Anyone who has experienced computer issues ranging from a full-blown machine meltdown to mysterious “lost documents” understands the importance of creating backups of valuable documents. Your customized CAMWorks Technology database (or TechDB) is certainly one of those files that you don’t want to lose. Thankfully, the backup and restore process is really quite harmless and normally takes only a few minutes.
Open a part, and then in the dropdown menus choose CAMWorks > Options
From the Options menu, you can see the location of your TechDB listed under the File Locations tab. The image shows the default install location but yours may vary based on install preferences, or it may even be on a network drive.
Note: you cannot change the active TechDB location from this menu.
If you browse to that location in Windows Explorer you will see several files:
The only file you need to save backup copies of is the techDB.mdb. You can save copies out yourself periodically, or if you have a backup software just point to this to be auto-saved to a safe location.
That’s it! You have successfully backed up all of your custom strategies, machine definitions, and tool cribs!
So what happens when disaster strikes and you need to use your backup? Or what about when you upgrade CAMWorks and find out that you are back to the default TechDB?
First off, DO NOT take your backup database and simply overwrite the fresh one via Windows Explorer. I know, it’s tempting… but don’t do it.
The first step to a successful restore is to start off with a fresh TechDB. This can be achieved by simply re-installing CAMWorks (no need to uninstall first). If you are doing an upgrade, you probably already did this, no need to re-re-install.
Now that you have a squeaky clean out-of-the-box TechDB you will need to access it via SOLIDWORKS and CAMWorks. Simply launch the application and go to the dropdown menus and choose CAMWorks > Technology Database.
Once you get to the main menu inside Microsoft Access, go ahead and Close SOLIDWORKS. If you don’t, it is likely that your restore will fail. Then, from the main page inside the Technology Database choose the Maintenance button.
Then, choose import database.
The next menu is just another reminder to Close SOLIDWORKS if you haven’t already. Go ahead and choose Next.
On the next menu you need to select browse and point at the location of the Backup techDb.mdb file. Notice in the picture I am pointing at my old 2014 TechDB as part of my upgrade process to 2015. Once you have selected your backup database go ahead and click Next.
The next page gives you a chance to create a backup of the Active TechDB (if you have been following this instruction then your active TechDB is fresh out-of-the-box so no need to back it up, right?).
Go ahead and click Next.
The next menu allows you to select what data to import. Verify the appropriate selections and choose import. The import process only takes a few seconds. When it is done you should see a Data Import Complete message. When the process is complete it is recommended that you Compact Database, by clicking on Next rather than Finish.
The last step is to select compact and let the compact database tool do its thing. Basically it reduces the size of your database in order to improve performance. When it is done it will display “Compacting and Repairing Done”. At this point you can click Finish.
That’s all! You have successfully recovered your backed-up database. Took only a few minutes and you are ready to continue working!
If you found this article useful be sure to check out my series of TechDB videos on our YouTube channel. Happy machining!