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Access is finally Large Address Aware

Updated: Jan 4

The cover image shows the request on the former UserVoice page from 2017 to make Access Large Address Aware (LAA). 4 years ago, I gave an online talk to popularize the topic and the self-help to set LAA. The UserVoice wish got a lot of votes and Microsoft put LAA for Access on the roadmap in 2020, but then postponed it due to Covid err... other priorities.

Now, with the current version 2310 of Office 365 and 2021, 2019, 2016 C2R, the trumpets can finally announce its arrival. Except for the LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel, aka Volume License) version that only gets security fixes.

What does this mean?

If you use the 32-bit version of Access, you may see error messages like these on various occasions:

Most of these errors are triggered when the 2 GB Virtual Memory that 32-bit applications have in Windows by default has been used up. The higher the Access version, the more likely this is the case. 64 bit applications don't have that problem.

Setting the LAA switch allows the 32-bit application to use 4 GB of virtual memory. This means that most of these errors no longer occur. So, if you are affected by such problems, you should definitely update!

Seeing is believing

I did a fresh install of Access 2016, 32 bit, deliberately of the oldest version for which Microsoft has now set the switch, to see if it works. The original version without updates and without a database open had approx. 1.5 GB of free virtual memory. Here is the measurement after I updated it to the current version 2310:

3.6 GB free virtual memory - thanks to LAA

But who is still affected by 32 bit problems in 2023?

I often have heard that everyone has certainly switched to 64-bit Office/Access by now. Therefore, I included the following item in the questionnaire at the German Access developers conference AEK25 in October 2023:

What are the current percentages of 32-bit and 64-bit Access in your work?

96 developers responded, with this result:

64 bit: 29% 32 bit: 71%

So, 32-bit is still very topical and the Access team was right to enable LAA after all.

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Nov 26, 2023

I'm in the transition to 64 Bit, even I prefer the 32 Bit, but there are more and more users starting to install the 64 Bit. So I had to do so. Now I'm running a VM on my PC to have an 2016 32 Bit Office available to support both sides.

Karl Donaubauer
Karl Donaubauer
Nov 26, 2023
Replying to

I still have all kinds of customers from Access 2007 and mdb to 365, 64. Therefore, my setup has been the other way round for a few years now: I use Access 2010, 32 bit, for most of my customers because I can serve almost everyone below, equal and above that. For a few customers who use new features such as modern charts or who have pure 64-bit programming, I use a Hyper-V with 365, 64 bit.


Richard Rost
Richard Rost
Nov 24, 2023

Thanks for the update. I switched everything to 64 bit a few years ago but I get LOTS of students asking for help because they're still running 32.

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