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OS X - Apps and Games Discussion of applications and games available for Mac OS X.

Backing up Entourage safely?

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rob.h's Avatar
Member Since: Mar 24, 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 90
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I've read various things about backing up Entourage and Time Machine. In The Entourage Help Blog there's an article that simply says you should exclude the Entourage database from your Time Machine backup then, once a day while Entourage isn't running, you should manually copy the database file to a folder from where Time Machine can then back it up. Unlike the main database, the backup database will only change once a day so Time Machine will only back it up once a day, rather than hourly as it's changing all the time.

This is all very well, but there's another (later) article here in the same blog that contradicts the first by saying:

Time Machine is a huge boon to Mac OS X users because it makes backups simple but it can not backup the Entourage Database properly. Time Machine and other backup applications must copy each file to a different location. To do this, the file must be closed. However, the Entourage Database is always open because of the Microsoft Database Daemon.

A daemon is a process on your computer that runs in the background. The Microsoft Database Daemon is constantly using the Entourage Database so that it can remind you of events, create Spotlight caches for searching and monitor the health of the Database itself. Even if Entourage is not running, the daemon is still using it.

If Time Machine or any other backup utility were to copy the Database file while its in use then the backup would be corrupted (although your original is still just fine).

Basically, even if you shut down all your Office apps, the daemon will still be running and holding the Entourage database open, so a manual copy of the file may not result in a clean (non-corrupt) copy.

I use Chronosync to take a copy of my Entourage database once daily to a folder where Time Machine can back it up, so I have adapted it with a couple of AppleScripts to make sure the database is closed while it's being copied. In Chronosync you can run a script before and after the backup, but you could adapt this to many other solutions for backing up Entourage.

Before the backup, a Quit_MDD script is run that simply contains the following line:

tell application "Microsoft Database Daemon" to quit

Then once the backup has completed, a second script (Restart_MDD) runs to do the opposite:

tell application "Microsoft Database Daemon" to launch

(The reason I relaunch the daemon is that the Entourage Reminder service uses it). Anyways, hope someone will find this useful

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Member Since: Feb 23, 2008
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Originally Posted by rob.h View Post
If Time Machine or any other backup utility were to copy the Database file while its in use then the backup would be corrupted (although your original is still just fine).
Somehow I doubt it. I've backed up my entire HDD before replacing it with SuperDuper and of course did not stop the daemon (so database was open) - and then restored it (as is started up from external HDD I guess the database was open again) and it worket OK.
So ...
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