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Author: KennyO Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 10363  
Subject: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/21/2005 2:44 PM
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It's Monday morning and most of you have surely done something in Quicken over the weekend. Please answer this quick questionnaire:

1. Where is your most recent backup of your Quicken files?
2. Is your backup on a reliable medium or are there at least two verified copies on unreliable media?
3. Have you ever restored your Quicken data from one of your backups?

I bring this up because this weekend I delivered a death sentence to a friend who behaved like his computer and data were bulletproof. Despite my preaching, he faithfully backed up his Quicken data into a file on another logical drive on the same hard disk drive in that computer. It was fast and easy that way. Friday night/Saturday morning there was a break-in and burglary. Along with several easy-to-fence toys and costume jewelry the computer is gone. His backup is gone ... well, not entirely gone. After he'd used Quicken for about six months I demonstrated backing up to floppies and he has those as a starting point. Six months of data out of nearly six years. I think that's enough to discourage him from starting over with Quicken.

KennyO's laws of NOT backups:
If it's on the same drive it's NOT a backup.
If it's on a different drive in the same computer, it's NOT a backup.
If it's on floppy disks and there's only one copy, it's NOT a backup.
If it's on floppy disks and hasn't been verified to be readable on another computer, it's NOT a backup.
If it's on floppy disks and isn't write protected, it's NOT a backup.
If it's on one USB memory key it's NOT a backup.
If it's on two USB memory keys and they're in the same place it's NOT a backup.
If it isn't labeled with date and software version it's NOT a backup.
If it's on a different computer in the same place, it's not a safe backup.
If it's in the same building it's not a safe backup.

My recommendation to all who ask:
- back up when you've done enough work that you wouldn't want to do that much again.
- back up to the most reliable medium you can afford (CD-R, tape, another hard drive, Zip or Jaz or equal and a network file server are all good; floppies and USB keys are fine for transferring files from one computer to another but poor as long term backup media because they're fragile).
- keep at least two backups either alternating each time or making two copies to store in separate places. I like keeping the two most recent backups at my office.
- label and date your backups NOW! A backup is useless unless you know what you have in your hand.

My practice is to back up monthly immediately after reconciling Quicken with my broker statements. I copy my data to a portable hard drive that goes to work with me. It's reliable and it's off site. Two or three times a year I burn my financial data to a CD-R that's closed out so it can't be written to again. I read the CD on another computer. My DW drops the CD into the safe deposit box at the bank and pulls out the older of the two that were there. Sure, it's overkill but my time is valuable and I've put a lot of time into bookkeeping since I first used Quicken 2.0 for MS-DOS. I'm extremely unlikely to lose my Quicken data covering 1983-2005.

As I stated last December,
BACK UP YOUR DATA. PUT IT IN A SAFE PLACE.
BACK UP YOUR DATA. PUT IT IN A SAFE PLACE.
BACK UP YOUR DATA. PUT IT IN A SAFE PLACE.
Repeat as needed.

KennyO
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Author: nobears Big gold star, 5000 posts Home Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6088 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/21/2005 2:58 PM
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Great post Kenny.

I use 2 rotating CD-RWs to do my backups. The CDs themselves are not labeled with date/version, but the timestamps on the files that are backed up give me basically the same thing, and it's not real convenient to label the rotating CD-RWs on each backup. I just keep them next to the PC with the latest backup on the bottom, so that when it's time to backup, I just grab the CD on the top, back up and place it on the bottom of the pile. I tend to back up frequently, almost every time I go into Quicken to make any entries.

I also keep a separate copy in a locked fireproof/waterproof box in the house. That one is re-generated every couple of months.

And, yes, I have had to resort to restoring from a backup, when my laptop bit the dust about 6-8 months ago. Sure made me glad that I had them around to reover from. Like you, I've got several years of Quicken data built up that I would be devestated if I ever lost.

Mark

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Author: SixSigmaBB Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6089 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/21/2005 2:59 PM
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Kenny,

These are all great pieces of advise...

SSBB

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6090 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/21/2005 5:19 PM
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It's Monday morning and most of you have surely done something in Quicken over the weekend. Please answer this quick questionnaire:

1. Where is your most recent backup of your Quicken files?


On a CD-ROM done 2005-03-15, after the most recent update of the Quicken files.
On a mag tape in this room done 2005-03-15. This is a full backup of all the Microsoft XP files on that machine.
On a mag tape in the next room done Mon Mar 21 01:03:11 EST 2005 of all the files on that machine except the NTFS Microsoft Windows XP files. The Quicken files are in a FAT32 file system (and the TurboTax files as well).
A similar tape, made 2005-03-01 in Safe Deposit Box at the bank.

2. Is your backup on a reliable medium or are there at least two verified copies on unreliable media?

Tapes are verified while being written because tape drive has 4 heads and they do read-after-write checks as the tape blocks are written.
After the backup tape is written, the backup software rewinds the tape and plays it back to see that the tape is correct.

3. Have you ever restored your Quicken data from one of your backups?

Yes, but the only time it mattered, I had to use a year old tape, because Quicken had scrozzled all the data, but it did not show until tax time the next year, so all the other backups were bad as well. Quicken software sucks.

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Author: SixSigmaBB Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6091 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/21/2005 5:49 PM
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JeanDavid,

I think that you will also find a directory of also automatically backed up datafiles in a backup folder on your harddrive... This way you are never more than a couple of days beyond today with a current backup. Generally there are 5 "dated" copies going back several weeks in that folder.

In the future, if you don't have a recent backup, check there to prevent having to use 1 year old data.

SSBB

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Author: Molucatoo Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6092 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/21/2005 8:20 PM
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Just backed up. Thank you for the reminder!

Molucatoo

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Author: Donna405 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6094 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/21/2005 11:17 PM
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I backup my Quicken and QB files daily. Once a month, after reconciliation, I backup both to floppies and occasionally a CD. Quicken and QB are terrible at backing up to CD's. In fact, all I do is copy the file.

Donna

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6095 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/21/2005 11:21 PM
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Quicken and QB are terrible at backing up to CD's.

IMHO it is not Quicken's job to back up to CD.

It's quite sufficent to back up to somewhere that can be written to through ordinary means, like a hard drive.

However, it seems that pretty much every company that makes CD-burning softwae - EXCEPT MICROSOFT - includes a little package that makes at least a CDRW something that you can write to through ordinary means, just like a hard drive.

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Author: feedmeNOWhuman Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6096 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/22/2005 12:29 AM
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1. Where is your most recent backup of your Quicken files?

The last couple of weeks is on my thumb drive. Everything earlier than that is burned to CD and stored in a fireproof safe.

2. Is your backup on a reliable medium or are there at least two verified copies on unreliable media?

One on unreliable (less than two weeks ago) and one on reliable (the stuff in the safe).

3. Have you ever restored your Quicken data from one of your backups?

Yup.

Pretty damn good, eh?


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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6097 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/22/2005 9:22 AM
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I think that you will also find a directory of also automatically backed up datafiles in a backup folder on your harddrive... This way you are never more than a couple of days beyond today with a current backup. Generally there are 5 "dated" copies going back several weeks in that folder.

In the future, if you don't have a recent backup, check there to prevent having to use 1 year old data.


The reason I needed one year old data was because when I upgraded from one version of Quicken to the next, the upgrade screwed up the database by having an off-by-one error in the internal representations of the categories. This produced no visible effect on what appeared on the screen. so I went on blindly using it, and backing up the database daily. But when it came time to import the data into TurboTax, all the categories were wrong, so it was worthless.

I called Intuit about this and they said to do a validate, which I did, and it did no good. They then told me how to do a supervalidate (at the time, a secret procedure), and it did no good either. They then said to reinstall Quicken, which I did, and to do a supervalidate. No good. Then they suggested that I just restore from backup. It was clear to me that they were hoping I had no backup. Since I had a week's supply of daily backups, a month's supply of weekly backups, and a year's supply of monthly backups, I asked which one to use. They did not know, so I tried a recent one, etc., all the way back to the most recent one before I upgraded to the then current version of Quicken. That was the most recent one that had the categories correct.

The backup files to which you refer were all contaminated by the same bug in Quicken that my most recent (current) one was.

Intuit programmers are a bunch of turkeys.

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Author: CPAgentPreppie Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6098 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/22/2005 10:22 AM
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My Quicken backup folder is selected to backup to my .Mac account on a weekly basis. I also drop a backup onto a CD as well as my TurboTax file onto CD the day I file my taxes. The CD then goes into the paper folder with all of my tax support.

Agent - paranoid

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Author: horacekgl Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6099 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/22/2005 10:42 AM
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By bat file I backup daily to:

1. another portion of my harddrive (my working backup)
2. a personal directory on my company server (don't tell OK) which is backup every night
3. on my Thumbdrive to transfer to at least two other computers at home
4. a backup directory on another computer on my home network

Weekly

backup to CDRW (but not overwriting previous backups)

Monthly

Burn to CD-R, copy kept away from home

glh

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Author: KennyO Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6100 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/22/2005 11:02 AM
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horacekgl is a mutual assured destruction kind of guy! He's the first one who may hold a candle to JeanDavid for extreme backing up.

Well done, y'all!
KennyO

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Author: horacekgl Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6101 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/22/2005 2:25 PM
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Well thanks. But my backup is >25MB. I don't want to even think of starting over! It goes back to 1993 (I made year end archives of the earlier stuff -- I don't know why except back then there weren't a whole lot of backup options for the computer illiterate other than floppies).

glh

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6102 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 3/22/2005 3:10 PM
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But my backup is >25MB. I don't want to even think of starting over! It goes back to 1993 (I made year end archives of the earlier stuff -- I don't know why except back then there weren't a whole lot of backup options for the computer illiterate other than floppies).

Those 8" floppies? Or the 5 1/4" ones? ;-)
Starting about 1990 I used tapes that look like Travan 1/4" tapes, but they were much larger and probably held around 600Megabytes.

When I got a PC in 1996, I got a floppy tape drive (tape drive that runs off a floppy controller) that held about 800 Megabytes or so.

When I got a serious home PC (Linux only at the time), I got a DDS-2 tape drive (8 GBytes, IIRC), but the one I got was no good, so my manufacturer upgraded me to an Ecrix VXA-1 tape that held 24 GBytes with the size tapes I got.

And when I built the present machine, I stuck an Exabyte VXA-2 on there that I could get 160GigaByte tapes for, but I use mostly 40 GByte tapes.

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Author: brazenhead Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6448 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 6/25/2005 12:34 PM
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Yep, back up my files to a USB drive and lock that in my desk at work. That's my version of the "poor man's offsite backup". Also marked the drive case with my name and 'personal / confidential' on it to make sure I got it back in case anything happened with my employment status there. The hardest part of doing this has been getting in the habit! I find that a reminder in my Outlook on the last work day for the week helps remind me to bring the drive home though.

Hope that helps!

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Author: billjam Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6453 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 7/2/2005 2:59 PM
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I like the idea of keeping a backup at the office but I'm retired. I sometimes backup to a CD and put it in my safe deposit box, but it's a hassle to go to the bank and update the backup. Recently I've started making a backup CD whenever I travel and taking it in the car with me. This is simple and convenient. Problem for everyday backup though because the car is in the attached garage and likely would be destroyed too by fire or tornado.

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6454 of 10363
Subject: Re: It's Time to Back Up Your Data Date: 7/3/2005 8:12 AM
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I like the idea of keeping a backup at the office but I'm retired.

You have to be careful about that. Where I used to work, it was expected that you would retire at age 65, but work for them until then. In fact, it was required that you retire at 65 until the labor law was changed to prevent that requirement. Anyone who chose to leave before retirement was expected to give 30 days' notice.

But then the lawyers and bean counters took over the company. If you gave your 30 days' notice, you were immediately escorted to the door with as many of your personal possessions as you could gather and prove contained no company proprietary data. You would probably have to give your CD-ROMs to the corporate attorneys for examination before you took them home. Gawd help you if you wrote GnuCash data on them from a Linux system, when all the lawyers could manage was Microsoft Money.

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