How Are Automated Backups Supposed To Work?

I have my maximum number of automated backups preference set to 5, which I take that to mean that after the 6th backup is made, the oldest will be deleted. I've currently got about 50 of them in the BU folder since Jan 1, so that's not happening. Some were created when Q was updated to a new release (which is appended to the BU file name), so maybe the clock gets reset at that point (?), but I still have more than 5 on several of the releases. The Help file sheds no light - it describes a process that looks to be outdated. Am I not understanding how the process works, or is it just broken?

Answers

  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    The built-in documentation on this topic hasn't been updated in decades.

    When Quicken upgrades itself, Quicken saves an automatic backup of the current release (-R-XX.XX).  I suspect this resets the number of backups saved counter.

    I suggest occasionally checking the automatic backup folder and deleting the backups you no longer wish to save.
  • EddieN1
    EddieN1 Member
    I have Quicken Home, Business, and Rental Property, release R31-20, Build 27.1.31.20. My Automatic Backups (set to Backup after running 1 Time, keep 5 Backups) have been working fine each time I exit Quicken. A couple of days ago, it quit working. I've checked my Backup preferences and it all looks good. Anything I should look for? Any log files that might help?
  • thecreator
    thecreator SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi @EddieN1 ,

    Don't rely on Automatic Backups, as while they are backups, if your Hard Drive crashes, you lost everything. Do Manual Backups, off of the Hard Drive for safety sake.


    thecreator - User of Quicken Subscription R36.23  USA & Quicken 2017 HBRP R20.6 USA
                       Windows 10 Pro 32-Bit Build 19043.1288
                       Windows 11 Pro 64-Bit Build 22000.194
    also            Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit Build 19043.1288

    View: https://community.quicken.com/discussion/7859218/work-with-copies-of-your-actual-quicken-data-files/p1?new=1

  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭

    How to properly set up Quicken Backup
    How to make Quicken create a backup for you automatically every time you close Quicken
    What Quicken backups are available where?

    For the sake of this discussion it is assumed that your Quicken data file is located in the Default (and recommended) place: C:\Users\username\Documents\Quicken

    Review the backup settings available in Quicken (under Edit / Preferences / Backup).

    In there you will find two types of backup: Automatic and Manual Backup.

    Automatic Backup should be enabled and always goes to a \Backup folder that's part of the folder which contains your current Quicken data file, e.g. \Documents\Quicken\Backup. Set it to create a backup after running Quicken [1] times and to keep [9] (or more, your choice) backup copies.
    The file name for Automatic Backup files contains a date and time stamp as part of the file name, e.g. QDATA-2020-03-22.PM03.45.QDF-backup

    To create a Manual Backup copy of your Quicken data file on an external device (USB-hard drive or USB memory stick recommended), put a checkmark at "Manual Backup Reminder" to enable the function and set "Remind me after running Quicken [xx] times" to [1].

    Click OK to save the changes.

    From now on, when you close Quicken using the red X button, you will get a popup window.

    When you get this window for the first time, on some versions click the radio button for "Backup on my computer".
    Change the Backup File name's drive letter and path to point to your external device so that it looks something like this: E:\Quicken Backup\QDATA-2019-04-01.QDF-backup
    or use the Change button and work your way through the dialog.

    Do not change the filename portion! Just overtype the drive letter and choose a backup folder name. If the folder does not exist, it will be created.

    Also choose the option to "Add date to backup file name".

    Every day when you run Backup or close Quicken, an additional backup file is created. Without the Add Date option you only have 1 backup copy which is overwritten every day ... and that may prove bad in a problem recovery situation.

    Allow this backup to run to save the changes made on the screen.

    Of course, once in a while you will have to go in and delete some of the oldest backup files, at your discretion, to avoid filling up your USB device.

    One can never have enough backups of a Quicken data file. BTDTGTS!


  • jrich75
    jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 25
    EddieN1 said:
    I have Quicken Home, Business, and Rental Property, release R31-20, Build 27.1.31.20. My Automatic Backups (set to Backup after running 1 Time, keep 5 Backups) have been working fine each time I exit Quicken. A couple of days ago, it quit working. I've checked my Backup preferences and it all looks good. Anything I should look for? Any log files that might help?
    The above suggestions are all good however, the first thing I would verify is the location of the QDF file you are currently using.  If you have restored a backup or made other changes to your QDF, the location of your current file may have changed. I say this because there have been several posts where it was the location that changed rather than the actual saving of backup files.
    From within Quicken, using File, Find Quicken Files should provide a list of all the QDF and QDF -backup files on your computer and the date they were last modified.  Sorting on the modified date should give you the most recent backups and their location. 
    Quicken user since 1995
    Win10 Deluxe Subscription thru 2021
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Hi @EddieN1 ,

    Don't rely on Automatic Backups, as while they are backups, if your Hard Drive crashes, you lost everything. Do Manual Backups, off of the Hard Drive for safety sake.


    Just so you know they recently put in the feature that you can change where the automatic backups are stored.  So now you can have the automatic backups go to a different drive.
    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/
  • MeToo
    MeToo Member
    I still confused about the "Maximum number of backup copies" option for "Automatic Backups". Is this value accounted for when Quicken does an automatic backup or not? Meaning if the maximum value is set to "5", will Quicken delete the latest backup before to create a new one if there are already 5 backup files created by the automatic backup process? Reading through this thread, it seems that the maximum value is not working and that backup files that are automatically created by Quicken will just keep growing until either you delete them manually or the storage space is exhausted. So far, my experience is that the maximum number of backup copies is broken and thus the feature useless. Thanks for any clarification about the status of this feature.
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    MeToo said:
    I still confused about the "Maximum number of backup copies" option for "Automatic Backups". Is this value accounted for when Quicken does an automatic backup or not? Meaning if the maximum value is set to "5", will Quicken delete the latest backup before to create a new one if there are already 5 backup files created by the automatic backup process? Reading through this thread, it seems that the maximum value is not working and that backup files that are automatically created by Quicken will just keep growing until either you delete them manually or the storage space is exhausted. So far, my experience is that the maximum number of backup copies is broken and thus the feature useless. Thanks for any clarification about the status of this feature.
    My understanding is the extra backups should be removed after the automatic backup completes but, as I indicated earlier, other files saved to the folder appear to interfere with their removal.  So, don't save other files to the same folder and occasionally check the automatic backup folder and delete the backups you no longer wish to save.
  • MeToo
    MeToo Member
    Thanks for the information. You are right that it makes more sense to delete the file that exceeds the set limit only after the new backup file is created.

    I checked again and I do not store any file in the directory that is used by the automated backup process. The only files in that directore are the ones created by Quicken without my intervention. Nevertheless, the number of automated backups stored by Quicken doesn't match the limit that I set in "Preferences". The backup files just keep growing without any indication that Quicken ever delete any. As I do automated backups every time that I use Quicken due to another random issue (Budgets disappearing) that requires me to restore my Quicken files, the number of automated backup files grows fast... And I was hoping that the ability to set a maximum number of backup copies will spare me to have to manage the files manually.

    From the last part of your last sentence and my experience, looks like the only reliable way to manage the number of automated backup files saved by Quicken is to manually manage them by checking what's going on the directory used by the Quicken automated backup process. If this is true, I would say that it's broken.
  • MeToo
    MeToo Member
    UPDATE: So, I decided to try deleting manually ALL the backup files created by the automated backup process and then give it a try. IOW, start from a "clean" backup directory just in case something was wrong with the directory or the files in it. So far, I was just deleting the oldest backup files manually and keeping the 3 most recent that is what I had set "Preferences" to do but didn't work.

    After deleting all the backup files in the folder, it seems that Quicken is indeed limiting the maximum number of backup files as set in "Preferences". Again, all the files in that directory were created by Quicken. So not sure what happened. Anyway, seems to be working now and I will be checking during the next few days and reporting if the issue returns.
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 23
    MeToo said:
    Thanks for the information. You are right that it makes more sense to delete the file that exceeds the set limit only after the new backup file is created.

    I checked again and I do not store any file in the directory that is used by the automated backup process. The only files in that directore are the ones created by Quicken without my intervention. Nevertheless, the number of automated backups stored by Quicken doesn't match the limit that I set in "Preferences". The backup files just keep growing without any indication that Quicken ever delete any. As I do automated backups every time that I use Quicken due to another random issue (Budgets disappearing) that requires me to restore my Quicken files, the number of automated backup files grows fast... And I was hoping that the ability to set a maximum number of backup copies will spare me to have to manage the files manually.

    From the last part of your last sentence and my experience, looks like the only reliable way to manage the number of automated backup files saved by Quicken is to manually manage them by checking what's going on the directory used by the Quicken automated backup process. If this is true, I would say that it's broken.
    It is not whether or not the Quicken program creates the backup files in the folder, it appears to be whether or not the names of backup files are recognized by Quicken as part of the automatic backup sequence for the Quicken file.  For example, the software update backup files appear to interrupt the sequence because Quicken tweaks the name of the backup file. 

    We don't do automated backups every time we use Quicken.  We perform manual backups instead.  Our Quicken backups files are maintained by Window's File History hourly on an external drive and we also save the Quicken backup files nightly to cloud storage where we maintain 3 months of daily backups, 3 more months of weekly backups, and 6 more months of monthly backups.
  • MeToo
    MeToo Member
    I would imagine that Quicken is able to manage the files it creates using defined naming conventions. Any basic backup software does this.

    Note that I do daily automated backups of my entire file systems with 2 local copies (same PC but dedicated disk drive, same location NAS appliance) and 1 copy on the cloud. But this is focusing on disaster recovery.

    Still, due to the issue of the Budgets disappearing and having to restore backups, dealing with a robust built in Quicken backup/restore feature is more convenient.
  • cdennett
    cdennett Member ✭✭
    There was a previopus discussion at https://community.quicken.com/discussion/7884400/too-many-automatic-backups#latest

    In that I noted the following:

    > @jrich75 said:
    > There was a long discussion about automatic backups a couple months back. At the time I had 20 auto-backup files even though my maximum was set to 5. It was pointed out that if you manually reduce the number of files in the Backup folder to below the maximum value, then the setting would work when new backups occur. The exception may be with the pre-upgrade backup files that Quicken adds. Those may be causing the gradual creep in number of backup files retained. I changed my maximum to 15 and now have 17 in the folder, including 2 from recent upgrades. Those special backups do get deleted when they become the oldest in the folder but I don't believe the total number of files goes back to the maximum number unless the extra files are again manually deleted.

    I was part of that discussion. From what I can tell by observation, Quicken only deletes one oldest backup each time it creates a new backup. When you install an update, you get two extra backups, or at least I do, and it will delete only one oldest backup. Therefore, you end up with one more backup than you had before. Repeat this each time you install an update and you gradually get more backups than you want. If Quicken would adjust their backup code to delete multiple older backups to bring the total number down to the max you specified instead on only deleting one oldest backup, the problem would be fixed.
  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 24
    MeToo said:
    I would imagine that Quicken is able to manage the files it creates using defined naming conventions. Any basic backup software does this.

    Note that I do daily automated backups of my entire file systems with 2 local copies (same PC but dedicated disk drive, same location NAS appliance) and 1 copy on the cloud. But this is focusing on disaster recovery.

    Still, due to the issue of the Budgets disappearing and having to restore backups, dealing with a robust built in Quicken backup/restore feature is more convenient.
    Quicken isn't backup software and I would not describe the backup/restore feature as robust.  You may find Quicken more convenient but you may want to consider using Window's File History to preserve local copies of the Quicken file backups.  Disk space is cheap.
  • MeToo
    MeToo Member
    Agree that Quicken is not primarily a backup software but it does provide a backup/restore feature and I would expect it to be reasonably robust.

    But fully agree that you should not put all your eggs in a single basket and I do have a layered approach to protect data:

    1. Quicken backup/restore feature. Easy to use for both backup and restore. Fast if it works 8<)

    2. Local automated double copies (local PC disk drive and local network NAS appliance) of Macrium Reflect backup (files but also binary images of file systems). In case Quicken backup fails or something serious happen at the hardware or operating software level. Not to mention ransomware. Still easy to use but requires more time and effort.

    3. Automated Cloud secure repository copies of Macrium Reflect backup (files but also binary images of file systems). Same reasons as in point 2 in case something catastrophic happens to my local backups. Also easy to use but takes the longest due to internet access speed and latency.