[ISN] Microsoft Database Loses Records.

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Wed Aug 26 1998 - 14:40:17 PDT

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    Forwarded From: "Jay D. Dyson" <jdysonat_private>
    Microsoft database loses records
    By Mike Ricciuti
    Staff Writer, CNET NEWS.COM
    August 25, 1998, 1:10 p.m. PT 
    Developers are furious over a flaw discovered in Microsoft's Access
    database that could cause a loss of data and scrambled records.
    The problem, discovered by a developer last week and since reproduced by
    many users, affects the way Access handles changes to database records.
    The flaw is particularly thorny because it can corrupt database records
    without users realizing that anything wrong has happened.
    Developers fear that the bug could require reprogramming to applications
    already in use and that existing databases could be corrupted. Even worse,
    the problem could result in improper billing, diagnoses, or other
    potentially disastrous legal issues, according to developers.
    A Microsoft executive today confirmed the existence of the bug and said
    the company has devised a temporary solution while it determines whether
    the problem affects multiple versions of the popular database program. The
    company will also post a bulletin, referred to by Microsoft as a
    "Knowledge Base article," to its Web site later today detailing the bug.
    Newsgroup postings indicate that the bug causes edits made on one Access
    database record to be saved to another. In other words, in a typical
    business application, the bug could cause information associated with a
    particular customer or medical patient to be attached to the wrong
    Access is used as the underlying database in many business applications
    and is particularly popular with consultants and systems integrators
    building applications for small businesses, such as doctors' offices and
    insurance agencies.
    The Access bug has been the subject of more than 100 postings to the
    "comp.databases.ms-access"  Internet newsgroup since last Wednesday. 
    Opinions on the bug's potential effects vary widely in those postings.
    "This is by far the most heinous and destructive bug I have ever seen," a
    developer said one posting.  Others warned that the flaw may easily go
    undetected in many applications and have openly questioned whether Access
    should be use used for commercial applications until it is repaired.
    "Can you afford to trust your data to it [Access], if the wrong client
    gets your address, your donation, your invoice, your order, your merge
    letter?" one developer asked rhetorically.
    The problem can be easily re-created, according to one Access developer
    who has posted step-by-step instructions to demonstrate the problem.
    John Duncan, a Microsoft Office product manager, said the company became
    aware of the problem several days ago and has come up with a work-around.
    The company is also considering issuing a patch to Access 97, but no final
    decision has been made.
    Users report that the bug affects Access versions 2.0, 95, and 97.
    However, Duncan said Microsoft has been able to reproduce the bug only in
    Access 97. He also declined to say how many Access users have contacted
    the company to report the flaw.
    Duncan said the problem occurs under a specific scenario. First, a person
    must be working with a long set of records in an Access form. Users report
    that the flaw affects forms displaying more than 200 records. 
    Duncan would not confirm the exact number of records. For the flaw to
    occur, users must delete a record from the record set, use Access's Combo
    Box (a feature intended to ease access to database records) to edit
    another record, and then save the changes. Access applies the changes to
    the record just before the intended target of the change, Duncan said.
    "If a user were to delete a record at the beginning of a record set and
    then edit a later record without using the Combo Box, the error probably
    will not occur," Duncan said.
    He said the workaround is a simple process. First, users need to go into
    Access's Design View and right-click on Combo Box, which displays a dialog
    box. Then, users need to type one line (me.requery) into the dialog box
    and save it.
    Access 97 is sold as part of Microsoft's Office 97 desktop application
    package, and is used by millions of people worldwide. Overall, Office
    Professional 97, of which Access is a component, is the third best-selling
    software title in the United States, according to market researcher PC
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