Restoring Emailed Backups

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Restoring Emailed Backups

If someone (including yourself!) has sent you a DONATION 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 DONATION 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 DONATION 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 DONATION 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.


Quick Way


If you are viewing the emailed encrypted backup file (usually named DONATION-YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.DB.S4B, where YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS is replaced by the date and time the backup was made) 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 "Run" or "Open"). That will then start or activate DONATION, and prompt you to confirm that you want to restore the emailed backup file.


Prior to recent releases of DONATION, the program also had to not already be running for this way to work. Now that is not a problem.


Backup files from earlier versions of the program may omit the time component in the filename, or from even earlier versions they may omit both the date and the time and just start with "DONATION4".


If you are using Database ⇒ Switch Databases to handle multiple databases, the ".DB" part of the emailed backup file will instead match the file extension for the alternate database you backed up. For instance, if an alternate database was named DONATION4.OTHER, the attachment would be DONATION-YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.OTHER.S4B. ("S4B" stands for Software4Nonprofits Backup!) Only a backup from the correct database can be restored to that same database.


Note: If you are restoring directly from the attachment in an email program such as Outlook, when DONATION 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


Your alternative is to use the Backup/Restore Restore Emailed 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 usually DONATION-YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.DB.S4B, where YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS is replaced by the date and time the backup was made. Again, if you have multiple databases, the ".DB" part will change accordingly to the extension of the database that was backed up. As mentioned above, backup files from earlier versions of the program may omit the time component in the filename, or from even earlier versions they may omit both the date and the time and just start with "DONATION4".


When you select Backup/Restore Restore Emailed 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 (normally DONATION4.DB.S4B, DONATION-YYYY-MM-DD.DB.S4B, or DONATION-YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.DB.S4B, 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 DONATION, 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 donations, 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 Feb 17, 2023