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Updated process for automatic backup preferences is needed

jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
Since Quicken has changed the naming convention for automatic backups to include the date/time. there does not seem to be a way to limit the number of backups retained.  The current backup preferences options provide a link to the following help guidance:

Automatic backup files are no longer named or processed in this manner.  Backup files will keep accumulating unless otherwise deleted.  A revision should be provided and a way to set the number of backups should be restored.
Quicken user since 1995
Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020

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  • Tom YoungTom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    What version are you using?  My Quicken (27.28) has automatic backup set at 15, and that's exactly how many I have.  I believe the appending of date/time is an artifact of you selecting this option when making manual backups; it "bleeds over" to the automatic backups. 
  • jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 17
    @Tom Young ,
    Thanks for the reply.  I'm on R29.22.  I currently have 20 backups retained but my preference is set to 6.  A few of those are generated from software updates but at least 15 are routine automatic backups.  Here's what the last few look like:

    I do have a manual backup set but the name does not include the date/time data.
    Do your auto backups follow the convention described in help, numbered 1-15?
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @jrich75 I noticed that the backup created on 10/16 appears to have the version, R29.20, appended to it, where is that coming from?
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • splashersplasher SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭
    The automatic backups have always included the date and time.  With subscription Quicken, since there is no "new" version (year) every Fall and they used to create a Qxxfiles (xx = last two digits of year of previous version) folder and put a copy of your data prior to the upgrade in it, whereas they now create a backup file with the prior release number in the file's name (the R-29.20 portion) when you apply a patch release.  The release backups are not considered as part of the normal automatic backups and are not purged like them against a counter.
    Manual backups have always had the option of including the date (no time) in the backup's filename.
    I see what is shown in Help, but I have to wonder if they have not mixed up the Windows info with the Mac info because Quicken for Windows has never shown a screen as is shown in the Help topic.
    I'll reach out to one of the Mac superusers for an opinion on that.
    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list

  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 18
    @splasher That seems to explain what all the extra backups are, if @jrich75 counts the automatic backups by making the distinction of the naming convention, he'll probably find he only has six.

    The image from Help that @jrich75 posted is only an illustration of how automatic backups work, there is no such screen in Quicken.  If you have the frequency set to one and use Quicken once a week then an automatic backup will be taken weekly.
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • q_lurkerq_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    The automatic backups have always included the date and time.  
    Oh you new users ;) ... back in the 90s and maybe into the 2000s Quicken Windows (and maybe back to DOS?) did automatic backups exactly as now shown in the help file (see above) -- append digits to the filename, delete the oldest (5) and copy (rename) 4 to 5, 3 to 4, etc. as a new backup was added. 

    Really odd that such an old reference still exists in the help files.

    The image from Help that @jrich75 posted is only an illustration of how automatic backups work, there is no such screen in Quicken.  

    I find that info in my Quicken Help (Managing Quicken files / How do I ... Change the options for backing up my Quicken data file > Automatic Backups.)  

  • jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 18
    Rich_M said:
    @splasher That seems to explain what all the extra backups are, if @jrich75 counts the automatic backups by making the distinction of the naming convention, he'll probably find he only has six.
    Actually, there are only 5 pre-update files so there are 15 auto-backup files when there should only be 6.  The oldest I currently have is from September.  Anyway, the maximum file limit setting is not working correctly for me.  But, more is better and I can manually delete some if needed.  I'll see what happens over the next few weeks (with my frequency I get 3-4 a week). 
    Rich_M said:
    The image from Help that @jrich75 posted is only an illustration of how automatic backups work, there is no such screen in Quicken.  If you have the frequency set to one and use Quicken once a week then an automatic backup will be taken weekly.
    That image does come from within Quicken.  The Help link at the top of the Preferences, Backup screen brings up a page containing it.  I was surprised to see the sequence numbering system it describes so wondered if anyone remembers backups like that. Maybe it does apply to a Mac file system. 
    Also, I did go to an older PC and found a Backup folder last used in 2017 which shows 6 backups with the same date/time file name system currently used.  So, as @splasher pointed out, my original thought about a recent change adding the date was wrong but it seems the maximum file limit was working for me back then. 

    UPDATE: Thanks @q_lurker for the history lesson.  I lived thru the old days but my memory is not so good anymore...
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 18
    @q_lurker This help topic is correct regarding automatic backup settings, it still works this way.

    From what I understood from @splasher, it seems backups are also being created in this folder each time you're updated to the next release/version with a different naming convention.

    I think the backups for each release should placed in a separate folder instead of being mixed with the automatic backups.

    This has obviously confused the OP.
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 18
    @jrich75 is there any possibility that some of the old automatic backups are from another data file, perhaps with a slightly different name than you are using now?

    Another possibility is that some have a property such as read only, preventing their deletion.
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 18
    Rich_M said:
    @jrich75 is there any possibility that some of the old automatic backups are from another data file, perhaps with a slightly different name than you are using now?

    Another possibility is that some have a property such as read only, preventing their deletion.
    No to both of those questions. I'm starting to suspect that my maximum has somehow defaulted to 15 rather than using the preference number.  As new backups occur, the older ones disappear so some sort of number management is happening.  Also, I don't have any pre-update files older than my oldest auto-backup so I suspect that they are being removed as well.  The R29.12 backup is number 17 in the folder now so I'll be able to answer that question in a few days.
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @jrich75 Has your setting in preferences unknowingly changed?
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 18
    Actually, I manually changed the maximum backup preference from 10 to 6 when I discovered the additional backups.  It didn't affect the number of files retained.  
    I agree with @q_lurker that the Quicken help files are long overdue for a review and purge of old/miss information.  That was the reason I initially included the help image. 

    Now for one addition observation.  I preserved an image of my 20 file Backup folder some days ago. It includes both the file creation and modification dates.  For some reason, any backup that is generated before a software update, has consistently had a modified date that precedes the creation date.

    In this instance there are two R29.20 backups because I declined a forced update process that began when I first opened Quicken on the 16th.   The significance of the early modified date is a mystery to me.  What is even more mysterious is that on the 17th, the normal auto-back files started to show a similar date/time discrepancy.

    My frequency is set to 3 and I did open Quicken several times yesterday while processing October bills.  Before yesterday all auto-backup files have matching created and modified times.  So, something is definitely changing in the way Quicken is generating backups since R29.22 came out.  Any ideas regarding the reason for these various time stamps? 
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020
  • splashersplasher SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭
    The earlier Mod date makes sense in that when Q tried to update, it made a copy of the copy that was last modified the day before.  Q did not modify the file when it made the copy, just made a copy.

    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list

  • jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    splasher said:
    The earlier Mod date makes sense in that when Q tried to update, it made a copy of the copy that was last modified the day before.  Q did not modify the file when it made the copy, just made a copy.

    But why is the modified date earlier than the created date?  In the sequence shown, I would guess that first modified date/time may be from when I last used Quicken the previous day and maybe the second one is from when I accepted the update.  Or it may have something to do with the last data file update, I did run OSU prior to authorizing the software update (as Quicken advises us to do).  
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020
  • splashersplasher SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭
    @q_lurker
    I did a test install of the oldest version of Q I have, QT2000 (trial version), in a VM.  Q is still under the impression the users are probably using diskettes and overwrite the existing "backup" at the selected location, so there is no scheme to keep the "last #" of "backups".  If you want multiple "backups", you would need multiple diskette sets or multiple folders on your harddrive.
    I refer to them as "backups", but they are just COPIES (no name or extension change) of the data file set ( .qdf, .qel, .qsd, etc).

    On a side note, in QT2000, you were asked if you wanted US or Cdn  Quicken installed, none of today's completely separate country versions with the Cdn version always behind in the update process. 
    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list

  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @q_lurker When I read the help file, I thought the example was an over simplification of the process using numbered files, to make it easier to grasp.

    Now I understand from your explanation that was literally how it worked, I don't go back that far. 

    So the help definitely needs to be updated. 
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    Under normal windows file creation procedures, it makes no sense for a modified date to precede a creation date.  A file can't be modified if it hasn't been created.  So Quicken is intentionally manipulating the backup file properties before the file is saved.  The unanswered question is why and what significance the modified date/time has.  I can't remember when I ran data updates yesterday (there's that memory problem again) so I'm not sure how the modified times may relate to what actually happened during my various sessions.  For the most part, I was just entering transactions after scheduling payments on my bank website.  Many internal data changes but only one OSU in the morning (at 8:51?).  I believe I update PFCU in the evening since it was a weekend so that could account for the 4:34 PM.  


    @q_lurker, do any of your test backup files show something similar?
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020
  • splashersplasher SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭
    @jrich75

    You have that wrong about mod dates before creation dates.  Here are the properties of a file that was created/modified on October 15th but copied to a different folder on October 18th.
    You will notice that the modified date is 10/15 while the created date is 10/18.


    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list

  • jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 18
    I wasn't aware of that but it may make some sense.  The modified date relates to the  file last modified status in it's original location and the created date to the "new" file in a different location.
    That could mean that the modified date of a backup is the last time the actual data file was saved/modified and the created date is the when the backup was generated in the Backup folder.  I'm not sure how that could happen so that there are two files modified at 8:51 AM if the auto-backups are only generated every 3 times Quicken is opened.  Still a mystery to me.... :|
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020
  • splashersplasher SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭
    The AM08.51 file was created after you made changes.  You then open and closed Q some number of times without making any changes which then caused the AM10.13 file to be created with no changes made to the internal contents the file.

    You need to remember that Quicken backups are JUST DOS/WIN copies of the data file with the file's name and extension changed, but the contents are identical.  If you did a File->File Operations->Copy, the modified and creation dates would be the same since it does that copy at the transaction level.
    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list

  • jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    OK @splasher , I think it's finally sinking in.  So the modified date is when changes were last made to the data file and the created date is when the backup was completed.  Is that the way you see it? 
    I guess it's possible I opened and closed Quicken 3 times without making a single change.  Not sure what I was checking on; I'll have to pay more attention. Thanks for your patience and explanation.
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020
  • q_lurkerq_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    jrich75 said:
    ...
    @q_lurker, do any of your test backup files show something similar?
    For the four backups created in that set of tests, the Modified and Created dates for each file agreed and also agreed with the date/time used in the filename appendage.

    But in that same backup folder, I have other instances where the three date/time points do not agree.  In particular, the filename appendage and Created date/times agree with each other, but the Modified date/time can be minutes, hours, and in a few cases days before the other date/time. In all cases, there has been no explicit moving of the file from one folder to another. 

    I am still baffled by that behavior and do not see how @splasher 's explanation applies.  Fine, modified and created can in some cases appear reversed, but what is happening with these backups? 

    Today's test
    Open file @ 4:52 PM
    Update Quotes @ 4:53 PM
    Close program @ 4:54 PM -- Auto-backup created and modified @ 4:54:02 -- all three date/time  references agree

    Open program file @ 4:58 PM
    Enter one transaction 
    Close program @ 4:59 PM (no auto-backup / set for every 2nd access)

    Open program/file @ 5:00 PM
    Enter one transaction @ 5:00 PM
    Wait .... Wait ... Wait ... 5 minutes
    Close program/file @ 5:05 PM -- Auto-backup created and modified @ 5:05:15 -- all three date/time references agree

    The time of the last transaction entry (or other Quicken user action) does not appear to impact the backup file creation of modified time.  

  • splashersplasher SuperUser, Windows Beta ✭✭✭✭
    q_lurker said:
    Open program/file @ 5:00 PM
    Enter one transaction @ 5:00 PM
    Wait .... Wait ... Wait ... 5 minutes
    Close program/file @ 5:05 PM -- Auto-backup created and modified @ 5:05:15 -- all three date/time references agree

    The time of the last transaction entry (or other Quicken user action) does not appear to impact the backup file creation of modified time.  

    Makes sense to me.  Quicken didn't close the file and set the modify time until the program was closed, so the three date/time references should agree.
    The test you didn't report on is when you open and close the file without making any changes multiple times.  Those would show a modify and creation times that are different.
    Don't forget, the .QDF file is a zip file and has to "closed" at the end, if nothing was done, the contents would not change and the modify time would remain as is.

    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  Subscription  -  Win10
    -also older versions as needed for testing
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list

  • jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 19
    It may be that it's not the data modification that sets the last change (modified) time but actually Quicken closing and releasing the changed data file. So, for an auto-update the times usually match.  It is only when no changes are made during the last access (the opening/closing that triggers the backup) that they don't match. 

    In your example, it you had opened the file but not made the change at 5:00 PM, the last update would then be 4:59 PM.  If you had opened/closed the file twice and not made any changes at all, it would be 4:54 PM.  (I still can't believe I did that 3 times but it's possible).  For me, all but one of my auto-backup date/times match.  Most of my unmatched files are for the backups made before a version update when Quicken tried to force the update when opening.

    Oops. It seems I was typing during @splasher's posting.  What he said....
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020
  • q_lurkerq_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    No difference
    Open @ 5:53   No user action
    Close @ 5:54 -- base file modified time changes to 5:54, no backup for this cycle

    Open @ 5:55   No user action
    Close @ 5:56 -- base file modified time changes to 5:56, backup shows 5:56 for all three times (file name, created, and modified.

    Even though the user initiated no actions I suspect Quicken is reviewing/looking for scheduled actions and taking not of any possible change.  In this file there are some Bill and Income reminders, but no auto entries or other automatic actions.  It makes sense to me that in these cases the times all agree.

    This is the anomaly I am trying to understand -- Why is modified 6 hours before Created and filename?  The file was never moved.  This does not always happen, but it does sometimes.  (This file does have numerous reminders, some automatic entries.)

      
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @jrich75 This discussion has gone off the deep end.

    The original question regards the maximum number of automatic backups preference.

    Apparently this is not working with the version you are using, but no solution has been provided.

    I am currently using Quicken 2017 Premier, and have used many versions prior to that.

    I have never had this issue with automatic backups.

    It appears that there is a problem with the maximum number of automatic backups preference in the latest version of Quicken.
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
  • jrich75jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 20
    Rich_M said:
    @jrich75 This discussion has gone off the deep end.

    It appears that there is a problem with the maximum number of automatic backups preference in the latest version of Quicken.
    Yes, my fault for bring up all the date/time discussion. 
    I thought I'd circle back and update my observations regarding the preference settings for maximum number of automatic backups.  I've rolled through a few more backups now and one of the backups related to a software version update dropped out of my Backup folder.  So, that type of backup appears to be treated just like any other auto backup file (it is not retained longer).  Also, I still have 20 files in the folder so I would say my maximum number preference (still set at 6) is currently defaulting to 20.  Changing my backup preference number no longer has any effect on the number of backups retained.  Luckily, I'm not having a problem with HD storage space. 
    Quicken definitely needs to update their help info regarding backup preferences to reflect the current naming and file retention capabilities.  Thanks to @q_lurker for reporting the issues and obvious inconsistencies.
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Premier Subscription thru 2020
  • Rich_MRich_M SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @jrich75 At least it's imposing a reasonable limit on the backups.
    Quicken 2017 Premier - Windows 10
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