Backup suggestions to avoid catastrophic data loss....

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rickpos
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Backup suggestions to avoid catastrophic data loss....

Post by rickpos » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:50 pm

I posted this back in October of '04 and am posting it up again because it is important to get into the habit of backing up your data.

-Rickpos

Side note: Dale, can you make this a sticky? Thanks!

-===========-

If you've worked with computers even a short amount of time, you've heard stories of someone who didn't take the time to backup their data and the many days of frustration (sometimes consequences) that followed. This is especially true when the data in question relates to a business (ie. manually correcting inventory, etc.)

It's a bit of a read, but I think it'll be worth your time.... Perhaps Dale can include it with the POS distribution?

With that in mind, I'd like to suggest a few things that will help safeguard your data.

1. Run your POS system off a UPS. You don't need an 1100VA model for the job, as you only need a few minutes to close the register and run a backup program/batch file. A 500VA model should be more than enough for this task. I suggest no less than 500VA so you won't run the risk of having the UPS shut-off in the middle of the process. Those running multiple registers may think twice about purchasing a UPS for every station because of the initial cost of implementing them. My answer to that is: Carefully think of how much time and money (since nobody works for free) will be lost to correcting the stock table and manually re-entering lost transactions. At around $50-60 per station for a 500VA UPS, it is a worthwhile investment, IMHO. That is if you're serious about safeguarding your data.

2. If you're networking registers, purchase an inline RJ45 surge protector for each station. This is an electrical entry point that many don't learn about until it's too late. It's a frustrating realization for those who purchased a UPS thinking their system would be protected from power irregularities (for the exception of a direct lightning strike, which would toast anything in its way.)

3. Do some research and choose a method for backing up your data that will suit your needs (ie. Tape drive, CDRW, USB Key, etc.) Whichever backup method you choose, make sure to purchase at least two pieces of media. This is suggested in order to limit your loss in case the backup media goes bad. Should you choose to use a tape drive, for example, keep in mind that it's media has a shelf life and is sensitive to variations in storage temperatures and conditions (ie. going from a warm environment in an office to cold weather outside, etc.) All forms of media have their pros and cons, so I'll stress the importance of good research. For those running a small to medium sized store, a 250MB Zip drive or equivalent, or a 256MB USB key should be more than enough. However, those who choose to store customer information may need to look into using a higher capacity drive. When making your decision, keep in mind how much time it will take to complete a backup as your UPS solution has to provide sufficient run-time. In my opinion, an internal Zip drive or equivalent would be a better bet as you wouldn't have to wait for a program to load. A simple batch file would do the job. The same would be true for a USB key.

4. Have a backup/restore plan in place. This is akin to having a family emergency plan in the event that a natural disaster strikes. Somewhere near the PC (or taped to the monitor), list the backup/restore procedures. Note the importance of keeping track of time as the UPS would not keep the PC running for too long. If you're running a small store with one cash register, the procedure would be completed with relative ease. This becomes a bit more challenging in a bigger store or restaurant environment. In that case, you'll have to take the time to train your employees and possibly conduct a dry-run so they don't freeze up when time is of the essence. In a networked environment running under Windows or DOS for that matter, I suggest that the Global cash register be run off a more powerful UPS to give you additional time to backup the data once the remote registers have completed their run.

5. ** Get into habit of backing up daily ** This can not be stressed enough!

Below are a couple of examples of batch files that you can use to implement your backup solution. If you'll be using a tape or CDRW drive, you'll have to run through the steps a few times and write them down as you go to make sure the procedure is as efficient as possible.

For simplicity's sake, you can name the batch file "backup.bat". The basic assumption is that POS is located on the C: drive and the backup drive is on D:. Modify the batch file accordingly. You'll note that I use REM statements in my examples. I do this so that folks that are not too familiar with batch files can know what's going on. The use of REM lines without text are only there to space the commands. Feel free to remove them when creating your batch file(s). The switches /V and /Y used in the copy command are for verifying that the files copied match the original and for overwriting existing files. That last note is intended for those wanting to know why those switches were used.

Example 1: Backing up to local drive and Zip drive or USB key
------------------------------------------------------------------------

@echo off
rem Creates local backup directory if it doesn't exist
rem -------------------------------------------------------
rem
if not exist c:\posback md c:\posback
rem
rem Creates backup directory on Zip disk or USB key if it doesn't exist
rem ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
if not exist d:\posback md d:\posback
echo Backing up POS data to backup drive (D:\POSBACK).... Please wait!
copy c:\pos d:\posback /V /Y > nul
rem
echo Backing up POS data to local drive (C:\POSBACK).... Please wait!
copy c:\pos c:\posback /V /Y > nul
rem
echo Done!
echo.
echo Remove backup media and store in a safe location!
echo.


Example 2: Backing up to local drive and network server drive
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

For this setup, I recommend sharing a directory on the server and creating sub-directories for each register (ie. REG-A, REG-B, etc.) Modify the batch file accordingly.


@echo off
if "%1" == "" goto idreg
rem Creates local backup directory if it doesn't exist
rem -------------------------------------------------------
rem
if not exist c:\posback md c:\posback
rem
rem Creates backup directory on server drive if it doesn't exist
rem -------------------------------------------------------
if not exist d:\reg-%1 md d:\reg-%1
rem
echo Backing up POS data to network drive (D:\REG-%1).... Please wait!
copy c:\pos d:\reg-%1 /V /Y > nul
rem
echo Backing up POS data to local drive (C:\POSBACK).... Please wait!
copy c:\pos c:\posback /V /Y > nul
echo Done!
echo.
echo Let your manager know that you've completed the backup!
echo.
goto end

:idreg
echo.
echo Need register identifer before proceeding!
echo.
echo Example: backup a or backup 1
echo.
goto end

:end



Example 3: Restoring backed up data from local copy or Zip disk/USB key
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You can call this file "restore.bat" This is for a NON-NETWORKED PC.

@echo off
if "%1" == "" goto needopt
echo.
echo **Warning**
echo.
echo Restoring data will result in loss of transactions since last backup!
echo.
echo Press any key to continue or CTRL-C to exit....
pause > nul
echo.
if "%1"=="2" goto restdev
echo Restoring POS data from local drive (C:\POSBACK).... Please wait!
copy c:\posback c:\pos /V /Y > nul
echo Done.
echo.
goto end

:restdev
echo Restoring POS data from backup device (D:\POSBACK).... Please wait!
copy d:\posback c:\pos /V /Y > nul
echo Done.
echo.
goto end

:needopt
echo.
echo You need to enter restore option before operation can continue!
echo.
echo Example:
echo.
echo restore 1 (for restoring from local copy)
echo restore 2 (for restoring from backup device)
echo.
goto end

:end

Example 4: Restoring backed up data from local copy or server drive
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You can call this file "restnet.bat"

@echo off
if "%1" == "" goto needopt
echo.
echo **Warning**
echo.
echo Restoring data will result in loss of transactions since last backup!
echo.
echo Press any key to continue or CTRL-C to exit....
pause > nul
echo.
if "%1"=="2" goto restdev
echo Restoring POS data from local drive (C:\POSBACK).... Please wait!
copy c:\posback c:\pos /V /Y > nul
echo Done!
echo.
goto end

:restdev
echo Restoring POS data from server drive (D:\REG-%2).... Please wait!
copy d:\reg-%2 c:\pos /V /Y > nul
echo Done!
echo.
goto end

:needopt
echo.
echo You need to enter restore option before operation can continue!
echo.
echo Example:
echo.
echo restore 1 (for restoring from local copy)
echo restore 2 x (for restoring from server drive -- x is your register id)
echo.
goto end

:end


Closing thoughts:
-------------------

Having a backup solution is very important, so please take it into consideration. The batch files were designed to help you get started with your backup/restore procedure.

Unfortunate, but necessary disclaimer:
--------------------------------------------
The opinions expressed above are for informational purposes only. The sample batch files are not warranted to do anything. You may use any or all of the information as you please, but may not hold me liable for any and all issues that may arise.
--------------------------------------------

Comments and suggestions are more than welcome!

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ibmsystems
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Post by ibmsystems » Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:05 pm

Yes like it was said in the post "Death!" something as simple as a thumbdrive can save your pos like in my 2 stores of which have 3 registers each the manager for that store and i each have our own thumbdrive and we take server backups each night i also have tapeback ups in my server and like you said all registers have UPS's and line protectors it is somelittle things that make the dirrence

P.S in fact i bought a thumbdrive just today :D

grahamsw
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if using cdrw

Post by grahamsw » Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:19 am

if you choose to use a cdrw, may i reccomend expressburn a free software program that can do everything that roxio can do but with a much simpler interface and a added bonus of being free which i think everyone here likes .

so here is the link. and take a minute to look at their other free audio software because it is quite good and i use allmost all of it.

http://www.nch.com.au/burn :D :D
Graham Wakefield
Wakefield Tech Services and Mobile POS

Tech

POS-Serve

Post by Tech » Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:31 am

Talking about backing up data...

POS-Serve has a backup feature built in and can be modified
to backup to a folder on the C drive AND to a thumb drive.

So, anyone running the POS-Serve beta use that feature.
Anyone NOT running POS-Serve, email me at
techrobinson@gmail.com with the subject line: POS-S REQ
and ill send that to you.

ALSO, the name for POS-Serve MUST change. Any ideas?

THnx, Tech

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ibmsystems
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Location: London - UK

Post by ibmsystems » Sun Sep 10, 2006 5:52 pm

Old topic: Yes

but recently i've found a solution to this

I've taken a 200GB External HD and Plugged it into a Mini-USB Hub which all of my Terminals than plug into all the computers see the HD and assign it the same Drive letter"F:/" so than i take a program which everyday on each Terminal Copies the data in the "C:/POS" Folder and moves a copy to the Drive letter "F:/" It may not be the most simple solution but its a very solid and secure way to do it on a small budget

Dylan
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RS

Post by Dylan » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:47 pm

The comnpany I work for now, RadioShack, has 1gb USB drives on dsale right now (at leasty in my district) for 19.99 and 2GB drives for 34.99.
This is a great solution for any retail store. But be sure that you dont do anything stupid like leave the USB drive in the USB port or preferably even in the bldg. If lighting hits your server, your USB drive is at risk as well. Also, If the bldg goes down in flames, again you're screwed. Have the closing manager take it home or something. At $20 for a 1GB, pretty much any store can afford to have a couple.

Also, if anyone shows an honest interest in it, I don't mind writing the code into IDS to backup (and restore) to(/from) USB.
Tech

grahamsw
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`

Post by grahamsw » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:11 am

normally i use 5 different drives (usb flash drives that is) as the backup meathod, a new one is swaped to every week and then you altenate in cycle. It works pretty well
Graham Wakefield
Wakefield Tech Services and Mobile POS

listerofsmeg
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Re: Backup suggestions to avoid catastrophic data loss....

Post by listerofsmeg » Mon Sep 29, 2008 1:07 am

I have a suggestion regrading backup.

Instead of just using a flash drive, backup on a external file server serivce such as http://www.getdropbox.com/ . Setup the batch file to save to the My Dropbox folder on the DHPOS server and set the batch file to run every hour (or whatever time you think best). The getdropbox gets synced everytime something is added or changed. Also the dropbox only uploads what has changed in the file/s. This means if your server's harddrive's fails, you atleast have a backup from a hours ago instead of a cupple of days ago. Also, you will not need to spend a lot of internet access.

getdropbox is free for 2gb of storeage space.
I used to be known as the theposman!
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IAN
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Re: Backup suggestions to avoid catastrophic data loss....

Post by IAN » Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:23 am

listerofsmeg wrote:I have a suggestion regrading backup.

Instead of just using a flash drive, backup on a external file server serivce such as http://www.getdropbox.com/ . Setup the batch file to save to the My Dropbox folder on the DHPOS server and set the batch file to run every hour (or whatever time you think best). The getdropbox gets synced everytime something is added or changed. Also the dropbox only uploads what has changed in the file/s. This means if your server's harddrive's fails, you atleast have a backup from a hours ago instead of a cupple of days ago. Also, you will not need to spend a lot of internet access.

getdropbox is free for 2gb of storeage space.
nice idea but dont work for pure dos users. and incase you thinking that if anyone is to network they must use windows.. thats not all correct you have dos based products like novel or even some nix based systems with emulators for dos control
IAN

(Everything i say is a lie! so am i telling you the truth?)

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