(House)Keeping your ACT! Together

Even the advent of The Evil Empire's latest OS (Operating System) offerings won't guarantee that your computer won't crash or your data won't become corrupt. While an OS that boots quickly and remains stable for more than a few hours is a good thing, stuff happens! And at the worst possible moment! If you run your business (and your life) from your database, the security and integrity of your information is paramount. If you've never suffered a problem of this nature you'll perhaps not appreciate the interruption it can cause. Having seen the look on sales reps' faces after being told that their database can't be recovered is not a pleasant experience. Consequently this ACT! Tip of the Week addresses the simple and routine steps necessary to insure you'll never panic upon seeing the infamous "Blue Screen of Death".

First let's examine the "Backup" function. Pull down the "File" menu and click "Backup". The "Backup" dialog box will appear. The location of your last backup will appear in the navigation window. If you haven't established a backup location, click the "Browse" button and navigate to a suitable place to store your backups. This location should NOT be on your own hard drive. A personal folder on a network works best as corporate servers typically have strict backup procedures. An external drive or disk will also work. Click the "Start" button. If a dialog box appears, select "Yes" to overwrite your last backup. Your backed up data will now be current, at least until your next data entry.

It is important to know that, in addition to your Contacts, Activities and Notes/Histories, many other associated files and documents are included in the "Backup". E-mail attached to a contact record, as well as any documents attached to a contact record are backed up provided they are saved to the ACT! default location. So too are templates used in word processing, envelopes, labels and reports included in the backup. As a result, if you have customized any of these items they won't be lost in the event of a database failure. If you haven't modified these items and need to create a smaller backup file (to fit on a floppy disk as a example) they may be deselected under the "Options" tab in the "Backup" dialog box . If you haven't set the Backup Reminder you can do so here as well (7 days or less is recommended).

I believe that you can never back up your database too often. It only takes one locked up database and the loss of weeks' worth of important data to have this small investment in time pay off.

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