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Access to SQL Server Migration – Convert, Migrate & Enjoy

Dexter Morgan | Modified: August 24, 2023|Access, sql server | 10 Minutes Reading

MS Access to SQL Server migration tool

The Access to SQL Server task is what users are concerned about when they want to scale up their business & enable new capabilities. However, the problem is that most users do not have the knowledge to execute such tasks.

Evidently, without the right knowledge of tools & techniques, even the easiest tasks can seem difficult. Moving further, understanding a user query can help us analyze the sincerity of the situation to a great extent.

User Query – It’s been a month that I’m unable to export Access table to SQL Server as I’m planning to expand my database & its capabilities. Even after searching a lot, I still can’t get a reliable solution that provides 100% results. Please suggest to me the sure shot solution.
– Daniel Wood

The suffering of this user can be felt by all of us. Therefore, this article is going to explain the reasons, prerequisites, solutions & their advantages/drawbacks in detail.

Why Migrate Access to SQL Server Database?

It’s always important to find the WHY before finding the HOW. This is why knowing the reasons can help us get a clear image of why users are trying to shift.

Better Transactional Logging: SQL Server is an ACID-compliant RDBMS. Whereas MS Access is not even an RDBS, so forget about ACID. ACID is the gold standard for establishing stable & consistent database transactions. Hence, better transactional logging.

Size & Capabilities: Putting it simply, the MS Access database only allows to create a database with a maximum size of 2GB. At a time, it supports only 255 concurrent users. However, SQL databases can store data in TBs without such limitations.   

Modern Features:  MS Access does not possess table triggers, stored procedures, etc features to search data faster. Also, it lacks several modern-day features. But as SQL offers all these, it’s quite obvious for users to shift.

Data Integrity: Security is also a major reason why users learn how to export Access table to SQL Server database. SQL Server can integrate with Windows Systems Security to provide much better & vigorous security standards. This is what the MS Access database lacks.

Performance: When it comes to performance, SQL provides enterprise-level performance ultimately giving a boost to productivity. Users can customize their server as well for better performance but Access fails here as well.

Trust Score: SQL often improves the IT infrastructure of an organization & the rugged servers are meant to withstand the humongous workload easily. MS Access on the other hand is not that capable of providing reliability.

Also Read: Convert ACCDB to MDB File Format

Pre-Requisites to Convert Access to SQL Server – Must Read

It’s not that easy to directly execute the entire operation without any planning. Therefore, the below pre-requisites checklist can help users minimize the chances of errors. In a nutshell, this is a blueprint of the entire task.

  • Evaluate & Filter Your Data – The very first thing users need to understand is that not all data is important in a database. Whenever we shift our houses, we get rid of unwanted furniture, appliances, etc. This is why users should evaluate their data & should delete useless unwanted data files.
  • Make Space in the Destination – Now, that users have a clear image of the data & its size, they must ensure that the SQL database in the destination is having enough space o accommodate the files.
  • Always Take A Backup of Files – There can be a few methods to migrate Access to SQL Server & users may choose the wrong one. To tackle any emergency situation, it’s always recommended to have a backup of the database files.
  • Purchase the Required Licences – Now, that all the precautions are taken care of, it’s time to purchase the license for the SQL Server database if not done yet. It provides the support of SQL which is a must.
  • Don’t Forget to Run A Pilot Project – Run a demo migration or conversion project to check if everything is happening just as planned. Any challenges must be observed here to make a counter plan.
  • Track Your Migration Throughout – Finally, users can begin the migration but they need to track the entire process every moment to determine the smooth conversion of ACCDB files for the SQL database server.

MS SQL Server Vs Microsoft Access Database – Key Difference

Before we finally start with the solutions, users need to quickly understand the differences that MS Access & SQL server have. It can help them to think one last time, if it’s really important to go ahead with Access to SQL Server conversion project.

Name MS SQL Server Database Microsoft Access Database
Type of Database Server Based Database Desktop Based Database
Database Model Relational DBMS DBMS
Relations By Keys in Table – Direct ACE (Access Database Engine) – Indirect
Released On 1989 1992
Operating System Windows & Linux Only Windows
Language Support C#, C++, Delphi, Go, Java, Javascript (Node.js), PHP, Python, R, Ruby, Visual Basic C, C#, C++, Delphi, Java (JDBC-ODBC), VBA, Visual Basics.NET 
Capacity Handles High Volume Traffic Handles Low Volume Traffic
User Limitations No Limitation on Users & Logins Only 255 Concurrent Users
Size Limitation No Limitation on Data Size 2GB Size Limitation
Recovery Method Automated Backup Manual Backup

Now, that we are aware of both the databases in depth, let’s quickly move to the solutions.

Convert Access to SQL Server Database Using Automated Method

The best & most ideal solution that users can opt for is the automated solution. SysTools Access Converter Software is the most trusted tool with pinpoint accuracy. This is the reason why Microsoft’s MVPs even recommend this.

Download Tool Purchase Now

Download this tool & then follow the below-mentioned steps carefully to get your desired results:

Step-1. Open the Tool & Browse .mdb or .accdb files from the computer.

click browse

Step-2. Hit the Recover button to initiate the migration of Access DB files.

click recover

Step-3. Click on the Export button & Select SQL Server as destination.

set export format

Step-4. Select Schema Options and Database Objects as per need.

select schema options

Step-5. Hit the Export/Save button to convert Access to SQL Server DB.

Click Export/save to migrate Access to SQL Server

Now, Let’s go through the features that the automated tool offers users. This can help in getting a deep insight into the capabilities of this method.

  • Export Access data to MDB, ACCDB, Excel, & CSV files.
  • Convert Tables, Queries, Forms, Reports, Etc data items.
  • Migrate the Access directly to the SQL Server databases.
  • Fixes the corrupted Access database files before import.
  • Customization of procedure is there with filters & features.
  • Easily import the deleted files of database without hassles.
  • Offers a trial version of the tool for testing all its capabilities.
  • Supports Windows Operating System 11 and below versions.
  • Support Access 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, & 2007 versions.

Manually Import Data from Access to SQL Server

The manual method to migrate Access to SQL Server can be a little hectic & especially new users must be attentive here. This is because of the several complexities present here. One single step can result in unwanted consequences.

As we know, there are scenarios when the MS Access database can not directly view tables in the database. Therefore users need to export these files first using the below steps. However, if the Access database can view these files directly, users can skip these methods & jump directly to the primary conversion task.

  1. Enable the TechData.accdb File (without activating form file).
  2. Click on Access Database under Move Data in the tools tab.
  3. Now go through your wizard to Split Database & move to the last step.
  4. In the end, Open *_be.accdb File & read files easily without any errors.

Convert Access to SQL Server With Import/Export Wizard

Step 1. Start the Import / Export Wizard for the Microsoft SQL Server database.

Step 2. Set Data Source with Microsoft Office 12.0 Access Database Engine OLE DB Provider.

Step 3. Adjust all Properties & the Location in the Data Source field.

Step 4. Set Blank Password and Enter your Blank Username for login credentials.

Step 5. Verify the Connection & after that Click OK to proceed.

Step 6. Set Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server in the destination.

Step 7. Select SQL Server Name from dropdown menu or users can enter it manually.

Step 8. Select the Copy Data option from the tables or views option here.

Step 9. Now, Finalize Tables to Copy, and Edit Mappings respectively.

Step 10. Conclude by Hitting the Start the Import option. Click Finish to end.

Drawbacks of Using Manual Methods – Avoid These Risks

Now, it’s time we talk about the drawbacks that are present in the manual solution for completing Access to SQL Server project. As of now, there are plenty of shortcomings present in the manual solution. However, we’re only going through the verified & most common ones.

Poor GUI and Process: There’s no interactive GUI present here & users even feel its need. This significantly reduces the user experience of the method in comparison with the expectations. Evidently, a confused mind is more likely to do mistakes.

Data Integrity Hazards: Security is something that users can not take a chance at. This method does not assure users of the safety that it provides. This is the reason why experts advise them to avoid this manual method as much as they can.

Time-Consuming Task: If users want to import data from Access to SQL Server using query or such manual methods, it’s going to take longer than usual. Moreover, in the case of large database files, this time even increases & making it an inefficient solution.

Lack of Modern Features: Even in the 21st century, the manual method does not support customization. There are not any filters that users might need, no scanning modes, multiple formats options, etc present here.

No Guaranteed Results: Even after going through such a complex procedure without modern features, there is no surety of getting the expected results. The procedure might fail due to small or big technical issues at any point in the conversion.


Finally, now users can say that it’s very easy to convert Access to SQL Server database. However, the only condition is that users should be aware of the right tool & technique. Even though both methods work well, still there’re major differences in the process, user experience, & end results.

As per experts’ recommendations, users’ testimonials, & Microsoft’s MVPs advice, using the automated tool is so far the right choice for users. Rest, they can choose on their own.


Q-1. Can you convert an Access database to SQL Server?

Ans: Yes, it is possible using the Import/Export Wizard manually. However, for an error-free process, MS Access to SQL Server migration tool by SysTools is the ideal solution.

Q-2. Is MS Access a relational database like SQL or not?

Ans: No, MS Access is not a relational database. It is a DBMS (Database Management System)

Q-3. Is the automated tool free or paid?

Ans: Well, the automated tool provides a demo version for free. Although, the full version is very economical & comes under $100 only & makes Access to SQL Server tasks seamless.

Q-4. What’s the major benefit that we can get from SQL?

Ans: If users migrate Access database to SQL Server database, they can mainly focus on scalability, performance, & concurrency. SQL is far ahead of MS Access in these parameters.