Restoring Emailed Backups

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Restoring Emailed Backups

If someone (including yourself!) has sent you a ACCOUNTS database backup via an email, by using the Backup/Restore Email Backup menu option, you can restore it to the program (replacing whatever is currently in the database) very easily.


Note: Users of the Local Network Client version of ACCOUNTS cannot restore backups - that must be done from the Local Network Server version.


Restoring a backup to the same computer it was made from should normally only be done if you have had your computer or hard drive die, and thus lost your database, or you have taken some action in ACCOUNTS that you need to reverse, there is no other way to reverse that action, and your backup is recent enough that you are willing to go back to it.


The other time you might want to restore backups is if you have ACCOUNTS on multiple computers, with copies of the same database, and you are transferring that database between those computers.


The email you received contains instructions for restoring the backup, but we will expand on them a bit here.


Backup Filenames


Emailed backup files (made with the program's Backup/Restore ⇒ Email Backup menu option) are usually named OrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.S4AEncryptedBackup or OrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.S4AEncryptedBackup. (That's the same as regular backup filenames, except with the file extension S4AEncryptedBackup instead of S4ABackup.)


The Backup Filename must match the Current Database Filename


You can only restore a database backup when the OrganizationName part of its filename matches your current database's filename from the Maintenance ⇒ Organization Info window, or when you are initializing a new empty database for the first time. (See Startup Options for how it works in that 2nd case.)


If the filenames don't match, you will get an error message if you try to restore it. You then have three options for how to do the restore:


1) Use the Database Delete All Data menu option if there is really nothing in your current database and you want to replace it with the contents of the backup, or

2) Use the File New Database menu option to create another database, and restore your backup to it.

Either of these first two options will take you to the Startup Options window, where you can select the 2nd radio button, "I want to start by restoring a database backup ..." and restore the backup.


3) Rename the backup file so that the initial OrganizationName part exactly matches the current File Name shown in Maintenance ⇒ Organization Info.


This third option allows you to follow the instructions below, which assume you are restoring a backup file where the OrganizationName part does match your current database's filename.


Quick way when ACCOUNTS is not open


As was mentioned above, the emailed encrypted backup file is named OrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.S4AEncryptedBackup or OrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.S4AEncryptedBackup, where the OrganizationName is your File Name from the Maintenance ⇒ Organization Info window, YYYY-MM-DD is replaced by the date the backup was made, and HH.MM.SS by the time. If you are viewing it as an attachment in an email program (or in My Computer, Computer, or Windows Explorer if you have saved the attachment), you can double-click on the file (or right-click on it and pick "Open" or "Restore to ACCOUNTS"). That will then start ACCOUNTS, and prompt you to confirm that you want to restore the emailed backup file.


Note: If you are restoring directly from the attachment in an email program such as Outlook, when ACCOUNTS prompts for whether to restore the file, the filename may have been modified somewhat. That is normally not a problem - you can restore it anyways.


If you are using this method, please skip down to the section lower on this page on "Entering the Encryption Password" for your next step.


Standard way when ACCOUNTS is open


Your alternative is to use the Backup/Restore Restore Backup menu option in the program.


Before starting this option, you need to save the attachment from the email to a folder where you can find it, such as your Desktop. How this is done depends on which email program you use. For instance, there may be a button or link to save attachments in emails, or you might right-click on the attachment and pick Save or Save As from a popup menu. (The latter is how it works in Microsoft Outlook.) Be sure to save it with the same filename it came with.


The name of the attachment is always OrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.S4AEncryptedBackup or OrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.S4AEncryptedBackup, where YYYY-MM-DD is replaced by the date the backup was made and HH.MM.SS by the time.


When you select Backup/Restore Restore Backup, a Restore Backup File window comes up. Navigate in that window to the folder into which you saved the attachment (for instance your Desktop), and select the filename of the attachment (OrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.S4AEncryptedBackup or OrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.S4AEncryptedBackup, as explained above). Click Open to confirm it.


Entering the Encryption Password


Next, a window comes up in which you specify the encryption password that was used when sending the backup by email. (The backup is encrypted, or scrambled, for your security.)




Enter that password. If you want to be sure you know what you are typing in, click the "Make password visible rather than stars" checkbox. IMPORTANT: If you forget the password that you specified for encrypting your emailed database, we cannot help you restore that database. So you must remember that password yourself. The password is case-sensitive.


Assuming the password is correct, a series of messages will now come up, informing you that the file has been decrypted successfully, and confirming that you want to do the restore from the decrypted file. Finally, you will get a message saying that the restore was successful.


Once you have completed the restore, you can freely delete the attachment from your computer if you saved it (for example from your Desktop, if you saved it there). The only reason to keep it would be if you think you might need to restore the same file again, and you have already deleted the email it was saved from. (If you still have the email, you could get the attachment from it again.)


Emailed backups can also be used to initialize the database for a new installation of ACCOUNTS, on a new computer. See Startup Options for details.


Restoring Older Backups


If you try to restore an email backup that is older than your current data (i.e. you have entered further transactions, with later dates, since that backup was made), the program will give you a very explicit warning about this, and ask you twice to confirm that you really wish to do this. That's because doing such a restore will cause the more recent data, entered since that earlier backup, to be lost!

This topic was last edited on Aug 16, 2021