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Backups in Front Desk
Backups in Front Desk
Timothy avatar
Written by Timothy
Updated over a week ago

Front Desk stores its data in a database, which for most users is self-hosted and managed on the user’s computer systems. It is crucial that users regularly back up their Front Desk database. Data can be lost from faults in hardware, viruses, fire, natural disasters and theft – which can often only be recovered with an appropriate backup.

To prevent the loss of critical data we recommend completing a Front Desk backup on a daily basis.

For most users, this backup is made to a USB or external hard drive so that it can be removed from the computer and stored safely elsewhere. If your computer hardware fails or is stolen the USB can be used to restore your Front Desk data on another machine.

Please consider the size of your backup when purchasing a USB or external hard drive. Most backups are less than 8GB in size, which is the minimum recommended disk size. You may also consider buying multiple USB devices, which can be rotated each day for extra security.

Creating a Front Desk backup:

From the database host machine click the Backup icon from the toolbar,

or select Backup from the System menu.

The Front Desk Backup dialog will appear.

Front Desk will automatically remember the destination of your previous backup.

Click Browse

to select a new backup location.

Use the ‘Save in’ drop-down to select the destination folder for your backup (typically a USB storage device), then enter an appropriate File Name. Click Save.

There are two basic backup options to consider further:

Verify Backup will perform a verification that the backup has been copied correctly to the target backup media. We recommend this remain enabled.

Use Compression can be enabled or disabled depending on your needs. If compression is ENABLED, the backup will typically take longer to complete but result in a smaller file size. If compression is DISABLED, the backup may be quicker but result in a larger file size.

Advanced users may also prefer to leave compression disabled to allow for further differential backups via a third-party backup system.

With your backup location and preferences selected, click Backup.

When prompted click Yes to complete a backup:

If the file already exists, you may be prompted to overwrite the file:

Most users will maintain a single backup file (fd.bak or, which they overwrite each day with current data. If you do not wish to overwrite the file you can select a different backup directory or file name.

Click Yes to continue.

An information window will appear once the backup has completed:

Congratulations, you have completed a backup.

Please note the Front Desk backup will only backup your Front Desk database. It does not backup other information or data on your computer.

Advanced Backup Features:

Click the Adv. Button to view the Advanced Backup Options.

Auto-generate Unique Filename will default the name of each backup to be unique
(e.g. fd_070119_1132_11.bak). This feature is used to create a separate backup for each date, rather than overwrite a single ‘latest’ backup each day. Creating and storing multiple backups will provide more restore points, should you need them, but will use more disk space.

Use Temp Directory can be used to specify the directory used for file compression. By default, the compression will take place at the intended destination, however, if the destination disk is slow or limited the compression can be processed elsewhere. The completed file will then be moved to the selected destination after processing. This option only applies when Use Compression has been enabled.

Please ensure the selected Temp Directory has read and write permissions for the Windows user ‘Everyone’, which will allow files to write to the directory without issue.

Network Backups:

In most environments, the backup is completed on the server or database host machine. If required it is possible to configure Front Desk to allow backups from a client machine instead.

To begin, this will require a shared folder on either the host machine or client. The folder must have full permissions for the ‘Everyone’ user.

Go to System Information and navigate to the Backup tab.

Select Override Backup Path and enter the UNC path of your shared folder (e.g. \\Server\Backup), then Close and Save the window.

You should now be able to back up from a client machine instead of the database host, which will use the shared folder to create the backup before moving the completed file to the intended destination.

External Backup Utilities:

Smartsoft can also provide a separate utility that allows for automated Front Desk backups. This utility can be used with Windows Task Scheduler for automation, but it must be actively managed by the practice or your I.T. provider to ensure backups are being created successfully.

For more information on the Front Desk Backup Utility, please open a support case on our website:

Depending on your environment you may already have a managed backup option in place. Please be aware that many basic or ‘File Only’ backup systems may not be able to backup database files where the files are always ‘in-use’, which could result in lost data. If you are using a third-party backup system, please ensure that it is certified for use with Microsoft SQL Databases.

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