Agency Business Systems, Inc

Backing Up Your Data

I can’t stress enough, the importance of backing up your data on a regular schedule. Equally important is for you to understand that the only reliable way to backup your ABS data is with the ABS Data Backup program. Perhaps you have an automated 3rd party backup system that copies files into the cloud. That’s fine, and even recommended, as long as that system copies the ABS Backup and not the database itself. Using any file system to copy or archive the database while any user is logged in will damage the copy, and possibly corrupt the original data. If everyone is logged out, you might get away with it. But what if someone goes home without logging out? 

The good thing about the ABS backup program is that it can be run while everyone is logged in, and even while they are editing or entering new data. Some people call that a Hot Backup. Our backup program creates a file with a name like ABS3BAK.ZIP. That is the file that should be copied by the 3rd party system. As if Hot Backups weren’t good enough, it gets better.

With the latest release (version, the ABS backup file can be sent to any folder you want. It can even be sent to some of the popular (and often free) cloud storage sites, for example, Dropbox, OneDrive, or another off site location. If there is a Windows path to it, ABS can send the backup there. But that’s not all. ABS Data Backup can be run unattended by Windows Task Scheduler. You can schedule the backup to run anytime you wish. Perhaps you like to backup in the middle of the night. That’s okay. When it finishes, it sends you, or your designated employee an Interoffice Message (Buckslip). That message tells you if the backup succeeded or failed. Once you set it up. it is pretty much hands off.

Okay, we are not done yet. This new backup program can make generational backups. What that means is, you can tell it to keep up to 30 backups before overwriting the backup file. Thirty backups is probably over kill, but you can save as many as makes you feel safe. Each backup file will have a number appended to the end of the file name to tell you which generation it is. For example, ABS3BAK1.ZIP, or ABS3BAK2.ZIP.  If you told ABS to keep 30 copies, when it comes time to make the 31st backup, that file will be named ABS3BAK1.ZIP and will replace the original one with that name.

So, let’s say you’ve told ABS to keep five copies, and to put them in Dropbox. Now let’s say it is a few weeks or months later, and you use Windows File Explorer to look into the Dropbox folder. You will see all five files. In the remote chance that you need to restore, you need to look at the file dates to see which is the most current. That’s because after the first five backups, the old backups will be replaced with new ones.

Scheduling an unattended backup

ABS Data Backup can be run manually, or it can be scheduled via Windows Task Scheduler.  When you run the backup manually, there is a windows that expects you to interact with the program (enter instructions, click buttons, etc). When you want to run an unattended backup, that windows is not displayed. The program thinks there is nobody there to interact with, so it doesn’t try. It just does the backup. There is a special way to launch the program so that it will run unattended. The user manual gives detailed instructions. 

The user manual also gives general instructions on how to setup Windows Task Scheduler. The scheduler itself has changed a little with each new release of the Windows Operating Systems. In addition to the scheduler info in our user manual, there is a lot of good information on the Internet. If you need more than what is available in our manual, do a search for Windows Tasks Scheduler.