Background: I have an Access-software (~30 simultaneous users) with split front- & back-end, both UI & DB running on Access-files. Most important features for me are reports & printing, with emphasis on fast development and deployment to the users (updates 1-3 times per week, using as little time as possible). The environment is Win7 + Access 2010. Updates are handled with .BAT-batch file. The database might be upgraded into SQL Server Express or something later this year.
Problems: The Access development UI is getting slow, mainly due to linked database tables, which are files located in network drives (and one sharepoint list). Also, I'm aware that Access is not ideal database for multi-user stuff. Then there is cosmetical stuff like hiding the main Access window. I have code for it which works great in WinXP, but in Win7 the background no longer stays hidden. Overall, the whole software is not very professional.
What I need: I need to be able to do fast development and deployment without any admin rights in Windows 7 environment. Clients need to be able to update their UI with minimal (if any) effort, meaning no installers for them.
Obviously Visual Studio might be logical next step, but I have so little experience with it I don't know how fast can the development be there? Then I've heard of things such as AppJS, but does that work well with devices (printers)? Also, all data is confidential, so everything should work without outside servers and dependencies (future database server will be inside the building). Otherwise, I would love web-browser environment, since it could be used and developed from anywhere.
What options do I have and why, or should I stay with MS Access?
[Edit #2] 8 years later I just wanted to comment for other readers that we migrated the database to SQL Server and it has been smooth sailing. Currently we're using the latest MS Access as UI and SQL Server 2019 as backend database with some encrypted columns too. Later we will be migrating to Azure database. New applications are mainly using PowerApps in Office365 with Sharepoint Lists as database (with also the option of migrating to SQL Server). Highly recommended.