Taking Care of Your Helix Express Collection

Once your database is built and running, it is easy to forget one of the most important aspects of managing your data: backing up your database and checking for file damage. Making good backups of your Collection will ensure that all your hard work does not get lost. Our utilities help you determine whether or not a Collection is in good shape. Unfortunately, both your computer and your software are susceptible to problems which can lead to damaged files. While we offer a Collection repair service to assist you when problems occur, repairing a Collection takes time and we cannot repair all types of damage. If your database is critical to the operation of your business, the loss of your database, even for a few days, can be very difficult. In the end, the best way to recover from problems is to prepare for them before they occur.

Some common mistakes include:

  1. Not making backups - this is the most common error. Even if you are not running into problems now, you need to maintain backups to prepare for potential problems.

  2. Not checking for damage - another common error. If you carefully maintain backups of damaged files, you are wasting your time. A damaged backup will not help you.

  3. Not rotating between backup media - a subtle but serious error. If you keep good backups and check for damage, but your backup tape or diskette fails, you will be left without a good backup copy.

With good planning, it is easy to avoid these common mistakes:

  1. Turn backups into a daily routine or purchase a backup system that will work automatically each night.

  2. Check your Collection for damage at regular intervals according to your backup schedule.

  3. Rotate among several sets of backup media-tapes, cartridges, or diskettes.

These steps can virtually eliminate the chance that your database will ever become damaged beyond your ability to recover. If you have an undamaged backup of your Collection you can usually dump most of the records out of the damaged Collection, load them into the backup, and be running again in a few hours. If you keep proper backups you should never need to have your Collection repaired.


Using the Helix Utilities

One misconception about the Helix Utilities is that they are provided so you can check for damage after a crash or problem occurs. In fact, the Utilities cannot help you once problems are evident, they can only verify that a problem exists. The Utilities we provide are actually designed to help you manage your backups better. Use the Utilities to check your Collection for damage before you back it up-before problems occur.

Your Collection must pass both the Helix Utility and the Update Collection utility to be considered undamaged. The Data Damage Check command under the Tools menu of the Helix Utility checks your Collection for damaged records, damaged indexes, and other data-related problems.

Many people do not realize that the Update Collection utility also checks for damage-structure damage. When you run Update Collection on a Collection that has already been updated to the current version, a dialog box opens asking if you want to check the Collection for damage. Please note that this damage check is much faster than a Collection update process and it will not invalidate the indexes in the Collection. Once again, your Collection must pass both Utilities to be considered undamaged.

Utility Tips

  1. Always run the Utilities on a copy of the Collection. If the Collection fails either of the utilities, Helix may not be able open the Collection and you would not be able to rescue data from it by dumping.
    You can duplicate the Collection in the Finder by choosing the Duplicate command under the File menu.

  2. If your Collection fails either Utility, check your hard disk for damage using a hard drive diagnostic tool such as Norton Utilities or MacTools Deluxe.

  3. Diskettes, cartridges, and tapes can wear out. Rotate backup media out of service after a few dozen backups and use them for less vital matters.

An Example of a Good Backup Routine

Here is a common backup routine. I make a backup copy of my Collection each day. To ensure that I always have a good copy of the Collection available, I check the Collection for damage each Friday before backing up. Since Friday's tapes hold the good Collection, I also rotate among Friday's tapes and send them off-site for storage. If something goes wrong and I find a damaged Collection, I can check my recent backups and retrieve a good copy. No matter what happens, I know that I can always go to Friday's backup and get a good copy. If I were unwilling to lose a week's worth of work, I could decrease the interval between damage checks.

Run the Collection through the Data Damage Check in the Helix Utility.

Backup Routine Graphic

Technical support hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday - Friday.

Internet Technical Support: support, Sales: sales

FTP: ftp://ftp.helix-sti.com/Helix/


Last modified: February 26, 1998

Software Technologies, Inc. (f/k/a Helix Technologies) - support

Software Technologies, Inc. (f/k/a Helix Technologies)
610 South Frazier
Conroe, TX 77301

409-760-2400 Sales
800-364-3549
409-760-2400 Main Office
409-539-4141 Main Office Fax


Copyright © 1998 Software Technologies. Helix Express ® & Helix ® are registered trademarks of The Chip Merchant Inc., d/b/a Helix.