This article is a reproduction of the information in the PHS7 help file and it also appears in the PHS7 PDF documentation
Backup program version changes
This document has been updated to reflect changes made to the backup program released in version 7.18502.3.0 (May 2022). If you are running an older version, all the advise is the same and many options are the same, but some options are not available in the older backup and there have been changes to the on-screen messages.
Regular backups are important. It is also very important that backups are transferred to separate media and then stored in a secure location away from your computer systems.
If you don't backup it up, you have to be happy to lose it.
Because the ProMaster Hardware database may be used at any time by a ProMaster Hardware user, you should never copy or backup the ProMaster Hardware database directly unless you can be 100% certain that it will not be used while you are copying it.
The backup program provided with ProMaster Hardware is smarter than a simple file copy. A backup created with ProMaster Hardware backup program may be produced while others are using ProMaster Hardware.
Extending on this, do not backup the database file (the FDB file) directly with a third party backup solution. Only ever use ProMaster Hardware Backup to produce backups, then you may freely backup the resultant files using a third party backup solution.
The ProMaster Hardware backup program does another task that is vitally important to the health of the database while the backup is running. It is responsible for "garbage collection" in the database which eliminates old unnecessary data and therefore controls database performance and bloat. It is responsible also for recalculating index quality which is vital for maintained performance.
WARNING: Live backups made with ShadowProtect or similar when the database is in use are of limited use. The reason why is that they make a point in time snapshot of the database, but do not capture a read-consistent view of the data. If a backup made with ShadowProtect or similar is restored, there is a very good chance that it will be corrupt, and look to the database engine very much like someone pulled the power cord out of the wall. Consider this to be a expensive exercise to repair the database. ALWAYS run the ProMaster Hardware backup program. The backup files produced by the ProMaster Hardware backup can be captured safely by ShadowProtect etc.
To produce a backup:
Save settings and run backupbutton.
The file that the backup creates has a FBK file extension. Should then need arise, the backup program can be used to restore this file to reconstruct your database.
In the normal operation of ProMaster Hardware, the option Perform database maintenance during the backup is an important part of maintaining a healthy and efficient database. The only times you should do a backup with this option turned off is if you plan to discard the original database and immediately restore your backup, or if you need the backup to be performed as fast as possible. This option, while important, does add a small amount of time to the backup process.
Backups can be configured to automatically zip the FBK file into a ZIP file. This is achieved by turning on the Compress the backup flag. Zipping a backup reduces the amount of disk storage required for the backup, but does use more disk space and time during the backup process. Be aware that there is a maximum file size for zip files. Failure to do this may result in an unusable zip file. Unless disk space is is critically low, it is not recommended to use this option as it makes backups significantly slower and the backup file must be extracted in the event that it is to be restored.
The Output additional progress and diagnostic messages option produces messages about the various stages of backup. Many messages are produced and the backup will therefore run measurably slower. There is no need to use this option unless instructed to by ProMaster Hardware support staff.
Backup files (either those with a FBK file extension or the zipped backups with a ZIP file extension) should be copied off your computer onto separate media. Backups should then be stored according to good business and computing practice to safeguard your data investment.
The cost of producing permanent backups is extremely small compared to the cost of re-entering data.
The process of restoring a backup to produce a working database will not overwrite an existing database. If it is your intention to replace your database by restoring a backup you must first locate your existing database and rename it.
To restore a backup:
Selectbutton, and select the backup file (the FBK file) for database. If you zipped the backup, you must first extract the backup files from the zip archive (using WinZip or similar).
The Output additional progress and diagnostic messages option produces messages about the various stages of restore. Many messages are produced and the restore will therefore run measurably slower. There is no need to use this option unless instructed to by ProMaster Hardware support staff.
In the ideal world you would create daily backups.
ProMaster Hardware Backup can be configured to:
To configure automatic backups:
If you want an email notification after the scheduled backup has run, use the settings on the Email tab.
You may need to check with your mail administrator for the settings, and as there is a variety of mail servers in use, each with different characteristics, you may need to experiment a bit to get it right.
|Server||The name or IP address of your SMTP mail server.|
|Port||The port on your mail server that receives the email.|
|Login name||If your mail server uses login based authentication, enter your mail login name.|
|Password||If your mail server uses login based authentication, enter your mail login password.|
|Encryption||Choose if you use an unencrypted mail connection and how the encryption works.|
|Sender's name||The name of the person to appear as the sender.|
|Sender's email||The email address of the person to appear as the sender.
Some mail servers require the sender email to be the same as the SMTP login name if SMTP login name is used.
|Sent to||Put in the email recipients, one per line.|
|Test||Sends a test message using the current settings. Useful for testing before saving.|
If you are using Office 365 as your mail provider, you will need to have it configured to provide the SMTP capability, and there are a number of settings you will need to get correct.
If you choose not to use encryption, Office 365 will need to be configured to use your external IP address as an authorised sender. In this case, the port is likely to be 25. This is not the preferred way to send to Office 365.
If you use encryption, the SMTP server is smtp.office365.com, the port is 587 and the encryption is StartTLS. This is the normal way to do it for Office 365.
Regardless of what you put in the sender's name and email address, Office 365 may override this with the name associated with the "Login name".
If you want to run a program after the backup completes, turn on the "Run" option and select the program to run.
The name of the file created from the backup (fbk or zip) is passed to the program as the first parameter.
If you wish, you may access Windows Scheduled Tasks via your Start button and schedule the program PHS7Back.exe to run at a time of your bidding. If you do that, be sure to start PHS7Back.exe with the command line parameter -auto
Or, take the easy way. When you click on the button Schedule Auto Backup..., ProMaster Hardware Backup allows you to schedule the backup in your Windows Scheduled Tasks. To do this:
If you wish to configure Windows Scheduled Tasks manually, consult your Windows documentation or Computer Consultant for information on how to configure your version of Windows for this task.
Your computer must remain on for Windows to be able to schedule tasks.
Here's a simple rule: No power = No backup.
Just like with a backup file that you create interactively, the backups produced when your schedule software starts the ProMaster Hardware Backup program should be copied to external media for safe keeping.
SCHEDULED TASK USER ACCOUNT
It is strongly recommended that you create a Windows user specifically for running the backup and use that user for no other purpose. The user will need to have permissions to log on to run a batch job, and will need permissions to the folders where the backup files are produced (including delete permissions so old backups can be removed). If you do this, make sure the account password is secure and never expires. It is all too common for users to configure scheduled tasks with an account, such as their own login then at some time in the future change their password. After that the backups will not run as scheduled task no longer has permissions to run.
For security reasons, the ProMaster Hardware Backup program will not allow you to backup a database located on another computer. i.e. The backup must be performed on the server where the database is located.
Always test your scheduled backup by opening your Windows Scheduled Tasks and choosing to run the task immediately and verify that the backup files are produced. Check the task options to ensure that they make sense and that the task will run even if a user is not logged in.