Backup and Restore

Tip Version 01.3

Updated: 07 May 2001

Generations Versions: all

The file format used by Generations has changed dramatically between version 4.2 (Generations Deluxe) and the newer software, version 5.2 and above.

Version 4.2 placed the family file data in a folder with a number of seperate data files (generally 7-9) to store different types of data and indices.

There are several ways to backup this data:

1) The "Save a Copy" option. This creates another folder with exact copies of all of the files inside it. This family file may be selected and worked with directly.

{short description of image}

Generations 4.2 "Save a Copy" screen

2) The "Backup" option. This creates a single compressed file with an ".rb1" file extension (Reunion Backup 1). The several data files are combined into one file and this is compressed. Typically the single file is some 75% smaller than the sum of the several seperate files, that is, a folder containing 400 Kb of files will be combined into a single 100 Kb backup file.

{short description of image}

Generations 4.2 File menu, Backup highlighted

{short description of image}

3) The "Reunion Transfer File" option. This creates a single file as in the backup option, but it is arranged differently and is not as efficiently compressed. It may be transferred to a Macintosh version of Reunion v4 or may be viewed using either the Sierra Generations Publisher program or the Leister Reunion Player program. Both of these programs may be freely distributed.

{short description of image}

Version 5.2 and above, this software keeps all of the data in one file (.uds extension) so the problem of keeping all of the files together is eliminated. As a result the family files are not kept in seperate subfolders. The programmers have eliminated the backup option as a menu item in the Easytree program.

This option is found in the file menu.

{short description of image}

This will open up a window where you are given three possible backup choices: exact copy (the meaning in obvious), compact copy (easily recreated lists, unused person and family ids are not copied), or clone (settings, templates, defaults, but NO person or family data). The user will normally choose the exact copy option. You may open either an exact copy or a compact copy directly from Generations.

{short description of image}

They suggest that you make a copy of the file for backup purposes, or a "compact copy" of the file. You should backup the family files frequently and keep the backups on something OTHER than the disk drive that you have the program and your prime version of the family files on.

After all, you don't want the same disk crash to take out your original and backup at the same time. But there are some disadvantages with the newer backup options, especially regarding file size. Sierra suggests in the manual that you keep the backup copy on a floppy disk. But consider one of my main family files. It had some 16,700 or so people in it at the time this tip was first written and was some 12 Mb in size. Obviously a simple copy will be the same size.

My experience during the beta testing is that you only get about a 5% reduction in file size when you choose the compact copy option. That's not much. But if you take the uds file and compress it using WinZip or some other similar compression utility (PKZip, InfoZip, Zipmagic, etc.), the resulting zip file will be some 75% or so smaller than the original. The 12 Mb uds file ends up as a 2.6 Mb zip file. Many of the zip utility programs let you split the zip file into parts so that it can be fit onto floppy disks. Microsoft Backup, included with all versions of Microsoft Windows, in another option. You may also put the file in your Windows Briefcase and have it automatically replicated to another disk. Remember - back up early and back up often. This is especially true as you experiment with a new program.

If you do something that you don't like (in a massive way), it is sometimes easier to restore a good backup than to undo a massive mistake.

Regards, Mike Hobart

Copyright © 1999-2001 Michael A. Hobart, commercial reuse restricted.

Generations Tips index page

Sandbar website home page link