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My client has an old SharePoint 2010 farm that we plan to shut down soon. Users have created Access applications that are connected to SharePoint lists. Some of these are very old and not stored on any SharePoint server. I've sent multiple emails to the users asking them to request data migration, but no one has responded, yet I see in the Audit logs that these lists are still being used. I suspect they are not even aware that the Access app they are using stores data in the SharePoint lists.

I have two questions about this:

  1. When I lock this farm, what is going to happen to the Access applications? I found some articles on the Web that warned about Access data being corrupted. Has anyone done this before? Any idea of the risk?

  2. Is there anything that I can run to find the Access applications in use? I have already run PowerShell against the SharePoint farm, and the Access apps in question are absolutely not stored in the farm or on the servers themselves. There are many shared network drives in use so I suspect the Access apps are there.

I can reach out to someone on Networking if necessary and ask if they can run something against other servers/shares to find the databases. Does anyone have recommendations about this?

Thanks in advance!

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Well, I have never done that but I really doubt that the Access file will be corrupted. You can read out what you can expect in this link: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/troubleshoot/access/retrieve-sharepoint-list-in-access.

  1. Typically, Access or Excel, or any other application that retrieves data from SharePoint List will become unusable but the file will not be corrupted. Once you put the server back on, they will be able to work it out again. If you set the SharePoint server database as read-only (which is a tedious job), they can see the data but not create or modify it.

  2. There's nothing you can do. You can try track each and every network traffic on SharePoint's Web Front End server (again, it's too tedious), which machine IP calling which service on exactly what SharePoint List. But there will be a lot of noise too since the query will also be made by the SharePoint server itself for other purposes (i.e., Search Indexing or any other thing).

When things like this happen, I usually do take off my SharePoint from the network but keeping it alive within the internal network for maybe another 3-6 months. If someone is complaining, then take action on that specific part and migrate.

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  • #2 above gave me an idea -- I remove permissions from everything on that SharePoint farm except the list where I see the activity, which is clearly coming from an access database. I can do this with PowerShell, iterating through everything in that Farm. (Everything has been migrated anyway.) Then I observe network traffic on the WFE. That may tell me where the database is. – KCRyan Jan 30 at 19:37
  • Why are you persistent to find out where the database is? If you want to extract the content of SharePoint List, you can extract it out to Excel right away which then you can process it further (i.e. import to Access). – Radityo Ardi Feb 1 at 5:10
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    The entire database is not in SharePoint. They used SharePoint for a few lists but not the entire database. However I did track down the person who created it, and he has agreed to back up his own database. – KCRyan Feb 9 at 16:24

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