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Payroll System Database Reconstruction

John Logue Updated by John Logue

The Payroll System database consists of a folder containing a Microsoft Access database file and a set of subfolders. Each subfolder has a name based on a client's EIN.

There are two different procedures for reconstruction of the database folder. The first is to rebuild it from the normal backup folder. If that procedure fails, then it is necessary to use the second procedure, which makes use of backup images of the Access database file.

The Payroll System database folder contains a few other files and possibly folders. Some of these files are backups of the Access database file. To prevent damage to or modification of these files, the first step in database reconstruction is to create a new empty database. The second step is to try to recover data into that database from the primary backup folder.

Procedure 1: Reconstruct Database from Backup Folder 

The steps, described in detail below, are:    

  1. Rename the database folder from …DB to …DI.
  2. Open the Payroll System program and create a new DB folder, either automatically or manually.
  3. Restore from the BACKUP folder into the DB folder. 
You may wish to print this article, so that you can make notes as you proceed. 

Step 1: Rename the Database Folder

  1. In Payroll System, click Configuration on the toolbar to open the "Configuration Options" screen. 
  2. In the “Data Options” section, below “Data path,” is a field containing the data path. Write it down.
  3. Divide the path into two parts: the part to the left of the next-to-last “\” is the “containing folder”; the part to the right is the “database folder.” (The database folder should be PR20nnDB where the 20nn is the year.) 
  1. Close "Configuration Options" and Payroll System.
  2. Open Windows (or "File) Explorer.
  3. Navigate to the “containing folder” identified above. Rename the database folder from PR20nnDB to PR20nnDI. (Remember this folder; we will later refer to it as the “recovery input” folder if procedure 2 is necessary.)

Step 2: Create a New Empty Database

  1. Open Payroll System. Expect to see no clients. 
  2. Open "Configuration."
  3. Check the data path. It should be the same as the one you wrote down earlier. If it is, proceed to number 4. If if isn't, create a new database folder as follows. 
    1. Use the drive selection and folder selection boxes to navigate to the ”containing folder” you identified earlier (e.g., C:\CFSLIB\PR2020\), then click the create button to create the database folder.
    2. In the "Create Subdirectory" dialog, type the name of the database folder you identified earlier (e.g., "PR2020db"), and click OK.
    3. Click the Save Settings button. The program will ask if you want to "CREATE A NEW DATA SET." Click yes. 
    4. Close Configuration Options. 
  4. You now have a new database with no client information. 

Step 3: Recover from Most Recent Backup

  1. From the "Utilities" menu, select “Restore Selected Clients.” 
  2. The "Restore Data" dialog box "Restore From" field should display a valid path to the last backup folder, in blue.
  3. Click the Next button. You should then see a list of clients. 
  4. Click the Select All button, then the Finish button. 
  5.  With luck, the resulting database will be up-to-date and usable. 

If the restore from backup cannot be accomplished, or if the result is not a usable database, follow Procedure 2 to use the backup images of the Access database file.

Procedure 2: Reconstruct Database from Recovery Input Folder

The Access database file has the extension .MDB. The database file name is something like PR20nnDT.MDB where 20nn is the payroll year. Other files with the name PR20nnDT.Abxxx are backup copies of the MDB file created at various times in the process. If the database is unusable, a possible fix is to rebuild the database using one of these backup files as the data source. 

The steps, described in detail below, are:

  1. Rename the database folder from …DB to …DI (if this was not done in Procedure 1).
  2.  Open the Payroll System program and create a new DB folder, either automatically or manually.
  3. Restore from the DI folder into the DB folder. 
  4. If the MDB file in the DI folder is not usable for the restore operation, try the other files, by:
    1. renaming the MDB file to BAD, and
    2. renaming ABK to MDB, followed by AB1, AB2, etc., until one of them works.
You may wish to print this article, so that you can make notes as you proceed. 

Step 1: If You Did Not Do Procedure 1, Rename the Database Folder

  1. In Payroll System, click Configuration on the toolbar to open the "Configuration Options" screen. 
  2. In the “Data Options” section, below “Data path,” is a field containing the data path. Write it down.
  3. Divide the path into two parts: the part to the left of the next-to-last “\” is the “containing folder”; the part to the right is the “database folder.” (The database folder should be PR20nnDB where the 20nn is the year.) 
  1. Close "Configuration Options" and Payroll System.
  2. Open Windows (or "File) Explorer.
  3. Navigate to the “containing folder” identified above. Rename the database folder from PR20nnDB to PR20nnDI. (Remember this folder; we will later refer to it as the “recovery input” folder if procedure 2 is necessary.)

Step 2: Create a New Empty Database

  1. Open Payroll System. Expect to see no clients. 
  2. Open "Configuration Options."
  3. Check the data path. It should be the same as the one you wrote down earlier. If it is, proceed to number 4. If if isn't, create a new database folder as follows. 
    1. Use the drive selection and folder selection boxes to navigate to the ”containing folder” you identified earlier (e.g., C:\CFSLIB\PR2020\), then click the create button to create the database folder.
    2. In the "Create Subdirectory" dialog, type the name of the database folder you identified earlier (e.g., "PR2020db"), and click OK.
    3. Click the Save Settings button. The program will ask if you want to "CREATE A NEW DATA SET." Click yes. 
    4. Close Configuration Options. 
  4. You now have a new database with no client information. 

Step 3: Restore Database

First, try to restore from the database in the recovery input folder:
  1. In Payroll System, click on the Utilities menu, then Restore Selected Clients
  2. In the "Data Locations" dialog, navigate to the “recovery input” folder ("PR20nnDI"). When you double-click on the folder, the path should turn blue and the Next button becomes un-shaded. Click the Next button.
  3. You should see a list of clients. Click the Select All button, then click Finish.

If this successfully restores your client database, you are done.

Step 4: If the Restore Fails

  1. Close the Payroll System program.
  2. In Windows (or "File") Explorer, navigate to and open the "recovery input" folder ("PR20nnDI").
  3. On the Explorer toolbar, click View and select Details.
  4. In Windows 10, make sure the "File name extensions" box is checked.
  5. In Windows 7:
    1. Under the Organize menu on the toolbar, select Folder and search options.
    2. On the View tab, under "Advanced settings," make sure the "Hide extensions for known file types" box is not checked.
    3. Click the Apply to Folders button.
    4. Close the "Folder Options" dialog with the OK button. 
  6. In the database folder you should see a list of subfolders and beneath them a list of files, including:
    1. The current database file (PR20nnDT.MDB)
    2. A backup created during the automatic compact operation (PR20nnDT.ABK)
    3. A series of backups created each time the program was properly closed (PR20nnDT.AB1, PR20nnDT.AB2, etc.)
    4. In addition, there may be additional backup files named PR20nnDT.ABK1, PR20nnDT.ABK2, etc. 
  7. Write down the dates and times of the ABK, AB1, AB2, etc. files, so that when the recovery has been accomplished you know how far back you need to go for manual re-entry of data. 
  8. Rename PR20nnDT.MDB to, for example, "PR20nnDT.BAD1."
  9. Examine the backup database files with regard to date, time, and size. Pick the most recent file with the largest file size, and rename it to PR20nnDT.MDB, where 20nn is the appropriate year.
  10. Delete the database folder created in Step 2, and repeat Steps 2 and 3.

If the first backup file fails, rename it to, for example, "PR20nnDT.BAD2." Pick the next-best backup file, and rename it to PR20nnDT.MDB, where 20nn is the appropriate year. Delete the database folder created in Step 2, and repeat Steps 2 and 3. Keep trying until you find a backup file that works.

Depending on the date of the backup file that is used to restore the database, some data may need to be re-entered manually.

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