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#1 JoyceAE5

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 06:41 AM

I don't know if this issue has been raised before or not but I have a few suggestions for handling the backups:

1) It would be helpful if the software allowed the user to specify an option to include BOTH the date and time when creating a backup. Right now if I update the database more than once in a day, I get prompted that a backup already exists (I include the date in the backup name) and the backup gets overwritten if I choose to back up the file. This could result in lost data if I had to revert back to a previous version from earlier in the day.

2) I would like the option to be able to specify the number of backups to retain. Right now the number of number of backups maintained is unlimited.

3) If no changes have been made to the database, the prompt for a backup should be skipped automatically when exiting.

4) Backups should be taken automatically whenever changes have been made without having to prompt the user every time upon exiting.

These features could be controlled in the program options. These options appear in other software that I use and I don't have to worry about changing names every time I use the program.

Just my thoughts.
Joyce

#2 c24m48

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 10:23 AM

2) I would like the option to be able to specify the number of backups to retain. Right now the number of number of backups maintained is unlimited.


I very much agree with your list but I would like to suggest one modification for your item #2. Namely, if the only thing you can specify is the number of backups to retain then it's too easy to use up that number. For example, if you set the number of backups to retain at 10 (which might seem like a reasonably large number) then you could easily use up all 10 in the same day and you couldn't go back to yesterday, let alone to last week.

I think that a good backup scheme for any sort of backups (not just for RootsMagic) should have elements such as the following:
  • Keep all backups for at least a week.
  • For times further back than a week, keep a two-week backup, a three-week backup, and a four-week backup (only one of each).
  • For tmes further back than a month, keep a two-month backup, a three-month backup, a six-month backup, and a twelve-month backup (only one of each).
  • For times further back than a year, keep a two-year backup, a three-year backup, etc. all the way back to the beginning (only one of each).
In other words, the number of backups to keep is not as important as how far back the backups go. If you want to go back several years then you can't possibly keep all the daily or hourly or whatever backups that would have been made in the interim. Sadly, few if any backup systems actually work the way I describe.

It's certainly arguable whether you would want to go back to a backup that's several years old and make that into your production database. You would simply lose too much data that way. But with the scheme I've described you certainly might want to peek into several old backups to see when something has changed and what it was before.

Jerry

#3 Don Newcomb

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:03 PM

It would be nice if the backup functioned as a Mac-like "Time Machine" that would keep incremental backups and allow you to return to any given point.

#4 Nettie

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:50 PM

I keep my backups on my c drive/Genealogy/RootMagic folder and not the users/// part of the c drive. Why so I don't loose them [ a PC goes belly up and you loose everything that was in the users part of the c drive.] :wub: I always back my genealogy files to an external drive. Not the users/// . The other part is there is a date set up for the backup. [Found in Program Options] If I do it in the middle of the day or again at the end of the day, I put an a behind the name before ( date, b for the second back up. Easy to do, as you have a choice on how to name what to add and where to save them at. This works for me. :)

Genealogy:
"I work on genealogy only on days that end in "Y"." [Grin!!!]
from www.GenealogyDaily.com.
"Documentation....The hardest part of genealogy"
"Genealogy is like Hide & Seek: They Hide & I Seek!"
" Genealogists: People helping people.....that's what it's all about!"
from http://www.rootsweb....nry/gentags.htm
Using FO and RM since FO2.0 


#5 Don Newcomb

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 01:45 PM

I keep my backups on my c drive/Genealogy/RootMagic folder and not the users/// part of the c drive. Why so I don't loose them [ a PC goes belly up and you loose everything that was in the users part of the c drive.] :wub: I always back my genealogy files to an external drive. Not the users/// .

Sorry but this seems self-contradictory. You keep your backups on C:\Genealogy\RootsMagic but you keep your backups on an external drive. In any case, it's not true that "you loose everything that was in the users part of the c drive". Any given drive and any part of that drive can elect go go bad at any moment. It's safer to keep the backups on a device different from the working files but there is no guarantee that both devices won't go bad at the same time. It's just unlikely.

#6 Laura

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 02:49 PM

Just backing up a database gives no assurance that I am not just backing up a corrupted database over and over again. Who knows how many backups I would need to check to find the last backup that didn't contain a corrupted database.

But, if I can export a full gedcom, I can be pretty sure that a backup will be good.

So, before making a backup, I run the Files, Database tools in order,

Then, I export a full gedcom.

After exporting the full gedcom, I do the backup. If the backup is not good, I will have the full gedcom to fall back on if needed.

I save both the backups and full gedcoms in the same folder:

File name, Year-month-day, 24 hour time [gedcom time], database name, RM version, All=full gedcom:
2013-12-28 1318 Gedcom ALLFAMILIES V6 All.ged
2013-12-28 1318 Backup ALLFAMILIES V6 All.ged

The most time involved is the time in creating and saving the gedcom and backup.

I can go to that folder in Windows Explorer and decide how far back to delete backups and gedcoms and be pretty sure the more current backups are good.

We should never depend on just saving our databases or gedcoms or backups or media files in just one or even two places.

I usually backup to a SD card that lives in my Win 7 pro tablet, jump drive, a portable hard drive and Dropbox. More ocassionally to my husband's computer and a SD card on it, Google drive and other family members computers. I suppose I also need to include in this list a gedcom on my smart phone and the database on my Kindle Fire HD and smartphone using the Android mobile app beta.

#7 Nettie

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 09:15 PM

Don. Been there at least 3 times this last year of loosing everything on a c drive. Including the C:// Users/.. So the back up to two external drives is important. I also use Dropbox and cloud storage. Over the years of working with computers, I have never regretted not backing up my data.... Too me it is very important....Well aware of external USB drives going belly up. Has happened... Not fun to loose everything....

.

Genealogy:
"I work on genealogy only on days that end in "Y"." [Grin!!!]
from www.GenealogyDaily.com.
"Documentation....The hardest part of genealogy"
"Genealogy is like Hide & Seek: They Hide & I Seek!"
" Genealogists: People helping people.....that's what it's all about!"
from http://www.rootsweb....nry/gentags.htm
Using FO and RM since FO2.0 


#8 JoyceAE5

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 03:04 PM

Let's hope the developers see all of these suggestions. Lots of great feedback!

Thanks.

#9 Don Newcomb

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 05:12 PM

Don......... Not fun to loose everything....

I had an old USB drive that I used for storing programs that I downloaded from the net (e.g. RootsMagic install files, Windows updates, etc.). I never backed it up because I could always just re-download the stuff if it got lost. Well, it crashed and some of the stuff I had there I can't find any more.

#10 Renee Zamora

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 11:40 AM

Confirming enhancement requests are in our tracking system.

2) I would like the option to be able to specify the number of backups to retain. Right now the number of number of backups maintained is unlimited.


I really don't forsee the RootsMagician ever implementing this one. It's to dangerous in our opinion. We have to many users that don't have good backup practices to begin with. Then when there is corruption in their databases, with all the warning flags and error messages going off they persist in using that corrupted file til it no longer opens. I've seen people go back a year or more for a good backup. (If they ever made one to begin with.) For us to help destroy people's backups would only be an invitation for them later to hate us for doing the very thing they selected in the settings.
Renee
RootsMagic

#11 JoyceAE5

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 12:45 PM

Confirming enhancement requests are in our tracking system.


I really don't forsee the RootsMagician ever implementing this one. It's to dangerous in our opinion. We have to many users that don't have good backup practices to begin with. Then when there is corruption in their databases, with all the warning flags and error messages going off they persist in using that corrupted file til it no longer opens. I've seen people go back a year or more for a good backup. (If they ever made one to begin with.) For us to help destroy people's backups would only be an invitation for them later to hate us for doing the very thing they selected in the settings.

This would be totally under the control of the individual. It would be their responsibilty to manage their backups.

#12 Ludlow Bay

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 02:27 PM

Then when there is corruption in their databases, with all the warning flags and error messages going off they persist in using that corrupted file til it no longer opens.


I've never had the luxury of seeing warning flags & error messages. What I have had is databases silently become corrupted, and backups made of those corruptions, all without a peep from RM. Countless users have written in about databases that won't open, and the response is "your database is probably corrupted - use a backup". Then when they report that their recent backups are also corrupted, the response is "use an older backup".

How do we activate the warning flags & error messages that you say are there to prevent this problem?

#13 Renee Zamora

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:36 AM

By warning flags I mean your database is doing strange things but you persist in using it. Never considering it could be a problem. The most concerning error message is anything with SQLite in it. Bottom line if you have strange things happening or get error message people just need to contact us right away and not ignore it. If you heard a rattling noise in your car it's best to call a mechanic sooner than later too, same principle.

This would be totally under the control of the individual. It would be their responsibilty to manage their backups.


Reasonable people would think this but for companies you have to protect yourself from the idiot factor. Have you ever see a warning message not to use the hair dryer in the bath tube or put a plastic bag over your head. We have found that people refuse to read. We can put all the warnings we want on what their actions will cause but they ignore them. Can't tell you how many people have completely deleted their entire database and accuse us of not giving them a warning. We have to simple not install things that we know will become an issue and support problem down the road.
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RootsMagic

#14 JoyceAE5

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 02:23 PM

Reasonable people would think this but for companies you have to protect yourself from the idiot factor. Have you ever see a warning message not to use the hair dryer in the bath tube or put a plastic bag over your head. We have found that people refuse to read. We can put all the warnings we want on what their actions will cause but they ignore them. Can't tell you how many people have completely deleted their entire database and accuse us of not giving them a warning. We have to simple not install things that we know will become an issue and support problem down the road.

Most other software that I use has an option to specify the number of backups to keep. Maybe it could be an option to specify a specific number or default to unlimited.

#15 Alfred

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 02:51 PM

Is it really too much trouble for anyone to go to the backup folder, sort it by date modified and delete the oldest ones.

How darned lazy are we getting anyway?
Alfred

#16 Laura

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 05:03 PM

Having good backups and gedcoms is much too serious to have RootsMagic or any other genealogy program do any automatic deleting of previous backups.

Unless I know the latest backups are good, I won't be deleting any previous backups.

When I do delete backups, I won't delete them by a certain number of backups. For more current backups, I keep all the latest backups for a month and then one for every month of that year. I keep at least one backup made in the current version for each year that version has been available plus the backup and gedcom I made after converting to a new program. And I keep the gedcoms that I made at the same time I made each backup.

I mainly keep the oldest backups and gedcoms in case I delete someone and need to retreive them, but it still doesn't hurt to have them available if I need them for database recovery for some reason.

It isn't the number of backups a user keeps. It is the quality of the backup. If a backup is from a corrupted database that backup is of no use to the user for recovery of the database. If a user has several backups of that corrupted database and earlier backups have been deleted and the user doesn't have earlier gedcoms, the user is out of luck.

#17 John_of_Ross_County

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 05:18 PM

If you have a fairly new computer, the C: drive and any extra disk drives are likely to be so large that spare space is not a problem. Deleting extra backup files does not save any money. Prices for 1TB drives seem to be in the range of $60 to $80.

#18 Laura

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 06:37 PM

If space is a problem like it is on my Acer tablet with 32gb storage, it is gedcoms that would be the best to save on the computer itself not backups. A gedcom will not complete if a database is coruppted. A backup which is a zipped cooy of the database or a copy of the database are conveniences as my Groups, report settings, fact default sentences, etc. are kept.

I save backups and gedcoms to the SD card that lives in my tablet. And I run RootsMagic to go and save a copy of the database on the SD card every time I close RM if I made changes to the database. And I spend a few minutes of each day saving copies of the database and gedcoms and backups I may have made on other devices and upload them to Dropbox.

A gedcom will not complete if the database is corrupted so I always know a completed gedcom is OK.

I try to ensure that if I need to recover my database, I can do so and not lose any or very little data even if it takes a little time and work on my part to do so.

There is no way RootsMagic could automattically ever do that for a user. A user has to do it for themselves.

Having a corrupted database or a hard drive fail is not all that can happen. I Have done the stupid thing and have 2 databases open at the same time and deleted my main database by mistake. I sure was glad that I could recover easily from that mistake.

#19 allan1932

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 02:29 PM

" A gedcom will not complete if a database is coruppted." I didn't know that, Laura. That seems a way to test the integrity of a database.

#20 Laura

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 04:05 PM

Exporting a gedcom is a way to test a database. I should have said a gedcom will not complete if a database is corrupted beyond repair.

Exporting and importing a gedcom will also fix some indexing and linkage problems and is the only way we had to do that before we had the Files, Database tools which will fix some problems. I run the Database tools before I do a gedcom and then a backup.

However, the best way to be sure we have a way to recover our database is to have a good full gedcom as a final fall back.

Full gedom:
Every fact checked to export to gedcom at Lists, Fact type lists.
On the export gedcom screen, select Everyone, select all the options, do not check to privatize living people, check to include private facts and notes.

I never unmark my gedcom setting for facts in my main database. If I want to create a gedcom for someone else and exclude facts, I drag and drop the people I want in a gedcom into a new database and unmark gedcom for facts I don't want exported in the new database. And make the gedcom from the new database.

This way I can be sure that the facts in my main database will always be exported, and I will not need to take the time and effort to recheck the facts to export them.