A Word About Backup

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A Word About Backup


You may spend many hours entering data into VMS (and other programs).  It's always frustrating to lose valuable time by accidentally deleting files, catching a computer virus, or suffering a hardware failure.  If you've been operating VMS for six months (or even a week!) think about the time you've spent entering data, then think about the tedium of re-entering that data simply because you didn't maintain a backup.  Computers are mortal machines (some more than others) and all computers will fail eventually (some sooner than others) so back up your data frequently!


The likelihood of data corruption in a single user environment is minimal.  The likelihood of data corruption in a networked environment is increased by the competency of your users (properly closing modules, sharing records, properly quitting VMS) and reliability of your network.  In any case, backing up your data is never a waste of time.


If your data file (default_data.mdb) is regularly backed up in a separate location (another computer, backup media, etc.) you'll be able to recover and use VMS after any manner of temporary or permanent computer failure.  Windows provides a suitable backup utility, and other third-party programs are available.  However VMS data is not large by modern standards and is easily duplicated and migrated without a backup utility.  External hard disks offer great storage capacity.  You may also backup to CD-R/RW, DVD, Pocket Drives, Zip drives, and other similar hardware.  Floppy disk backup is time consuming, rarely sufficient (because file size is inadequate) and floppy media is quite volatile. 


Backups are created automatically with various modules of VMS whenever data structure is changed through the update process (a revision update after a VMS update is applied), automatic database optimization is performed or you choose to make an ad hoc backup from the Database Maintenance module.


To begin your backup open the Vessel Information module, click the Maintenance, Backup and Upgrade button to invoke the module illustrated at left.  Then click Make Data Backup to create a duplicate of your Default Data file.  


The backup of your Default_Data file will include your business name, today's date, the hour (h), minute(m) and second(s) that the backup was created.  The backup file can be found in the VMS Pro default data directory (C:\Program Files\VMSPro).


So your default data file backup might have a file name like:


Default_Data_Balmy Palms Yacht Charters_11.19.2005_hr11m29s36_.mdb


A long name, perhaps, but fully descriptive and unique.  However, because it's so easy to make backups with VMS you might be tempted to make and keep tens or hundreds.  This is probably overkill, although boats don't usually sink because they carry too many anchors, neither will your computer be killed by too many backups.  Probably the best advice is to make a backup and move it to a different physical location or computer, deleting older backups as newer ones are added.


If you need to use this file for recovery (such as destruction or corruption of the vessel's primary data file you should:


1) Rename (because it might be recoverable, preferred) or delete your Default_Data.mdb file, then


2) Rename the backup, as in the following example:


Default_Data_Balmy Palms Yacht Charters_11.19.2005_hr11m29s36_.mdb

should be renamed to



Finally, you'll need to re-link to the Default Data file, even if you were using that file when this process began.