Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tech Tips
Got a favorite tip to submit, or a question you’d like to see answered? Write to support@comicbase.com
 

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ComicBase Tip:

“Oh my God! All my data’s gone!”

Every so often, our tech support folks handle a call that begins that way—usually by a customer who’s (quite understandably) in a bit of a state.

In the interests of lowering blood pressures the world over, let us first start by assuring you that your data is very likely just fine. (Note: if your computer is missing, underwater, or a smoldering heap of goo, we’re wrong about your data being fine unless you made a backup. See “Avoiding the Worst Case Scenario” if that applies to you).

When we get this call, the typical scenario goes like this: You’d been working along for some time in a database that wasn’t the default database (e.g. “Bob’s Database”), entering all your comics. Then something happens on your machine, and when you open up ComicBase, you see it open a database where all your carefully entered quantities are suddenly all zero.

What happened? Most likely something happened to reset your preferences, causing ComicBase to forget which database you’d been using last. When that happens, it opens up the default database which, if you’d been working in that one anyway, lets you just keep on going without even noticing. If you’d been doing all your work in a different database, however, switching over to the default database gives the impression that ComicBase has just thrown out all your work.

The solution? Just use the File > Open command and open the database you’d been using last. You’ll see all your work, and everything will be right as rain. If you’re reading this tip having just suffered a minor heart attack as a result of apparently losing your data, however, we’d like to strongly suggest that unless you had a real reason for doing so, switching to using the default database might be a Really Good Idea—mostly because it prevents you from having to remember anything special when upgrading, or in situations like these.

To switch from using a custom database to using the default one, just do the following:

  1. Launch ComicBase and open your old database*. Make sure all your work is present and accounted for.
  2. File > Save a Copy and save the database as "ComicBase Database" in the default location: (the My Documents\Human Computing\ComicBase Database folder under Windows XP, C:\Users\<your login>\Documents\Human Computing\ComicBase Databases under Windows Vista or Windows 7). It should ask you whether you’d like to replace the database that’s already there. Click Yes.
  3. Finally, File > Open the database from that same location. That way, you’ll both be using the default database name and location, and ComicBase will further remember that the last database you used was the default one, so it’ll open that one automatically the next time you use the program.

* Don’t remember which database you’d been using? You can have Windows search for files ending in .cba on all your hard drives (make sure that you’re searching all folders, not just the indexed locations). Note that the size of the database is no indication of which one you’d been using, so you may need to open each database in turn to see which one held your most recent data.

 

Really Important Caveat

If you suspect you’d been working out of your backup (e.g. “Copy of ComicBase Database”). Make sure you make a safety copy of that file before you start opening other databases!

The reason? Remember that by default, ComicBase makes a copy of any database you open, calling it “Copy of <the database>” when you exit. If you’d really been doing your work out of Copy of ComicBase Database, then open ComicBase Database in the same folder, the automatic backup will write over your old “Copy of ComicBase Database”. In this particular, twisted scenario, you could wind up backing up right over the top of your working database. This is another reason why you should never (ever!) start doing your work from a backup without making a new backup first.