Which version of Microsoft Access was your first?

  • Access 2002 (v10) - 2001

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Access 2007 (v12) - 2007

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Access 2010 (v14) - 2010

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Access 2013 (v15) - 2013

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


"Here for a good time"
Local time
Yesterday, 18:49
Jun 22, 2017
Twenty-five years ago today, November 13, 1992, Microsoft's Project code-name Cirrus was officially released to the public as Microsoft Access 1.0, marketed as the "Business Information Access Program plus Menu Developer's Kit". (Ahh the unlimited potential in a career as a professional Menu Developer.)

An introductory price of $99 USD (eventually marked up to $299) bought you Eight glorious 1.2MB capacity 5½" diskettes, plus a 360KB (almost 10MB total!), plus over 1000 pages of printed documentation. Alas, powerful software required a powerful system: Microsoft recommended an Intel 80486 processor, 4MB of RAM and minimum 14MB Hard Drive running Windows 3.0. A separate version of Access 1.0 was available for MS-DOS 3.0 (although the focus was on communication, with limited database functionality).

More powerful than Microsoft Works database, yet far less expensive than SQL Server, Access provided an affordable option for students and business seeking a simpler way to create and manage relational databases. Quickly knocking out the competition: Paradox, dBase and even Microsoft's recently acquired FoxPro, and helping Microsoft towards full-filling Bill Gates' unrealistic-sounding prediction of "a computer on every desk and in every home."

Microsoft was nearing 12,000 employees, and the debut of Access helped push Microsoft to 1992's record-breaking sales of almost $2,800,000,000. It's unknown how many developers were involved in the creation of Access 1, but it is rumored that even Bill brushed up on his coding skills to assist during crunch time as the release date neared.

A few days after it's release, Access was showcased at the '91 Comdex in Las Vegas. In an interview with The Computer Chronicles, Bill praised Access's graphical interface.

I received a promotional copy of Access 1.0 but it remained unopened for years. Even as a geeky teen, relational database development seemed daunting. Little did I know the impact that the application would have omn my life. I don't know what happened to that original copy, but a sealed copy of 1.0 sells can sell for $100's on auction sites and others. I began using Access professionally in restaurant management, followed by automation of countless tedious reporting tasks for a government Lottery authority, including a live feed from thousands of gambling machines, and constantly analyzing for irregularities and potential fraudulent behavior.

A few years later, I was leading a small team of Access developers automating performance reporting, payroll, forecasting & statistics over thousands of telephone agents for a major American Long Distance company. My most "bittersweet" development was an individualized automated report sent to the each manager on the first of every month, listing names of up to 50+ phone agents who were making the least money for the company, and thus were to be fired that day. I was commended for the huge savings generated by this reporting, while VBA silently pumped out a list of people who's lives were to be ruined that day. On the other hand, I also received financial recognition from the company VIP's when they saw and circulated screen shots of a color pie chart automatically updated every few seconds. What these "executives" failed to notice was that the chart was nothing more than an experimental learning exercise, and was comprised of completely irrelevant metrics, like comparison between the number of agents currently on a call versus the number of seconds past midnight versus the number of files in my temp folder. It took minutes to slap together but sadly created excitement exponentially more than the 6 months of 18 hours days put into the rest of the project since data "isn't fun". That day I learned a lesson about the importance of formatting.

I've found countless other uses for Access over the years, both at home, work, and even for purely recreational reasons (like my recent Analog Clock, just to see if I could, which hasn't been touched since!)

Being self-taught, almost exclusively by Google + Forums, with Access World Forums easily topping the list (although I didn't register until this year, the original purpose to properly thank ridders for providing the exact code I needed at the exact right time, and kicking my development-self back into high gear, giving back when I can). The incredible dedication, knowledge and patience of he and so many others (such as you!) on sites such as this one, is inspiring and overwhelming.

What's your Access story?

  • When and how did you become involved with Access? How did you learn? Your favorite Access resources of past & present?

  • What was your biggest project? Your favorite? Most trivial?

  • How will you be celebrating Microsoft Access's 25th birthday?

Source, more Access history, and further reading:

- Microsoft Access on Wikipedia

- A Brief History of Access

- Access History on UtterAccess

- Access version & packaging history

- Access at Comdex '92, on Youtube

- Advertisement in PC Magazine, Feb 1993

- History of Microsoft 1992

- History of Microsoft on Wikipedia

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Immoderate Moderator
Staff member
Local time
Yesterday, 20:49
Feb 28, 2001
First exposure to Access:

I was working at a place that had an SQL-based database product but it was before the SQL '92 standard came out. It was Digital Equipment Corporation's Datatrieve product for VAX. I wanted to learn more and found a couple of DOS-based products. There was Borland's Paradox for DOS, which I liked. But then I got a copy of Access for Windows (Win 3.1) and it was far superior. Still, I had occasion to use Paradox for Windows at work and I can tell you this: When it came to Windows Event management and interactions, Borland screwed the pooch. Once I saw what Access could do with windows (and Windows, big-W), I realized that Borland had maybe only about half the ability that Access had. Since I was always a nuts-n-bolts kind of guy, the ability to see every event and to control just about all of the properties was a big selling point to my way of thinking.

As to my first project, it was a collection inventory and manager. I had a gazillion old comic books but had not preserved them well. I ended up selling off most of what I had and got some premium prices for a few rarities but they weren't in "perfect" condition. Still, I was impressed because I managed to throw together the inventory, data entry form, and both detailed and summary reports grouped by title in one night. Data entry took a few more nights, but it was up and running in a very short time.

I moved to Ac97 when I upgraded to Win98. Stayed there for a long time.

Then out at work we changed from a low-end office package called "Enable" to the Microsoft Office Suite including Access. Because I had some SQL and Access experience, and because another employee had started an inventory for us for our CPUs, disks, and other devices, I got called in when that guy left for greener pastures. I had his mess to clean up and got most of it right, though there was an occasional abomination that I couldn't fix without a MASSIVE rewrite that the boss wouldn't accept.

I've also used Office at home in my hobbyist writing past-time. I use it to keep track of my characters so that I know when they were referenced in each of my books and I also know what happens to them. That way I don't have conversations today with characters I've killed off two novels ago.


Former Staff Turned AWF Retiree
Local time
Yesterday, 21:49
Dec 26, 2002
I used Access 97 all the way through 2005.


Local time
Today, 02:49
Jan 14, 2017
My introduction to Access was slow and very protracted.
In fact I resisted using it at all for around 10 years until I had no choice.

In the early 90s, I used some simple flat file 'databases' including Filemaker.
When I needed something with more power to manage & analyse school assessments, Paradox was suggested to me.
I tried it & slunk away utterly unable to get anywhere with Paradox.
I didn't even try Access as by then databases had a bad name as far as I was concerned
So I went away & learned how to do highly complex 'pseudo databases' in Excel with multiple cascading user forms & lots of VBA.
I wish I could still do things in Excel to the same level now ....

Roll on a few years to 1999 & I got a contract to write ICT training materials for secondary Science teachers.
I had to provide both software training and supply detailed examples that could be picked up & used by teachers in the classroom.
The brief required a fully featured interactive online course covering all office programs as well as a selection of specialist Science software.
I got £5000 & had less than 4 weeks to write it all (on top of a full time job) It seemed like a lot of money almost 20 years ago but considered on an hourly rate ... what a sucker I was!
Anyway Excel / PowerPoint / Word / Publisher were easy to do as were other Science programs because I had lots of examples to draw on. I was on a roll.
Then I had less than a week left and no idea what to do about Access which i'd never used.
So I was given 3 tables of data on Lepidoptera (butterflies & moths) and told to make them into a fully featured database!
I also knew nothing about Lepidoptera ... and still don't.
Somehow, I made the deadline finishing at dawn of the final day and promised never to use Access again

And I didn't .... until 2005 when I volunteered to organise & run all aspects of a school enrichment (activities) week (again on top of a full time teaching job as a deputy head)
I knew I couldn't do this in Excel & so learned to use Access the hard way - working out each step slowly & painfully ...with a deadline that couldn't be avoided. As nobody at my school knew much about Access, I went online & used various forums for information - mainly AWF & UA as a guest.

The database I created that year worked ... somehow ....though the code was very clunky.
1000 students & 150 staff had a brilliant week & I was totally exhausted but on a high ....
The enrichment week became an annual fixture
I refined the database massively for the following year & its still in use in several schools today (and available for sale through my website ... blatant plug!)

Anyway I got totally hooked & never really looked back with Access.
I went on to develop several other databases for schools and after retirement decided to set up in business selling some of these via my ... (sorry !)

The strange thing is I stopped using forums such as this almost completely for several years.
Early this year, I finally joined AWF & several other forums & have hopefully begun to return some of the enormous help I got early on.
Like many others, I've found that answering questions on forums has also helped reinforce my own knowledge.
I've plundered my own work for example code & sample databases and there's lots more still to come ... you've been warned!

My biggest project - the monster schools assessment & reporting database with 300+ tables & 400K lines of code that is still being developed today.
My most trivial was probably the 'pointless' database JC433 which I posted here (and which i'm not sure anyone understood at the time)
There are several other nice little samples there - some of which are also fairly pointless

And, sorry Access but I missed your birthday.
Still its good to know your now 'silver' like quite a few of us here .....
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