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!
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 REM - Stop ACT SQL Service NET STOP SQLAGENT$ACT7 NET STOP MSSQL$ACT7 REM REM - Perform copy XCOPY %ACTSourceFolder% %ACTDestinationFolder% %XcopyOptions% REM REM - Restart ACT SQL Service NET START MSSQL$ACT7 NET START SQLAGENT$ACT7 END
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.