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How to refresh links in a runtime application in Microsoft Access

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This article was previously published under Q291264
In a run-time application, the front-end and back-end databases must be stored in the same folder. Even though you can change the default installation path of the back-end database to, for example, $AppPath\Folder1, there is no way for Access to refresh the links in the front-end to match the new installation location.

One way to work around this behavior is to programmatically refresh the links by using ActiveX Extensibility Objects (ADOX) after the run-time application has been installed. The following is an illustration of how to implement this technique. Please note that this article assumes that the back-end databases are stored in subfolders under the front-end database.
  1. Make sure you have the latest version of the Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) installed on your computer. MDAC can be found at the following Microsoft Web site:
  2. Set a reference to Microsoft ADO Ext 2.5 (or later) for DDL and Security.
  3. Create a new database and name it FrontEnd.mdb.
  4. Import the Customers and Employees forms from the sample database Northwind.mdb into FrontEnd.mdb.
  5. Create a new database and subfolder under the folder where the FrontEnd.mdb file is located, for example, Folder1\Backend1.mdb.
  6. Import the Customer table from Northwind.mdb into Backend1.mdb.
  7. Create a new database and subfolder under the folder where the FrontEnd.mdb file is located, for example, Folder2\Backend2.mdb.
  8. Import the Employee table from Northwind.mdb into Backend2.mdb.
  9. Open the FrontEnd.mdb database and create a new module. In the module, paste in the following code:
    Option Compare DatabaseOption ExplicitPrivate Declare Function apiSearchTreeForFile Lib "ImageHlp.dll" Alias _        "SearchTreeForFile" (ByVal lpRoot As String, ByVal lpInPath _        As String, ByVal lpOutPath As String) As LongFunction RefreshLinks()    On Error GoTo ErrorHandler            Dim objCat As New ADOX.Catalog 'Define the ADOX Catalog Object    Dim objTbl As ADOX.Table 'Define the ADOX Table Object    Dim strSearchFolder As String 'Folder to Search in.    Dim strFilename As String 'Db Name of the Linked Table    Dim strFullName As String 'Path & DB Name of the Linked Table.    Dim strSearchFile As String 'The new path of the database.        Dim blnTablesNotLinked As Boolean 'Determines if links are valid        'Open the catalog    objCat.ActiveConnection = CurrentProject.Connection        'Loop through the table collection and refresh the linked tables.    For Each objTbl In objCat.Tables                ' Check to make sure the table is a linked table.        If objTbl.Type = "LINK" Then            strFullName = objTbl.Properties("Jet OLEDB:Link Datasource")            strFilename = Mid(strFullName, InStrRev(strFullName, "\", _                            Len(strFullName)) + 1, Len(strFullName))            strSearchFolder = CurrentProject.Path            'The following line of code attempts to refresh the link.            'If the source cannot be found an error is generated.            'Please note that this code only checks one table to determine            'whether or not the links are valid.            objTbl.Properties("Jet OLEDB:Link Datasource") = strFullName                        If blnTablesNotLinked = False Then                Exit Function            Else                'Set the search path to the path of the current project.                'The assumption is that the linked tables are located in subfolders.                strSearchFile = SearchFile(strFilename, strSearchFolder)                objTbl.Properties("Jet OLEDB:Link Datasource") = strSearchFile            End If        End If    Next        MsgBox "The links were successfully refreshed!!! "ExitHandler:     Exit Function     ErrorHandler:     Select Case Err.Number        Case -2147467259            blnTablesNotLinked = True            Resume Next        Case Else            MsgBox Err.Description & " " & Err.Number            Resume ExitHandler    End SelectEnd FunctionFunction SearchFile(ByVal strFilename As String, _            ByVal strSearchPath As String) As String    'Search the folder for first occurrence of the source databases.    Dim strBuffer As String    Dim lngResult As Long    SearchFile = ""    strBuffer = String$(1024, 0)    lngResult = apiSearchTreeForFile(strSearchPath, strFilename, strBuffer)    If lngResult <> 0 Then        If InStr(strBuffer, vbNullChar) > 0 Then            SearchFile = Left$(strBuffer, InStr(strBuffer, vbNullChar) - 1)        End If    End IfEnd Function					
    This function checks the first linked table in the database to determine if the links are valid. If the links are not valid, the function searches for the database and refreshes the links.
  10. Create a new macro with the following properties, and name it AutoExec:
       Action: RunCode   Function Name:  RefreshLinks()   Action: OpenForm   Form Name:  Customers   Action: OpenForm   Form Name:  Employees					
    Note that you can also call this function in the Open event of a hidden Startup Form.
  11. Build the package for the run-time application. Remember to add "Folder1" and "Folder2" to the respective installation locations.

    For Access 2007 and for Access 2003, add the back-end files in the "Additional Files" section, and then provide respective folder names "Folder1" and "Folder2" in the Install Subfolder column.

    For Access 2002 and for Access 2000, add "$(AppPath)\Folder1\" and "$(AppPath)\Folder2\" to the respective installation locations on the Install Location page.

  12. Deploy the run-time application.
When the application starts, an hourglass indicates that the links are being refreshed. The Customers and Employees forms will then open with valid data.
For more information about how to refresh linked tables, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
209862 How to relink back-end tables with the common dialog control in Access 2000

Article ID: 291264 - Last Review: 06/27/2007 15:22:35 - Revision: 4.2

Microsoft Office Access 2007, Microsoft Office Access 2003, Microsoft Access 2002 Standard Edition, Microsoft Access 2000 Standard Edition, Microsoft Office Access 2007 Developer Extensions, Microsoft Office Access 2003 Developer Extensions, Microsoft Office XP Developer Edition, Microsoft Office 2000 Developer Edition

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