September  2002

Vol. 4, No. 9

Lost in space:
Where did that database go?

It's possible to work on software that interfaces with a database such as Access, Oracle, or others, without really knowing where that database is located, but this isn't such a good idea. For one thing, good technology hygiene demands that databases and other critical information sources should be backed up every day. Without knowing where the database lives, it will be difficult to perform this back-up function.

Unfortunately, the best reminder to back up data is the frustrating experience of losing the data. But without knowing the location of the database, it is possible to lose data even when you think it has been backed up, says PQ Systems technical analyst Joe Paulos. For example, if you are using SQCpack or GAGEpack and you do File, Close Current Database and then do File, Open Database, the program will take you to a screen where you search or browse for your database. This may start browsing in a directory or folder in which your database is not located. To save time, the best approach is to learn where your database resides.

PQ Systems' software programs, like others you may be using, have unique, but similar, ways to help users find the location of databases. Check your documentation for the specific approach that your software uses to locate databases. Remember, too, that with GAGEpack, you may have multiple databases to check.

Once the database location has been determined, a variety of options are available to assure that the data is backed up. The simplest of these is storing the database on a network drive that is routinely backed up nightly by a network administrator or MIS department. Most MIS departments have tape backup units that copy sensitive data for protection against computer failure.

Of course, the database can also be copied to a CD or Zip medium. Most databases will not fit on a single diskette, but compression software will render the data manageable for transfer to several diskettes.

In upcoming releases of PQ Systems' programs, such as SQCpack 2000 4.5, the software will be able to show a number of databases that have been opened recently, at the bottom of the File menu in much the same way as Microsoft Word offers. Regardless of whether your system is backed up by you or someone else, knowing where your databases are located is an important step in saving the time and frustration of losing data.

If you have questions about locating and backing up your database, call PQ Systems' technical support team at 800-777-5060. But remember the importance of 

  • knowing where your data resides;
  • having a system of regular backup; 
  • knowing and documenting this system.


Copyright 2002 PQ Systems.

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