Safety copies and backup

Good morning,

As a recent member of this forum I’d like to ask you a few questions.

Having recently suffered a hard disk failure on my iMac, I’m grateful for the TimeMachine functionality. After a new HD was installed I could restore all my data from the backup. Sofar so good.

I have a Filemaker database which is my bread and butter. It’s open at least 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s not large (130Mb) but it contains thousands of records which are vital to my business. So first question: will an Filemaker database which is ‘open’ be backed up by TimeMachine? Silly question you could argue, because I just said that I successfully restored all my data from backup. Truth is I copied the latest version of my database from my server where I keep an extra set of copies, so I do not know the behaviour of TimeMachine and open documents or files.

Second question: I regularly use the menu item ’Save a Copy As…’ from the file menu, and save a copy to my server for the ‘just in case’ scenario. But sometimes I do forget to do this. Is there any way to automate this menu item? Save a copy every hour? Or during idle time? Adding to the filename a version number or date perhaps so I can distinguish versions and delete older copies.

Suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you all beforehand.

Sunny regards from Spain,


¡Hola! @MauriceD
Welcome to the soup!

If time machine catches an open fmp12 file that is being modified at the time of backup, this may lead to a corrupted backup. Most times it works, but it may fail.

For business data, the best solution is hosting the file(s) on FMS. On FMS, exclude the /databases folder from TM backups, only backup the /backups folder.

If you intend to go with FMPA only, backup is a manual process, no real automation. I have an entry in my task scheduler that reminds me of important stuff I tend forget :slightly_smiling_face:.

Cheers from rainy Switzerland

Hi Torsten,

Thank you for your reply.

Yes, I’m aware of FMS and FM Cloud. However, as discussed many times on many forums: this functionality is totally unaffordable for a micro-business as myself, with only me and my supportive wife as staff.

So I will stick to the old fashioned manual copies :slight_smile:

Un saludo,

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I couldn't answer your question but heard about the possibility that backups could be corrupt if records were not committed properly.
That's why my recommendation to all my customers is:

  • Close all applications which deal with data. Not only FM-Files but also MS Office and others.
  • connect Backup Disk with your computer, start Time Machine and wait until backup completed
    and also:
  • use any affordable bus powered mobile drive which fits into your jacket
  • when leaving the office, take the backup drive with you. Avoid the risk your Computer AND your Backup get destroyed by fire or water damage at the same location!
    for redundancy:
  • learn to know that Time Machine allows backups to more than just 1 Harddisk. Use it!
  • I also have a routine were customers can specify a Backup-Path with a 'copy file' routine to save data files(only) to another drive or memory stick.

Dealing with medical data, all my customers are strictly forbidden to use any cloud services!

That's for the customers.
I myself use 2 different Time Machine Backup drives AND 1 Carbon Copy Cloner device. Performing a solid backup process, including (non incremental) Parallels Win7, Win10, Catalina, starts with shutting down FMServer, connect drives one after the other (no processes simultaneously), chill out for the next 3 hours.

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TimeMachine will copy open files - but if there is an open transaction, the file can get hurt.

We are developing with FileMaker Server - but also locally, no FMS


  • You do not have to deal with backups
  • done automatically by fms (if set-up…)
  • You can specify the interval
  • before critical changes and when not on a test-server, run a schedule (backup) before…


  • You can have a timer script, that copies the db’s (save as…)
  • We close the db’s every now and then (before changes, before test-runs, etc) and zip (archive, compress,) that. Under macOS quite a safe backup (local!)
  • we got ‘chrono sync’ planners that copy those zip files to a NAS/Raid/whatever
  • usually, we got a folder structure for our projects, the current db’s are in a separate folder with a time-stamp

one backup forgotten -> something goes wrong -> we go back to the last ‘good’ backup and do the changes again (keeps one fit…)
The reason for this: We do not have many rules - but NO db goes out to a customer that crashed or does have a ‘not closed properly’ flag. If somethings happen afterwards - tant pis…

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Hi Maurice,

Since you are on a Mac you can create a helper database with a startup-script that calls the backup script in your main database and then quits again.
This helper-database could be opened from the alarm of a recurring event in the Calendar Application.
Building on this idea: the backup script could even create a record in a backups table with a timestamp and a backup result indicating a succes or failure.



One simple way would be to have a script that does a ‘Save a Copy As…’ and have that triggered ‘OnLastWindowClose’ using the File Options script triggers…

That script could do a number of things such as append the date to the backup copy filename (without /'s in the filename is a good idea, so maybe format date as just YYYYMMDD)… It could also prompt you to give you the option of whether or not to save the backup copy when the file is closed each time…

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Yup, this is exactly what we’ve done in the past for some standalone systems and it has worked very well.

Thank you everyone.
Your comments and suggestions have been quite helpful :slight_smile:


From my experience Time Machine does not backup open FMP12 files properly. I had a client, who ran his database 24/7 for months. After a crash his file was corrupted and his last backup with TimeMachine was several months old!!!
(Unfortunately at that time my “save copy as” OnTimerTrigger didn’t work properly either due to a date miscalculation of mine. So he ended up losing a lot of data.)

Normally an “OnTimerTrigger” saving a copy of the database works reliably. So this is the way to go with FileMaker Pro. In fact its the exact same technique FileMaker Server uses. I learned that from a FM Developer Conference Video but can’t remember which one.

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