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Back it Up!

By SharpeSoft Staff |

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CATEGORIES: Feature Focus |Tips & Tricks

Your database is an organized collection of company, job and resource data that forms the informational foundation of your Estimator system. All of your company information, current and historic job data, and costing data for labor, materials, equipment and other resources are stored there. Workweek defaults, bonding schedules, cost codes, your subcontractors – virtually everything you use to build your estimates - resides there. Your database is a “living” information bank that changes, grows and improves as you work. It is one of your company’s most valuable assets. Which is why it is imperative that you protect your data by backing up your system on a regular basis.

Fortunately, database failure is rare, but it is not uncommon. If your existing database becomes corrupted and you need to restore, you will regret not having recently backed up your data.

Remember, the backup file you use for the restoration is only be as timely as your last backup. If it has been six months since you last backed up your system, all of the work you have done since then will be unrecoverable.

If you are lax about backing up your database, you risk losing weeks, months or even years of important data. That is why we recommend that you back up your system at least once per week at minimum, and daily if you use your system a lot.

 

Backing Up Your Database

Fortunately, backing up is easy, so there is really no reason to put it off. 

In Estimator, simply press the F12 command key (or go the Utilities menu and click Backup and in the sub menu that opens, click Backup Database).

An information window will open with details regarding your backup file location when running on a network server. Once you have read and understand the backup information, you can bypass this message screen in the future by clicking the Don't show this message again check box.

When ready to continue, click Close and the Database Backup window will open.

In the first two fields of the backup window, enter the Name and Description for your backup. Move to the Destination field and enter the destination folder in which the backup file will be stored, or use the search button to select the destination path you want.

Also, note that you have the choice to either overwrite an existing backup file, or append the existing backup with the current backup.

The Overwrite selection will simply replace the previous backup file with the new one. Selecting Append allows you to maintain an archive of your backups, giving you the option to restore to earlier versions if necessary.

Check Database Integrity

This tool checks your current database for errors before performing the backup, ensuring that you have a clean backup file if it becomes necessary to restore your database.

If you do not want to run the integrity check, leave the box unchecked in the backup window. Click Start and your backup will begin.  

When you select the Check Database Integrity First option, the Database Integrity Check window will open.

In the Admin security mode panel, choose either Windows authentication or SQL Server authentication and then enter the appropriate login and password. 

To begin, click Check Database.

For each error that is detected, the system will display a message similar to the SQL Statement Error shown here. Click OK to continue checking your database for further errors.

Once the diagnostic is complete, if errors have been found a confirmation window will open which displays the file location of the analysis report, and gives you the option to send the report to SharpeSoft support, not send the report and continue with the backup, or open the report’s file location. 

Clicking Send Report automatically opens your installed email client, creates a message addressed to SharpeSoft Support, and attaches the error report. In the email window, add any additional comments or details, click Send Report, and SharpeSoft Support technicians will have the report in moments. 

Send Report is the preferred selection, as it alerts SharpeSoft technicians to the specific errors in the database, which can help in repairing the database so that a clean back up can be created.

Note - This utility can also be run by itself without having to run an actual backup by clicking Check Database Integrity in the Utilities menu > Backup sub-menu.

If no errors are detected, the Database Integrity Check window will close and you will be returned to the backup window where you will click Begin to run the backup.

Backup Reminder

Since your database is the most important part of your Estimator system, we highly recommend that you activate the backup reminder in your system Preferences. When activated, this notifies all users when they log into the system if the database needs to be backed up.

Simply go to the Defaults menu > Preferences > Settings window and check the box for Notify users when database has not been backed up in:  In the time period drop menu on the right, select the time period you want and then click Ok. The next time you log into the system, Estimator will tell you if you have not backed up your system within the designated time period.

Users who are authorized to perform backups can then click the Backup Now button in the Backup Warning notice, and follow the backup procedures as discussed above. Users who do not have authorization should notify their system supervisor that the database needs backing up. 

Security

If you want to eliminate unwanted backups, you can limit the users who have access to the Database Backup window by pressing the Ctrl+F8 keyboard shortcut while in the window.  The Set Access Rights window will open and you can choose which users or user groups are allowed to back up the database.

We’re here to Help

Of course, it your database has become corrupted and you don’t have a usable backup, it still may be possible to repair. If that is the case, or if you would like help with backing up or restoring your database, just call SharpeSoft Support.

For more information, refer to your system Help manual.