Knowledgebase: Synbiosis
How To Backup Your ProtoCOL 3 Data
Posted by Keira Davies, Last modified by Keira Davies on 30 August 2016 12:43 PM


This is a very simple guide explaining how to quickly backup your ProtoCOL 3 data.

Essentially we will be making a copy of the database, your calibration data and your captured image files.  This copied data will be stored separately from your ProtoCOL 3 computer system so that in the event of drive failure, data corruption or any other event that would cause loss of data, you have everything you need to perform a full recovery.

Before You Begin...

This guide is written with the following assumptions:

  • You have a ProtoCOL 3 or a ProtoCOL 3 Plus system.
    • If you have a Protos 3 system, then these instructions can be used, but all mention of the term "ProtoCOL 3" should likely be substituted with the term "Protos 3" instead.
  • You have a standard database setup. IE you are using the SQL Server Express database, you have not changed the database name and you are not hosting the database on a separate computer.
  • You are using the ProtoCOL 3 software on Windows 7
    • ProtoCOL 3 Plus systems all use Windows 7.
    • If you are using your own Computer with a ProtoCOL 3 standard system and you have an alternative version of Windows (earlier or later than Windows 7), then you should still be able to use this guide.  There will be some minor differences to do with the interface.
  • You are backing up to an external hard drive...

Photo of External Harddrive

If you are going to buy an external hard drive for this purpose then any USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 hard drive should be fine.  You will get more storage space for your money if you buy a HDD (the mechanical, spinning type) instead of an SDD (the modern solid state type).  At the time of writing (Feb 2015) a hard drive with 2TB of space is very cheap.  Using a very rough estimate, a 2TB drive should have enough space to store 20 full backups of your data.

The Backup Procedure

There are 7 steps required to complete the backup.  They need to be performed in order. 

If you have trouble on any of the steps I recommend you request assistance from your own IT staff.  If you don't have an IT department that can help then by all means contact the Synbiosis support team and we'll do our best to help you out.

1. Exit the ProtoCOL 3 software.

2. Ensure you're logged into Windows using an administrator account.

If you're not logged in using an administrator account, then you should switch to one before continuing.

Out-of-the-box, our ProtoCOL 3 Plus systems only have one account configured and that account is an administrator account.  So if you have not altered the Windows user accounts on the system, then you are probably using an administrator account.  You can confirm this by clicking on the Start Menu button and by looking in the top right of the Start Menu; it should say "P3Admin".

3. Plug the USB hard drive into a USB port on your computer and power it on.

If there isn't a free USB port then you may temporarily unplug the ProtoCOL 3 hardware from the computer to free up a spare port.

4. Make a folder on the drive to store your backup then copy the path to that folder to the clipboard.  To do this...

Navigate to your "Computer" in Windows Explorer. (Hint: open your Start Menu and click "Computer")

Find your external drive in the main pane and double click it. (Hint: It's probably under the Devices with Removal Storage section.  In the screenshot below, the E: drive is the external drive.)

Windows Explorer - Computer - Screenshot

Now that you've entered the drive in Windows Explorer you should make a folder to hold your backup.  To do this: right click in a blank area, then click New -> Folder then type a suitable folder name.  I recommend you include the word "backup" in the folder name and also today's date.  For example you could name your folder: P3 Backup 2015-02-16

Now you need to copy the path to the folder we just created so we can use it in the next step.  To do this: double click your newly created folder to go inside it. Click once in a blank area of the address bar (where it says your folder name near the top of the window).  Right click on the selected text and copy that text.  Like this:

Screenshot of Windows Explorer showing the address being copied.

5. Backup the database.  To do this...

Run the application DatabaseUpdater.exe.  This application can be found in the same folder as the ProtoCOL 3 installation.  Typically, this will be one of:

  • C:\Program Files\Synbiosis\ProtoCOL3\    (on 32bit systems)
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Synbiosis\ProtoCOL3\     (on 64bit systems)

Note: there are two files that have "DatabaseUpdater" in their name.  You'll know you've double-clicked the right file if the following window appears:

Screenshot of the Protocol 3 database updater.

Now change the Backup Path to the location of your backup folder that you created earlier.  To do this: click the little ellipsis [...] button on the right (screenshot above) and the following window will open:

Screenshot of the P3 database updater configuration window.

Delete the Backup Path shown and then right click and paste in the path that we previously copied to the clipboard.  The path should look something like: E:\P3 Backup 2015-02-16 
(Exactly what is shown, depends on which drive letter was assigned to your external hard drive and what you named your folder).

Press OK

Now Press the Backup button on the main Database Updater window to begin the backup process.  You will be notified when the backup has completed successfully. 

You may now close the Database Updater program as we are finished with it.

6. Backup your calibration data and your captured image files.  To do this...

Open the Windows start menu and type into the search field: c:\programdata\synbiosis

Then press the enter key on the keyboard.

A Windows Explorer window should open inside the the Synbiosis folder.  In the list of folders in that window, find the folder named ProtoCOL and then right click it and click the Copy option.  You can now close that window.

Now navigate back to the backup folder you created in step 4 and paste the folder we just copied.  To do this:

  1. Click the Start Menu.
  2. Click Computer.
  3. Double click on the external drive.
  4. Double click on the folder that you created for today's backup.
  5. Right click in an empty area of the main pane to open the context menu and then and click the Paste option.

7. Safely remove / eject the hard drive.  To do this...

In the Windows system tray (bottom right hand corner next to the clock), click the little green icon labelled "Safely Remove Hardware", then choose the option to eject or safely remove your external drive.  Windows should tell you when it's ok for you to physically unplug the drive.

If you had previously unplugged the ProtoCOL 3 hardware from the computer, then ensure you plug it back in.

All done!  Backup complete.

Store the drive somewhere safe that is completely separate from where you keep your ProtoCOL 3 system.  This will ensure that in the event your ProtoCOL 3 is stolen or damaged due to fire/water, all your data (the most important thing) is nice and safe.

Make sure you continue to make backups whenever you do any significant work on your ProtoCOL 3 system.

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