QuickBooks Simple Start: Backing Up, the Quick and Dirty Way

You're busy. You don't have time to fool around. You just want to do a passable job of backing up, and you've decided how often you plan to do it. Sound like your situation? Then follow these steps:

1. Insert a blank disk in your drive.

You can back up to any removable disk, including floppy disks, Zip disks, Memory Sticks, and writable CDs.

You can back up to any fixed drive, such as your hard drive or a network drive, but the advantage of a removable drive is that you can store it in some other location. As a compromise, you can also use a network drive. You typically don't want to use your hard drive (although this is better than nothing) because one of the disasters that might befall your data is hard drive failure.

2. If you store data for more than one company, make sure that the company whose data you want to back up is the active company.

To find out if the right company is active, just look at the QuickBooks application window's title bar, which names the active company. (If you don't remember setting up multiple files, don't worry. You probably have only one file — the usual case.

3. Choose File --> Maintenance --> Back Up to begin the backup operation.

QuickBooks displays the Back Up Company File tab of the QuickBooks Backup dialog box.

4. To identify the backup drive, click the Disk option button and then click the Browse button.

QuickBooks displays the Back Up Company To dialog box.

5. Click the Save In drop-down list and select the letter of the drive that you stuffed the disk into.

QuickBooks Simple Start includes two special backup options — Verify Data Integrity and Format Each Floppy During Backup — which appear as check boxes on the Back Up Company File tab of the QuickBooks Backup dialog box. You can select these check boxes to have QuickBooks double-check the data it copies to the backup disk and, if necessary, to have QuickBooks first format the backup floppy disk. As the Back Up Company To tab indicates, however, these options do slow down the backup process.

6. Click Save.

QuickBooks returns to the Back Up Company File tab of the QuickBooks Backup dialog box

7. Click OK.

QuickBooks backs up your company file. When it finishes, it displays a message telling you that the backup worked.

You can also quickly and easily back up your data online. By doing so, you no longer need to remember to make backups and take them off-site. To find out more about online backup, click the Tell Me More button on the Back Up Company File tab of the QuickBooks Backup dialog box. To back up online, click the Online option button and then click OK.

The Online Backup service is a pretty good idea if you have a fast Internet connection, but the service isn't cheap. You pay at least $80 a year and as much as $240 a year depending on the level of service. But you can set up the service so that QuickBooks Simple Start automatically backs up your data on a regular basis.

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