable NOT wifi.



Thanks for taking time to give me such a detailed response. One thing I don't understand is, if the access files can open in 1 or 2 seconds when opened from within the Access program, then I doubt that there is an HDD or processor problem. It is only when I try to open an Access file by double clicking it in the Windows Explorer list, or when selecting it from right-click on the task bar that it takes ages to open. One way takes 2 seconds the other ways can take up to 2 minutes, and never less than 20 to 30 seconds. I have a feeling it is a Windows problem, in which case totally reinstalling windows (clean), as you suggest, is probably the answer.


Re the laptop use for DB development, I have never found this to be a problem, as most of my clients use a laptop or small screen device some of the time, so I tend to format all of my systems for that format. It just means that when they use larger displays, the have a lot of spare space on the right.


I do also use an attached display on my laptop in my office, so that helps. What sort of systems do you develop? Mine are all small-business related; marketing, invoicing, production control, purchase orders, etc.

Well ... i just tried to cover every single option...since you already have spend too much time without results which points to "strange"...
As for my systems i develop...lets say i develop pretty much everything..."whatever the client wants"
I have a great deal of experience in enterprise scoped applications as i worked for many years for a big company which used Access as its heart of IT...a huge Access application a mix between ERP & MRP....too many years in maintaning,optimizing,expanding, adding features , connections with 3rd party ERP....



  •  I've had a similar problem in a PC with Access/Office Runtime installed. Can you check if this is the case?
  • Have you tried disabling antivirus / antimalware software? Maybe they check opened file via explorer but not via contextual menu


I don't think it's the anti-virus, as I have 4 laptops configured in identical manner: same Windows 10, same Office 365, same Anti-virus. Only one of the laptops has the problem I am describing.



If all four laptops have the same Win10 build and Access C2R version, then it must be some Windows setting that's different, e.g. trust settings. Are you sure all four laptops have the same Windows and Office updates installed?


I agree - I think it is a Windows problem too. If I open MS Access program first and then select a database file to open, it opens from there immediately (2 - 3 seconds), but if I try to select and open an Access DB by selecting it from the Right-Click of the Task-Bar Icon list, or by double-clicking the file in the Windows Explorer list, it take more than 30 seconds to open - sometimes up to 5 minutes. As I understand it, the first two methods are Office actions, whereas the second two methods are Windows actions.


And, yes, all 4 laptops are using the same version and build of Windows Home (fully updated) and they are all using the same version of MS Office (all downloaded from the same MS Account), so they too are identical (and fully updated).


MS Office Support gave up on this and transferred my problem to MS Windows support. They quickly said it was Office not Windows problem and sent me back to Office, who sent me back to Windows, who then gave up completely (I was at Level 3 support by then) and told me to ask my question in this community forum. So, far, no useful answers...


Note that in the above process, Office and Windows were both completely reinstalled and configured on my problem laptop, but the problem persisted.




Hmm okay, have you checked the windows file associations?FileAssoc.PNGFileAssoc2.PNG


Yes - they are all associated correctly.



Notice that your two ways that open fast is because Office C2R was already launched and active, whereas your other two are slow because the C2R application virtualization is not active (launched).  I dont use any C2R Office versions because they are slow and constantly sending telemetry to Microsoft, so I have no way of reproducing your issue. Have you tested your slow methods with and without internet connection? 

@CustomMadeDBIt could also be there's a conflict in the windows registry as to which version of Office/Access is installed, especially if you have previously installed earlier versions. In your shortcut, try using the full path of msaccess.exe when launching you application.



I am also experiencing this issue, wherein if I open the .accdb files it would
take a whole minute or sometimes more than 2 mins! Made me frustrated resulting to
format my PC and started fresh and go through installation hell! 

After installing all my essential application for works and tried again opening the .accdb files everything back to normal. So O added android emulator for my gaming pleasure, while gaming with my android emulator... boss called me (wink2) and ask me to check something with the .accdb file and I notice that the SLOW opening of .accdb came back to life again... it took me sometime to notice but when I close my emulator and open the .accdb boom! it fast again..  maybe the memory / cpu cache is drained by the emulator which take a toll with the .accdb cache?

I will try to lessen my emulator cpu usage  and will check if it would fix the problem if im using 

my emulator and accdb at the same time.

Maybe the case for you is VM?

Just a quick update, after change settings with my emulator..
it seems that the cpu usage was the problem, the default settings was using 2 CORES out of 6 Cores (i5 8400). after changing to one and retain the memory usage to 4GB. my emulator is still smooth and my accdb problem is gone. So win win situation :D

I am having exactly the same problem. I recently bought a new alienware computer running office 365. My accdb files now take 10 seconds to open now compared to 1 second on my old pc. This only happens when I open the database from the accdb file or right click the shortcut menu. If I open access first then open the same file from the Access open file menu, it opens in 1 second. If I save the accdb as a accde it then opens in 1 second. It happens on all the accdb files regardless if they run on the C drive only, or a split database with the backend on a server. I have tried reinstalling and disabling antivirus.


I have exactly the same problem, several Windows and Office reinstalls have not resolved it. Come on MS when will there be a solution for this?



Looks like that's a big, "Not any time soon." from Microsoft.


What emulator are you using?  I occasionally run BlueStacks on my Alienware Area51M laptop but not often.

The problem that I am having is similar but not exactly identical.  The issue occurs on my laptop even if I have rebooted and not run BlueStacks at all.

My specific occurrence of this issue is as follows:  I open an existing Access Database using Explorer and double-clicking on the database file and the database opens rapidly.


However, if I open a subsequent Access Database (using the same method, I have never tried opening from within Access because I thought it would close the already open database) it can take extremely long to open.  For instance, I am currently waiting over 26 minutes for the second database to open.


At first, I thought the second database might have gotten corrupted somehow (a common Access "thing") but if I open the second database FIRST, it opens rapidly.  The issue doesn't seem to be sp[ecific to any particular database but more of a "first one to be open is fine" and "any subsequent database to be opened is a victim of whatever is going on here.  Hmm.


I have not reinstalled Windows on this laptop but I see others have tried that without success anyway.  I have reinstalled Office 365 but like the others before me, no success in obtaining a resolution to the issue.


I wanted to provide an update on my original post.


Reading through this thread I noted that the original problem for the poster was that he experienced different speeds opening an Access Database depending on the method used to do so.


I tried opening Access first, then opening the database from within Access.  The first time around, it did what I expected which was that it closed the current database and opened the second one as the only one.


I then opened a new instance of Access from the Start Bar and opened the second database from the new instance while the first instance still had the first database open.  My second database opened immediately.


So for me, the issue is now resolved but it does seem odd that "how you open a database" makes a difference in performance when no other Office product has that same issue.  For example, opening multiple Word, Excel, Publisher, or PowerPoint files from Explorer doesn't seem to have a performance hit yet Access seems to experience a very serious performance hit.


Take care.