SME Backups Best Practices

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It's critical to backup SME on a daily basis since SME contains your business information. Backing up SME data is not an option, it's a necessity!

IMPORTANT NOTE: SME uses Microsoft SQL Server, which can NOT be backed up like a file because SQL Server locks the database file. SME database file MUST be backed up using SQL Server backup tools. Most backup programs can handle SQL Server backups. SME also has facilities to backup the SQL Server to zip file.

Files to Backup

The Following are the items that need to be backed up for SME:

  1. The SQL database. This is done through backup tools built to backup the SQL databases explained below.
  2. The SME directory where SME was installed. This contains the sme5.exe and all the user settings
  3. The data directory and common files path that contains custom report files and logs. This is usually part of the SME directory from 2 above, unless you have a sepcial install that places this somewhere else. Many times this will contain the SQL database files, howere these can not be backed up with normal methods because SQL locks these files. However, everything else can be backed up.

SQL Server Backup Approaches

There are a number of ways to backup SME SQL database as follows:

  1. (Preferred) Use an automatic online backup tool such as iBackups. This tool has capability to backup SQL Server for SME database as well as other important business data. The advantage is that the backup is off-site in case something happens to the local server or office. After subscribing to this service, go to the SQL Server section and configure to backup the SME sql server files. At the time of this writing, iBackups is only $10 per month for 10GB of compressed backup storage, plenty for your SME needs.
  2. (Preferred) Automated backup tools: There are a number of automated backup tools on the market. Be sure to select a backup tool that can backup Microsoft SQL Server databases. See Wikipedia List of Backup Software.
  3. (Not Recommended) SME Backups: SME has capability to generate a zip file of the database and user files. Once this zip file is generated, it must be backed up to another computer, tape, CD, or other source.
  4. (Not Recommended) Using a batch file to stop the MS SQL Service, copy the files to a backup folder, and restart the service. The batch file can be scheduled with Windows Task Scheduler to run at a regular interval prior to the scheduled backup by your backup software. The following post outlines the steps for this method. Simple Batch Backup for SME

Backup Best Processes

(adapted from Microsoft Technet)

  • Develop backup and restore strategies and test them. With a good plan, you can quickly recover your data if it is lost.
  • Train appropriate personnel.In minimum-security and medium-security networks, assign backup rights to one user and restore rights to a different user. Train personnel with restore rights to perform all of the restore tasks if the administrator is unavailable. In a high-security network, make sure that only administrators can restore files.
  • Create a backup log. Always choose to create a backup log for each backup and print them for reference. Keep a book of logs to make it easier to locate specific files. The backup log is helpful when restoring data; you can print it or read it from any text editor. Also, if the tape containing the backup set catalog is corrupted, the printed log can help you locate a file. Some systems like iBackups send out automatic emails of backup results.
  • Retain copies. Keep at least three copies of the media. Keep at least one copy off-site in a properly-controlled environment.
  • Perform trial restorations. Perform a trial restoration periodically to verify that your files were properly backed up. A trial restoration can uncover hardware problems that do not show up when you verify software.
  • Secure devices and media. Secure both the storage device and the backup media. It is possible for someone to access the data from a stolen medium by restoring the data to another server for which they are an administrator.

Backup Software

IBackup offers monthly and annual subscriptions to solve your workgroup and server backups.

Sql Backup and FTP
Sql Backup and FTP is an incredibly easy to use backup tool that handles SQL backups and saves the output to a local folder, an FTP folder, or both. It also has emailing for the success or failure of the job and even includes scheduling the job. Best of all it's free for 2 databases and has various options for number of databases when you pay for it.

Recovery of SME

  1. Restore the High5Software directory
  2. Restore the SQL Server database into SQL Server
    1. If the SQL Server database has changed, you will need to run SME and re-establish the SQL connection strings. This is handled by the Alias62.ini file and is updated through SME if SME can not connect to the database.
  3. Run SME to make sure that everything is running before you update users
    1. Depending on the situation, you may need to re-license SME and get a license error when you run SME. If this is the case, contact
  4. Update Users
    1. Usually users are only provided shortcut links to SME, if the shortcut has changed (for example a new server), then create a new shortcut and update all the users shortcuts.
    2. If users have SME installed on their computers and the SQL database or server has changed, then you will also need to update the SQL connection from the Alias62.ini file.
    3. See this link for information on client install:
  5. Update SQLink: The QuickBooks sync, SQLink should also be run and updated in case the server connections or QuickBooks location has changed.