Manual Backups

If not using Open Dental's built in Backup Tool or an online Online Backups service, you can do manual backups. There is also local software that can be installed so that it's not truly manual.


Here are some of our impressions of backup software. Each software has quirks and a learning curve. There is also lots of other very good backup software that we don't mention here. If your IT professional has a favorite, use it.

Backup4all: Get the Pro version for $50. Our favorite features are:

It also offers cloud backups through the same interface.
Recommend "mirror" uncompressed backups with "fast mirror" option turned on. Otherwise, backups can only be restored through the Backup4all interface. Read their manual to understand the nuances of this setting. Additional incremental backups can also be done separately from the mirrors.

Acronis: Too many things in the system tray and it slows boot time.

Paragon: Seems very powerful, but they have so many products to pick from that it's very confusing. If you have a large organization, it looks like they could scale up easily to provide centralized backups across many computers. Their free version seems to be intentionally hidden from their menu: Not reviewed, but it looks decent and it gets positive reviews from other reviewers. One problem is that the free version only supports workstations, not servers. The next step up from the free version would be Backup and Recovery Business, which does not have a price listed.

Back up Data

This must be done from the server where your database is located. Connect the backup device (e.g. USB flash drive) into your computer. It would then be recognized as the available drive in My Computer and assigned a drive letter, usually D:. It can be different if the computer has multiple hard drives installed.

The backup software will copy two folders to your flash drive:

What needs to be backed up?

You should try to make sure nobody is using the program during a backup, but you don't need to close the program.

Note: Manual backups should only be done on myISAM databases; not InnoDb.

Restore Data

Restore your backup to your home computer to make sure it's a good backup. You will have already installed Open Dental on that computer. The version should be the same as your office computer. Verify versions from Help, Update.

  1. Stop the MySQL service as follows:
    • Right click MyComputer, Manage, Services and Applications, Services.
    • Highlight MySQL and stop the service
  2. Rename the old database folder. For example, from C:\mysql\data\opendental\ to C:\mysql\data\opendentalold02142006\.
  3. Copy the database folder from the backup source to the appropriate location on the main hard drive. For example, from D:\opendental\ to C:\mysql\data\opendental\. Make sure you don't end up with too many layers (e.g. C:\mysql\data\opendental\opendental\).
  4. (optional) Copy the OpenDentImages folder (the A to Z folders) to the hard drive (e.g. C:\OpenDentalData\).
  5. Restart the MySQL service.
  6. Open the program.

If you have trouble opening the program after restoring, you may need to run the setup.exe stored in your backup in the OpenDentImages folder. If the installed version is newer than the backup version, then you will need to uninstall Open Dental from the control panel before running setup.exe.

Also see HIPAA.