It is important to backup your data file on a regular basis. Unfortunately computers are prone to suffer problems which can result in the loss of your valuable data. Problems may include failure of a hard disk (the device in your computer that stores your data) or power failures that may result in corruption of files being used at the time of the failure.
The Data File
Parts Tracker stores all of your data in a file on your hard disk. The name of the file is PartsTrackerData4_0.
- Note: The numbers “4_0” depend on the version of Parts Tracker.
- Note: The filename includes an extension “.mdb” on the end which may or may not be visible depending on your Windows settings.
Typically this file found in the following folder: C:\Program Files\Parts Tracker\ but you may have re-configured Parts Tracker to store it elsewhere (e.g. on a network drive).
Previous Copies Kept By Parts Tracker
Parts Tracker automatically creates copies of your data file in a sub-folder called “Backup” within the folder where the data file resides. It does this daily as well as when certain major operations are performed: compaction, parts import, database update.
The daily copies are pruned (deleted) when older than seven days.
Back-up Your Data File
You should backup the data file and the previous copies from the Backup folder to another storage device on a regular basis. This is important to allow you to get your data back if your computer hard-drive fails and is unreadable.
You can use Windows backup, a 3rd party backup tool, a cloud drive, or any other mechanism you currently use to backup your personal files (e.g. copying files to an external hard drive, or a flash drive).
There are many cloud drive/backup services available on the Internet, including free services. You may already have access to a such a service as part of another service you are using (such as email or office applications).
You should limit the cloud sync to only the Backup folder and not the actual data file. Otherwise, the service will attempt to synchronise your data file almost continuously while you are using it, causing a performance drain on your computer (when using Parts Tracker, data is written to the data file on almost every operation which could be every few seconds). The Backup folder contains a backup no older than one day, so data loss is at most a part of a day’s work. However, the more important point is that if you were continuously syncing your live data file, any corruption to it would also be synced, so a live cloud copy is not very useful anyway. Check your cloud service’s settings and documentation for details on how to specify which folder gets synced to the cloud, or how to exclude particular files.
IMPORTANT: You should not use a cloud drive service as a way to share the data file with multiple users who might use Parts Tracker at the same time. This WILL cause data loss when users make changes at the same time – they will overwrite each other’s changes, or will only see their own changes (and if you operate like that for a long time you’ll end up with two very different sets of data).
Restoring a Previous Copy
To restore a previous backup copy of the data file, do the following:
- Close Parts Tracker.
- Move your current data file somewhere, or rename it, in case you change you want to restore to it later.
- Copy the file you want to restore from the Backup folder or from an external backup to the folder where the current data file resides.
- Rename the backup file to PartsTrackerData4_0 (since Parts Tracker expects to find a file of that name).
- Open Parts Tracker and check that the data is what you expect (i.e. you’ve restored the data you want).
- Repeat with a different backup file if necessary.