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IT’S ONE of the basic and most important rules of operating a computer:
do a daily backup. But it’s a rule that many people overlook, only to come
to grief when their machinery crashes and they lose the data upon which their business and their livelihood depends!

Computer backup is the storing of data from your computer onto recording media other than the hard disk, to guard against the data being lost or destroyed as a result of system crashes, computer viruses, etc. Backing up should be done at the end of each day’s trading.


HOW TO DO THE BACKUP

There are many methods available to backup your computer: the traditional medium has been the floppy disk, but these are becoming obsolete and it is almost impossible to purchase a new computer with a floppy disk drive.

Nowadays it is more common to do backups on CDs, DVDs or a USB key. CDs and DVDs must be rewritable, ie, have RW as part of the product name, otherwise they can be used only once. A CD-RW will hold only about 700 megs of data, while a DVD-RW can hold up to 4 gigs.

Make sure you have one for each day of the week and that they are clearly labelled with the day on which they are to be used. You should keep your backups either off-site or securely on-site in a fireproof container.


THE USB KEY

The newest technology for computer backup, and the one which we think is the easiest and safest for you to use, is the USB key. This is a tiny but powerful drive which fits on a keychain and which can hold up to 16 gigabytes of data. The key is plugged into your computer through a USB connection, where it operates as another drive on the computer. While it is plugged in you can edit, save, delete, or add files directly onto the key drive, just as if it were your hard disk. You then remove it and have your data safe and secure.

USB keys are faster and easier to use than DVDs, although perhaps easier to lose! However, CDs and DVDs need special burning software, whereas USBs do not and are more reliable.


ONLINE BACKUP

Another form of computer backup is online backup. This stores your files online and you never have to remember where you put a disk or key or worry about physical damage to your backup media. You can access your files online at any time to restore your data.


CHECK THAT IT WORKED

While it is important to do a backup it’s just as vital to check that it actually worked. In the case of a backup that hasn’t gone through, ignorance is definitely not bliss! See below for full details on how to check the backup.

It’s important that you check the backups at least once a week and to replace your backup media on a regular basis; we suggest at least once a year.


BUILT-IN SAFETY NET

ROCKET also provides a safety net, a built-in, automatic back up. From version 2.05 onwards, when you enter ROCKET for the first time every day the program will automatically take a backup copy of your data and store it in a folder on the hard drive.

But bear in mind this auto backup is only a supplementary feature for your own backup; the data is on your hard drive and if the hard drive dies as part of a hardware problem then the auto backup goes with it. See below for how to access and check that ROCKET’s auto backup is working.


CHECKING THAT THE MANUAL BACKUP IS WORKING

To check that the backup CD/DVDs or USB keys are working, insert them into your pc and open under Windows Explorer; make sure that you see the following (see screen):

  • ROCKET_data.mdf
  • ROCKET_log.ldf
  • (a folder called) ROCKET

Ensure that both the ROCKET_data and ROCKET_log files are date- and time-stamped for when you did the back up. This is done by right clicking on either the data or log file and selecting Properties. The Modified date should match the date of the back up (see screen).

If your backups do not contain all the above files/folders, or your files have an old date and time stamp, your backup could be in trouble.


CHECKING ROCKET’S AUTOMATIC BACKUP

To check that your automatic ROCKET backup is working correctly, open Windows Explorer and navigate to:

(SQL2005)
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Backup\ROCKET

or

(SQL2000)
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL\Backup

Here you should see the seven files similar to “ROCKET_db_201008171515.BAK”; each file will have a date and time stamp. In this case the backup was completed on 17 August 2010 at 3.15pm.

In the Backup folder you should also see another folder called ROCKETProgramFiles.

If you do not have any of these backup files or folders or if the files have an old date and time stamp, call the ROCKET Help Desk for assistance.

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