Time Machine creates hourly backups and will create a copy of your database every time anything new is added to Entourage. This can quickly fill up your Time Machine drive.
One option is to add your Identity to your original Time Machine backup then exclude it. Manually add it back to Time Machine periodically to have the update included in your Time Machine backups. You can use a Task in Entourage to remind you.
Obviously, if you need regular backups this method is a big pain. In addition to the drain on your system backing up hourly you must quit All Microsoft applications (Entourage, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, My Day, Office Reminders, Messenger) and the Microsoft Database daemon before backing up. See article Quit all Microsoft applications before backing up for the latest info on what is needed to quit for a successful backup. (clarification added April 2009)
There is an alternative for Entourage users using a Folder Action and Automator. The nice thing about this method is it can be used by those still running Tiger and it’s free.
How to “Time Machine” your Entourage Data:
The instructions below are for Leopard. Some instructions are slightly different in Tiger.
Create a folder (preferably on another drive). In this tutorial, the folder for backups is named “Archive Entourage Mail”.Be sure to exclude this folder or drive from Time Machine. Note: some users have reported problems using folder actions on external FireWire drives.
Install the folder action and attach action FolderOrg.app to your “Archive Entourage Mail” folder: Learn more about folder actions.
- Download FolderOrgX (freeware). FolderOrgX is an AppleScript Folder Action that organizes files and folders by moving them into dated subfolders. This is helpful in keeping files and folders organized by the day they were added, not created or modified. Without this folder action, any new files added would be overwritten.
- Drag “FolderOrg X” file into folder “/Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts/”
- Turn Folder Actions on with Folder Actions Switch (double click to install)
- Attach FolderOrg X to your Folder “Archive Entourage Mail”. Use contextual menu (hold down the Control key and click the item a.k.a. Right Click) to add action.
Open Automator in your Applications folder. Tiger users will not see options like Custom, Files & Folders, Music & Audio etc. In Tiger, Automator will open to a blank workflow. This is the only difference in using Automator. If you are new to Automator see Mac 101: Automator
Easy Way: You can download this workflow here. You will need to modify the path for the location of your data and the destination.
- Create a new workflow (Leopard users select custom)
- Select “Run AppleScript” This was edited April, 2009 to include All Microsoft applications
tell application "Microsoft Entourage" to quit tell application "Microsoft Database Daemon" to quit tell application "Microsoft Office Reminders" to quit tell application "My Day" to quit tell application "Microsoft Word" to quit tell application "Microsoft Excel" to quit tell application "Microsoft PowerPoint" to quit tell application "Microsoft Messenger" to quit
- Select Files & Folders
- Drag Action “Get Specified Finder Items” to the workflow area on the right of the window. Add you Identity folder (Main is the default name)
- Drag Action “Copy Finder Items” to the workflow area on the right of the window. Select the folder “Archive Entourage Mail” from the popup
- Save your workflow as as a plugin to iCal and name it “MUD Backup”. Automator automatically saves the plugin to your User’s Preferences/Workflows folder. iCal opens itself and automatically creates an event with an alarm that opens your workflow. Note: I created a calendar in iCal named Automator to hold my Automator actions.
Using iCal to schedule your backup.
Note: In Tiger, iCal open with the Edit window open at the side, in Leopard, select Edit.
- In the Edit window options, first set the time you want the backup scheduled. (As long as Time Machine is backing up the database when the file is not open (the Database Daemon is not running), then the databases should be valid.) Next, select repeat: (I selected every day) Leave end time set to Never. Note: remember to set a Schedule in System Preferences to wake shortly before the scheduled time and to sleep after it’s complete. Be sure to pad the time a bit on both ends.
- Click on Open file to select your “MUD Backup” workflow.
- An additional option is to add an alarm to notify you that the action was run. You can use the workflow included with Automator named “Daily Event Summary” for a notification.
Managing your backups.
This is the manual part of the process. You can do this weekly or monthly depending on the space you have on your drive for backups. Like the Time Machine application, you need to keep a snapshot. If you do a daily backup, you might delete all copies and keep one per week. Then at the end of the month delete all but one backup. Often database corruption is not evident and if you need to restore your Identity you might have to go back in time to a previous update.
- If you just put Entourage into Offline mode at night the daemon will not be active. Most users have reported that as long as the database is not being used during backup there is no problem.
- If the database gets written during the backup you can either (1) lose some data or (2) have a corrupt backup file. If you are not writing anything…e.g., no automatic Send & Receive All schedule…you can back up without quitting anything. To be absolutely safe, you should quit Entourage before backup.
- It’s also another good reason not to let Time Machine backup your database hourly. Most likely it will be active during most of the backups during the day.
- Try using the folder action on other folders too like your downloads, desktop or screen snaps folders. If you find the files not going into the dated folder after a restart, just select to Enable folder actions from the contextual menu.
Added April 24, 2009: See article Quit all Microsoft applications before backing up for the latest info on what is needed to quit for a successful backup.