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Create a backup of a desktop or workgroup geodatabase

A backup is a copy of a geodatabase that can be restored if a problem occurs. Desktop and workgroup geodatabases use SQL Server simple backup and recovery.

The simple backup and recovery model uses full database backups. It requires the least administration since you do not have to administer transaction log backups and log space. However, in the simple backup and recovery model, data is recoverable only to the most recent backup. Changes made since the last database backup are lost.

How often you perform backups depends on how often the data changes.

If you are using desktop geodatabases, only one person can edit at a time. Therefore, it would be best if the editor periodically created backup files while working, just like you would periodically save any other type of file as you are working on it.


Only a geodatabase administrator or server administrator can create a geodatabase backup. Therefore, editors of a desktop geodatabase must be granted geodatabase administrator permissions to periodically make a backup of the geodatabase they are editing.

If you are using workgroup geodatabases, your backup schedule should be determined by how much data you feel you can stand to lose. Plan your backups for specific times, such as putting them on the same schedule as your operating system or file backups. If you want to perform backups more frequently, schedule them to occur when others are not accessing the geodatabase, perhaps at the end of the day.


No matter what type of geodatabase you are using, always make a backup before upgrading the geodatabase.

  1. Log in as a server administrator or geodatabase administrator, start ArcMap, and open the Catalog window.
  2. Double-click the database server that contains the geodatabase for which you want to create a backup.

    This connects you to the database server.

  3. Right-click the geodatabase for which you want to create a backup file, click Administration, and click Backup.
  4. Type a name for your backup file in the Backup name text box.
  5. The backup file is created in a default location. To change this, type the path or browse to the new location to which you want to save the backup file.

    You can only browse to a different location if you are a server administrator. If you are a geodatabase administrator, you must type the path to the location.

  6. Type a description for the backup file in the Description text box.
  7. Click OK.

The Administration tab of the Geodatabase Properties dialog box indicates the name of the last backup file and the date when a backup was last performed for the geodatabase.