Sunday, March 1, 2009

Data Back Up Day - March 2009

Are you backing up your Family Tree Maker File?
Are you backing up your important files that are on your computer?

Many Genealogy Bloggers have a monthly "Event" to do a Back Up of their important information.

The Family Tree Maker program, no matter which version, have a Back Up utility / command. Most recent versions have the capability to Back Up your Family File to a CD, local Hard Drive, and to the Internet.

A couple of things to consider:

1) How Often?

2) Where to Back Up to?

3) What to do with the Media Used?

Each of these, WE, the users need to address. The first question is answered, for me, with a Question, "How Much time do I have to Re-enter what I have entered since the Last Time I backed up this file?" The answer to this question is important. The Once a Month Reminder for the Genealogy Bloggers is Monthly. But, what if I spend a weekend updating my Family File. I might back up that file at the end of each day. What if a Storm is coming? I usually back up my file IF I suspect that there might be a power outage. I'll just back Up that file then. Don't wait.

The second question is similar, but has the added question of "What if my Hard Drive were to crash?" This would indicate that I probably do not want to back up to the Hard Drive on my Computer. My choice is a CD.

Continuing in the What If question, what IF something happens to my home or room where my computer is? I will take my most recent back up and put it into my safe deposit box. I have also taken a copy of my Back Up CD to my daughter's house. The important thing is to send it somewhere else.

There are Online Back Up Services available as well.

One Important note about the Family Tree Maker program, specifically. Version 16 and earlier has an "Automatic Back Up" feature. Please, Please, Please, do NOT consider that feature a Back Up. The file that is automatically generated is a COPY of your Family File. If there is a problem with the Family File, it will be in this "copy".

For those of you who know the Three Character File Extensions that Version 16 and earlier use, the FTW file, it the Working Family File, the FBK file is the Copy of the FTW file and the FBC file is a Compressed Back Up of the FTW file. This last one (FBC) is a Back Up. The process of creating the FBC file contains some file maintenance in it.

As a rule, I run these two Famliy Tree Maker Utilities BEFORE I do the File, Back Up command:

Go to any Family Page and run these two Utilities:

CTRL+ALT+C = FileCompression

CTRL+ALT+SHFT+UpArrow = FileChecker

Are there any Errors? If the answer is no, continue with the File, Back Up.

If there are errors: Run this Utility from any Individual's Family Page:


Please go to this website:

Enter 1396 into the "Keyword Search" box and read that Knowledge Base Article. It should help you with this Error Message, and describe how to use the LOG file.

With Family Tree Maker version 2008 and 2009, there continues to be a Back Up command, and it does generate a complete back up. However, there is an option to include or exclude Media files. There will be a Blog Article on how to do this in the future.

There are several normal commands, where the program will ask IF you want to Back Up your file BEFORE continuing. I recommend that you take advantage of that Back Up.

As with the older versions, there is an automatic back up feature within 2009. That file (ftmb) is a back up, but it does NOT contain the Media folders.

As this posting is a more generic message, you might consider backing up more then just your Genealogy Program files (Family Tree Maker Family Files).

I back up my Desktop computer Weekly with Cobian Back Up 8 from

I also back up my Laptop, two different ways: 1) Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare, and 2) a Back Up utility that came on an External USB Hard Drive. Over cautious on the Laptop? You bet. I know that this PC needs to be replaced AND its "on the road" a lot. The OneCare Back Up is do an External Hard Drive off of my Desktop (via a network connection) and the other Back Up is to the portable USB Hard Drive.

What I back Up are ALL Files and Folders in my My Documents and My Photograph Folders.

One final recommendation. Check your Back Up's.

I test my Family Tree Maker Back Up files at least monthly. Again, there will be a specific Blog entry on how to do this in the near future. Briefly, its File, Restore from Back Up.

Coping files to a USB Drive are also helpful. BUT, I have had two fail on me, over time. So, I don't rely on these drives as my Back up.

Back Up Now !!!

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