For any data that’s important, backup is key to good computing practices. Find an easy solution for your backup needs and DO IT! This series is going to talk about what and how to backup from the simplest method of manually copying your data to using third party software.
Microsoft Entourage installs the Microsoft User Data folder (MUD) in your User’s Document folder. Inside this folder is your Identity (named Main by default). All of your mail, contacts, etc are stored here. When you backup, you should backup your Main Identity folder.
Path: ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2008 Identities/your identity
Let’s start with the most basic option to backup…. make a copy your Main Identity folder. If you aren’t in the habit of backing up, you can set a Task in Entourage to remind you. No excuses for not backing up now. However, you will soon get tired of manually performing this chore so continue reading to see what other options you have along with keys to a good backup.
Keys to a good backup
- As a general rule you should shut down all Office programs (including Office Notifications) before any Entourage backups.
- It’s possible not to discover corruption and you could be backing up a corrupt file. This is why you should keep an archive and/or snapshot of older backups just in case.
- Save you backup on a different drive or burn to DVD.
- Select multiple options for backup when your data is important.
Consider the size of your database
Do you have emails going back for years in your Identity? It might be time to consider archiving your data. Not only will you not have to backup the old messages daily, it will not be in constant use and in jeopardy of being corrupted. See Options for end of year archiving on ideas to archive your old data. Don’t use your Main Identity in Entourage to store every email you’ve received since time began.
Entourage and Time Machine
Since Time Machine runs hourly, it’s not possible to quit Entourage and the Microsoft Database daemon prior to the hourly backup. The developers suggest you exclude your Main Identity in Time Machine.
Backup Entourage to Time Machine nightly
Previously, in Alternative method to use Entourage and Time Machine we discussed how to use Automator and iCal to schedule quitting Entourage and the Microsoft Database daemon and scheduling the backup with iCal so Time Machine could have a copy that was safe to backup. This can be done daily (or however you scheduled) the workflow in iCal.
Download the workflow and edit for your computer or follow these directions. [Note there are some differences between Leopard and Snow Leopard actions. If you see a notice about older version, drag over the new to replace older version.]
- Create a folder in your Documents folder named “Entourage Backup”
- Open Automator and select “Custom”
- Select “Run AppleScript” in Utilities. Paste this script to quit Entourage into the workflow where indicated (* Your script goes here *) This script was edited April, 2009 to include all Microsoft applications. See link at end for more info.
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)
- Select Files & Folders Drag Action “Copy Finder Items” to the workflow area on the right of the window. Select the folder “Entourage Backup” from the pop up. Check “Replace existing files”
- Select Utilities. Add action “Show Growl Notification” (optional)
- Save your workflow as “Backup Main Identity for Time Machine”.
- Next, Save As plug-in select iCal plugin/alarm. iCal will open and allow you to schedule your backup. Be sure to set the time to quit, frequency (I suggest daily) and you can add notifications if desired.
Don’t have Leopard for Time Machine backups?
For users that have not upgraded to Leopard, check out this tutorial on how to make a Time-Machine-like backup.
Backup your data as files
In addition to backing up your entire Identity, you can save your data in many formats.
- Entourage archive (.rge) files (can only be used by Entourage)
- MBOX files ( not only cross platform, but can be used by most email applications)
- tab delimited files, text (can be imported into Excel or opened by any text editor)
We’ll go into more detail on exporting as individual files and formats in one of the upcoming parts to this series. If you want to get a head start on one of the third party options we’ll be reviewing, download EagleFiler by Michael Tsai author of SpamSieve. Free 30-day, fully-featured trial.
Share your backup method
Please share your method for backing up in comments. If you have a particular method that you feel deserves an article contact me through the comments and we can arrange you to share your backup option.
I suggest reading the Take Control of Mac OS X Backups for general backup of your Mac.