Monday, October 28, 2013

FTM2014 - Back Up's from an End User's Point of View

In the weekly Monday's with Myrt, Hangout On Air this morning (afternoon, evening for some), we got into a discussion on new FTM2014 features. The talk was in response to a question from the Dear Myrtle Genealogy Community

During the discussion we got into a discussion about the Back Up Feature. From an end user's point of view, I am going to try to explain how I use it and why.

Normally, when we think of a Back Up file, some software programs designed to back up a file, will compress the file. That is making it smaller. That is true.

Family Tree Maker actually has 2 different Back Up's but they do NOT compress the file at all.

My main FTM2014 file:
  • People - 8,933
  • Marriages - 3,164
  • Filesize - 26,476

This is from the Plan Workspace. One nice thing is that it reminds me the date this file was last saved AND last backed up. I opened the file, did a Tools, Compact File, and selected the Back Up option. I do this All of the time.

There is another setting in the Tools, Options menu. That is the Automatic Back up feature. It creates an .FTMB Automatic Back Up file. The file will labeled that way.

For comparison, I used Windows Explorer to see the File Sizes here.
  • <filename>.ftm = 25,8 Mb
  • <filename>_AutoBackup.ftmb = 25,8 Mb
These numbers, from what I can tell, are the DATA File Size. So the File Size and the Automatic Back Up file size are the same. I am sure that what is on the screen capture above is different, but there may be some program data being counted. They are close enough for me, that I am talking Apples to Apples.

The difference between the File, Back Up command, and the Back Up that is performed with the Compact File command is the Option to include in that Back up, the Media Files. That Data file (FTM) and the  Automatic Back Up (FTMB) do NOT include the media files. I have 867 media files so they are NOT included.

The Manual Back Up, the ONE I Make, has options.
  • Where to save this Back Up
  • What to include
  • Media files
  • Historical events
  • Web Favorites
  • Allow restored file to resume syncing -- NEW in FTM2014

 My 25,8 Mb file, including my Images has become 834 Mb in size.

I have included, and this is my default settings that I check EVERY TIME, the ability to take this manually created back up, move it to another Computer, and resume Syncing.

I have done this on Test Files, so I know it works.

Would I do this to move the file, on a regular bases, NO. I do, at least once a month, Test My Back Ups. On the Same computer AND now with this new feature, another computer. That's how I know it works.

Would I do this by using Dropbox or some other cloud based service? Not on a regular basis. Why? (to answer the question that was raised this morning) is that I have seen and tried to help other users with Sync Issues. This whole feature, from my experience, is a very complex process. I don't want to mess with it.

I will have a blog post, shortly, to talk about this in a little more detail.

Back to my "end of day" or at the point that "I won't want to have to reenter all of that" I do a Tools, Compact File command. BUT I select my External Drive that is offered in the above screen Capture.

The Automatic Back Up feature is under Tools, Options:

What this does, is to Create that Automatic Back Up file, every time you close the program. When I do the Compact File, Back Up command, I normally don't get that extra FTMB file. But if I close the program before I do my normal end of day process, I will get the FTMB.

Do I have a lot of Back Up? You Bet. Do I test them out? You Bet. This file that I am working with started in Version 3.4.

NOTE: New to FTM2014.

There is some information in FTM2014 and previous versions that can NOT be seen in an Ancestry Member Tree. Fact Notes, Source (should be Citation) Notes, Research Log to name the ones I know about. FTM2014 now stores them in the AMT. You can't see them, but they are in the AMT. I have done some preliminary testing and I have been able to download an AMT and was able to see those notes. I have some further testing on my main file, but the early test allowed me to see that information that I could not see in the AMT.

Bottom line here, for me:
  • Working file, including media files on my Hard Drive
  • Working Back Up on my External Drive
  • AMT has become a Back Up (on the Ancestry Cloud)
  • My Hard Drive is also backed up on a different External Drive (working file)
  • My Hard Drive "My Documents" Library is also backed up in the cloud twice a day automatically
Food for thought:

Do you want to loose your information ??? Do you want to have to re-do the work ???

Is there any experience behind this extra work? YOU BET. But I have seen some typo's in THIS file that I entered in 1997 in Version 3.4. (it was even dated)

Copyright © 2013 by H R Worthington


  1. Hello Russ,
    Is there a way I can have a new and separate backup when closing FTM2005. I'm pretty sure it used to do this a few years back but now just writes over the last backup. I recently found out that my 40,000 name .FTW file was corrupted and when I tried to open the backup it was also corrupted. I had not backed up my tree manually since August and so that backup had 38,000 names instead of 40,000. Also doing a backup from the file menu creates a compact backup which I don't want. Any help appreciated.

    1. Gambo Man,

      Follow my instructions in this Blog Post. Yes, the screen's will look different in FTM2005, but I have been using this same process since Version 3.4. Add the Date and Time when asked for a filename.

      As an aside, I really suggest that you come up to FTM2019. Not just for the features, but the stability of the program. - Especially with 40,000 profiles in the database.

      One last thing, You should also, TEST your Back Ups. Not all of them, but once a month, do a File, Restore.



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