Automating backups for ACT! by Sage

Mike LazarusSenior Business Analyst
Has been in IT since 1980 and CRM for over 30 years. Helping small and medium businesses become more successful through client relationships
As owner of GL Computing, I have worked with CRM products since 1984 and with Act! since 1987.  GL Computing provides training and technical support to Act! Consultants, resellers and add-on developers around the world.

One of the problems we notice is that users are not sure of the different options available to create and maintain proper backups of their Act! data, so I thought it would provide value to list them all here.

As Act! CRM database uses a SQL engine, it can't be backed up by simply copying the files or by using a normal backup product. The SQL service keeps a lock on the database as soon as Windows starts, even if no-one is logged into ACT!

1. Manual Backup

The standard function to manually backup the current database from Act! is:
File | Backup

2. Act! Scheduler Backup

Users should automate the Backups to make sure data isn't lost if it becomes damaged through a PC failure, virus or other problem.

See this article to automate backups from the Act! Scheduler:

In ACT! 2005 (7.0) to ACT! 2007 (9.0), only the Premium version can automate this with the Act! Scheduler. With ACT! 2008 and later, automated maintenance and backups are also available with the non-Premium builds
Note: ZIP has a limit of 4GB... with ACT! 2008 and later, you can do the attached files separately if you're hitting this limit. It's unlikely that the database itself will grow to 4GB


3. Network Backup

If backing up with the Scheduler on a PC other than the one hosting the database, but on the same network; or backing up from the database host to another PC, you need to change the permissions of the service as per:

4. Test Restore

It's always good to do regular test restores to ensure the backup is working.
You can do this with use File | Restore - Select "Restore As" to restore to a different name, folder or on a different machine.
Then you can test the restored database, make sure it's ok and delete it again.
It's also useful to occasionally check that the "Backup" folder under the database supplemental files folder is empty. This is where ACT! places temp files during the backup process. If the backup fails, they remain there and will be included in any subsequent backups. You can delete any files in this folder unless a backup is currently in operation.

5. Batch file scheduled backup

If the Scheduler is not an option (like running an early version of ACT! non Premium and not upgrading) or wanting to use another method to backup, you can do it this way - create an ACTBackup.bat file with Notepad as follows:

  REM - Change these SET Parameters as appropriate for your system
                        SET ACTSourceFolder="C:\Act\Database"
                        SET ACTDestinationFolder="D:\Backups\Act\Database"
                        SET XcopyOptions=/M /E /C /H /O /Y /I
                        REM - Stop ACT SQL Service
                        NET STOP SQLAGENT$ACT7
                        NET STOP MSSQL$ACT7
                        REM - Perform copy
                        XCOPY %ACTSourceFolder% %ACTDestinationFolder% %XcopyOptions%
                        REM - Restart ACT SQL Service
                        NET START MSSQL$ACT7
                        NET START SQLAGENT$ACT7

Open in new window

With the SQL engine stopped, you can use anything to copy/backup the database and supplemental files.
You could replace the XCOPY with a command line ZIP or other back-up utility.
Then run the BAT file from the Windows scheduler

While you can't restore to a different name to test it (you can't change the database name by renaming it), you can restore to another machine, delete the PAD file and open the ADF so it resets the machine name.

6. Act! Email Backup

If using the Act! Email client, you should also back up it's database as per:
This needs to be done on each PC where Act! Internet Mail is used as it's not stored on the server

7. Corporate and third-party Backup Products

The simplest way is to use Act!'s backup to a ZIP and use your software to store the ZIP.

There is also a third-party product with other, more advanced backup and maintenance options: AutoAdmin
Other tips and info listed here:
Mike LazarusSenior Business Analyst
Has been in IT since 1980 and CRM for over 30 years. Helping small and medium businesses become more successful through client relationships

Comments (0)

Have a question about something in this article? You can receive help directly from the article author. Sign up for a free trial to get started.