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Microsoft Access: "Query is corrupt" error after November 12, 2019 security updates

Microsoft did it again! The most recent security updates for Microsoft Access break basic functionality in Access badly.

With the recent Microsoft Access security updates released on November 12, 2019, Microsoft rolled out a new bug. Update queries that update a single table and have a where condition will fail with the error "Query is corrupt" (VBA runtime error 3340).

This error will happen once you installed the most recent update for Microsoft Access. Depending on the Access version you have got installed this is:

  • Access 2010 - Update KB4484127
  • Access 2013 - Update KB4484119
  • Access 2016 - Update KB4484113
  • Access 2016/Office 365 - Version 1910 (Build 12130.20344)
  • Access 2019 - Version 1808 (Build 10352.20042)

Microsoft acknowledged this error and marked it as fixed already. – That was quick. – However, there's a nasty fly in the ointment! The bug-fix updates resolving the error will only become available on November 24 (estimated date, Office 365, Monthly Channel) or even on December 10 (all other versions/channels).

[Update 2019-11-19]: Microsoft has come to its senses and reduced the unreasonable time frame for the fix to this problem. The patch KB4484198 fixing this problem for Access 2016 (MSI installation only!) was released on November 18, 2019. Ebo Quansah (Microsoft Access Program Manager) commented the release of the patch with the statement: "[...] patches [for Office 2010 and 2013] will be following shortly. For O365 Monthly Channel, or Office 2016 C2R installs, an update will be also be available very soon."

Yesterday there also was an update for the Office 365 Monthly Channel (Version 1910 (Build 12130.20390)) that fixes this bug. The official description of this update plainly states “Various bugs and performance fixes.”.

This is very good news and a very welcome sign that Microsoft cares for the Access developer community and tries to minimize the pain of this glitch.

[Update 2019-11-28]: Finally, the much-anticipated updates for the MSI installations of Access 2010 (KB2986256) and Access 2013 (KB2965317) are available since late last night. The 2013 update is only for the MSI installation. If you try to install this update and encounter a message “There are products affected by this package installed in this system.”, then you have got a Click-to-Run (C2R) installation of Access 2013 and need to wait a little longer for a fix (estimated: December 10 2019).



Update a select query instead of the base table

The only workaround to prevent the error know to date is to rewrite the failing queries to not update the base table directly but a select query returning the data from the table instead. – While this sounds very simple, it is still difficult for a complex application with many queries that needs to be distributed to a large group of users.

Block/Uninstall the November 12 updates

The security vulnerability fixed with the update are fairly minor in my opinion. The bug caused by the update is much more severe. So, my recommendation is to block or uninstall the November 12 security updates for Microsoft Access.

If you didn’t install the offending update, yet. Disable Office updates (O365) or block this update from installing in Windows Update.

If you installed the offending update already, you’ll have to uninstall either install it manually for MSI installations or revert to an earlier version of Office 365.

More information

Currently the best source for further information on this issue beyond Microsoft’s own pages is this discussion on Stackoverflow.

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