Backup up Entourage … SAFELY

While Microsoft decides whether you really can or cannot copy your mail database while the Microsoft Database Daemon is running, here’s my tip for increasing your chances of success.

1. For Time Machine users, exclude the Entourage database from your backups. Do this by going to Time Machine Preferences -> Options, then click on the little + button, now starting at your home folder go to Documents, then Microsoft User Data, then highlight Office 2008 Identities and press Ok. You should now see Office 2008 Identities in your list of excluded folders. If you don’t do this, Time Machine will backup the Entourage database hourly as it’s constantly changing, however as the file is always open the backup will be useless and it will just waste space on your Time Machine drive.

2. Create an AppleScript to stop the Microsoft Database Daemon. Go to Spotlight (the magnifying glass on your menu bar) and enter Script Editor if you’re not sure how to find it. Type the following line into the Script Editor window:

tell application “Microsoft Database Daemon” to quit

You can save the script wherever you want, but I tend to keep mine all together in a folder called Scripts in my Documents folder. When saving it the script, give it a meaningful name like Quit_MDD or Quit_Daemon. (I find leaving spaces out of file names can make life easier when using scripts).

3. Now create a second AppleScript, but this time enter the following line:

tell application “Microsoft Database Daemon” to launch

Save the script with a different name, e.g. Restart_MDD.

Now you have a pair of scripts that can be run before and after you copy the folder with your Entourage database in it

4. Create a new folder anywhere you like (under Documents for example), called Entourage_Backups. Make sure the folder is in a location where it’ll get backed up by Time Machine if that’s what you use.

Now how you back up your Entourage database is up to you but you need to run the Quit_MDD script before copying it, and the Restart_MDD script afterwards.

I use ChronoSync to move files around, e.g. to copy music and photos off my NAS drive on to my Mac. In ChronoSync it’s easy to specify scripts that run before and after a copy/synchronize job, and I’ve created a once daily scheduled job that copies the whole of the Office 2008 Identities folder to my Entourage_Backups folder. I also use ChronoSync’s ability to archive files if the job overwrites them, so I can keep up to ten previous versions of my Entourage database in case of any problems.

There you go – job done!