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Backup Utility

This function, called from the UTILITIES Main Menu is designed to do one small task; create a SQL Backup file of your data in a format that can be easily backed up to an external storage device. This file is primarily used by us (Suntower Systems) to restore your data in the case of an emergency. Years of experience have taught us that having a good SQL Backup of your data is the fastest way to get you up and running again after a major malfunction such as a hard drive crash or total system failure.

SQL Data: There’s Backups And Then There’s Backups

SQL Data is very special. While your server is running, the SQL database engine does it’s best to protect your data and that can make it tough to backup. For example, most backup programs will not backup your databases while the database engine is running. So the SQL engine has a special system which it uses to create backups of it’s data—even while the engine is running. You can then take that backup file and copy it somewhere else. So a SQL Backup is a file, created by the database engine, which you can then ‘back up’ using your backup program of choice. Yes, it’s confusing terminology but that’s just how it goes.

The Backup Utility calls the SQL database engine and instructs it to make a SQL Backup of your data. You can run it any time you like—even with other users are using Simple Accounting. Every time you run this utility, a record of your action is kept so you can review when you backed up and where to.


1. Enter the database you wish to back up. If you are running a single company, this will likely be ‘SIMPLE’. If you have multiple companies, you will need to enter the proper database name. Only one database (company) may be backed up at a time.

2. Enter the SQL Backup Device. Again, you can leave the default ‘Simple_Backup’. You need only change this if you are running other SQL applications that might have their own backup system. If that is the case, your IT Administrator should contact us to discuss a proper name.

3. Enter a Backup Disk File. You can use the default BACKUP.BKP, or assign a different name for each backup you create, eg. 020108.BKP, 020208.BKP, 020308.BKP, etc.

4. Decide whether or not to Append To Existing Backup. If you check this box, the backup will be added to the existing disk file (if it exists). If not checked, a pre-existing backup file will be overwritten. (As you may have guessed, the SQL database engine can add multiple SQL Backups to a single disk file backup.)

 Generally we do not recommend checking the Append box, firstly because it can create very, very large disk files if too many SQL Backups are combined and secondly because if you need to restore, it can be confusing choosing which of the contained SQL Backups is the one you need.

5. Press the Proceed button. This process can take only a few seconds up to several minutes depending on the size of your database.

 Your settings are saved each time you run a SQL Backup so you won’t need to re-enter these fields each time if you use the same settings each day.

 You can press the [Select] button to select a prior SQL Backup from the browse box and use those settings for the current operation.

OK, What About Restoring?

This utility has no restore function. As we said, the SQL Backup Utility is primarily for use by us. If you need to use a SQL Backup, it means something has gone quite wrong—wrong enough that you’d want to restore the entire database. Please re-read that last sentence: restoring a SQL Backup file restores the entire database as of a given time.

Therefore, in case of an emergency, please contact us immediately per the terms of your Remote Support Service to discuss restoring your data. Alternately, anyone conversant with your SQL database engine (presumably your IT Administrator) should be able to quickly restore the database from a SQL Backup file.

The AutoName Formula

The default formula used for naming your SQL Backups is <database><yyyymmdd>.BKP. You can change this if you like in the Global Options Browse using the BackupAutoNameFormula parameter. The formula follows the rules for creating expressions in Queries.


If you encounter an error during a SQL Backup, it generally is best to abort the backup/restore and begin again. Usually an error occurs because of a bad target disk, or a hardware failure. Although the program attempts to detect errors before copying data, sometimes errors are just not possible to catch. If the problem is a bad target disk, try another disk when backing up. Later, run the Scandisk utility on the target disk, and on the source disk to isolate the sore spot. You are often able to make a tape or cartrige perfectly usable simply by re-formatting. If it is your hard disk that is giving you trouble, you will need to take immediate action as this can be a serious problem for all your programs.

Last Revision: 11.6.2013


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