The Backup Database utility is one of the most important utilities in Shepherd’s Staff. When you make a backup, you essentially make a copy of your database at that moment in time. The backup compresses the database into a file and saves the file in the place you choose.
It is highly recommended that you back up your database routinely. It is also suggested that you keep one of these backups on a removable drive (e.g., USB drive, CD, Cloud) that you can take off-site. In the case of a disaster or computer failure, a copy of your data would be safe. In addition, users who have a support contract can upload a database to CPH. We will house the backup for a short period and you can request a copy at any time.
Churches can also archive backups on their drives. This is always a good idea because it gives you a history of backups to go through if you become aware of a problem that has existed prior to your most recent backup.
There are two backup utilities in Shepherd’s Staff. The first is a database backup, which backs up the information regarding membership, attendance, contributions, and finances. This utility does not back up photos or attachments; these are backed up in the second utility, and this process is covered in the article “Backing Up Photos and Attachments.”
Note: The space needed for the backup will be larger than the actual backup file. This is because several extra files are created and then deleted during the backup process.
Below are some terms that will come in handy when using the Backup Database utility.
» A location I choose—This option allows you to choose a location on your computer or network in which to save the backup file. During your first time backing up your database, this is the only option you will be able to choose.
» The last location used—This option will automatically save a new backup in the location your most recent backup was saved.
» A previous location—This dropdown will list all the locations you have ever saved a backup file to.
Note: The name of the backup file cannot be completely changed. The name is how the Restore utility knows if a particular backup file is the correct one for your database. This is to prevent an override by an incorrect database if you are using multiple databases for multiple churches. However, you can add text to the beginning of the file name to help distinguish which backup is which.
Here is how to back up your database:
- Close out of all modules in Shepherd’s Staff.
- On the main menu, select “Utilities”.
- Choose “Database backup and restore”.
- Choose the location in which to save the backup. During your first time backing up your database, you will only be able to select “A location I choose.”
- Optional: If you plan to make changes to the Finance module on an off-site computer and then apply those changes to this computer later, you may want to check the box next to “Flag Finance as being checked out”. This will turn the Finance module red and will tell other users that any changes they make in Finance will be overwritten when the database is restored.
- Click “Start backup”.
- Choose the location where you would like to save the backup, and click “Save”.