Is My File Healthy

000-sickObituaries are an inevitable part of being a genealogist. I have bookmarked three local newspaper obituary columns on the internet just so I don’t miss anything important to me. From time to time I see references to a death after the discovery of a disease in its later stages. These are deaths that might have been postponed. Regular medical checkups can lead to a longer and more fulfilling life.

So why discuss medical checkups on a website dedicated to Ancestral Quest? I thought you would never ask. (Maybe you didn’t, but here is the answer anyway.) Sometimes AQ files develop problems. You may not be aware of the problem yet, but AQ may need a checkup. It is a good idea to do this checkup on a regular basis, say once a month.


Click on the Tools tab and select Database Check/Repair.


From the menu select the Check Only radio button then click the Check button.


AQ is asking you to name the file which will contain the results of the search for database errors.

004 SaveAs2.png

I append the -year-month-day-FileName-Version to the name of the file just before the .rpt. Click the Save button and the Check process will begin.


Check goes through all the parts of the file and looks for problems.


The report on what AQ found will appear. Scroll to the bottom of the report for a summary of what was found. If no errors were found, you will not see this file, and you have completed the task.


If there were errors click on Tools -> Database Check/Repair


…but this time click the Check and Repair radio button, then click on the Check Button.


Now click on the Backup button.


AQ will ask you to confirm the name of the backup file it is about to create and to also confirm the location where you want the backup file.


I add -B4 just before the .aqz in the file name so that it will be easy to see the backup that was made just before a possible major change to the file. Click the Backup button.


The backup is complete…


…so click on the Check Repair button.


Create another checkfix file with the version number incremented by one from the last version number. In this case the version is 2.


When Check/Repair completes it will present the result file. Scroll to the bottom to see the Summary. This usually is sufficient to remove all errors from the file. However, sometimes one problem can hide a different problem, so I always re-run the Check/Repair function until I see this:


Don’t put yourself in a position where you need to write an obituary for your AQ file.


  1. R. Sharon Shaw

    That was a timely check up! I had 11 errors but all were repaired! Thank you. I had no idea I was supposed to do check-ups.

  2. I follow the same procedure when I do a check/repair. I’m going to steal your B4 tip! How long or how many backup files do you keep? AQ15 now includes the pop-up window to backup each time I close and I’m accepting more often than I used to backup.

    • Hi, Cathy. About the number of backups I keep… When I was teaching AQ, I always told people that I don’t usually keep more than 4 or 5………..Hundred! I have a 128 Gb flash drive where I back up several things, including AQ. I have no reason to waste my time deleting AQ backups. I back up after every session where I make a change to my file. I will not live long enough to fill that flash drive, so what would I gain by deleting? The complete story is that I recently deleted everything prior to December 2015. I may do that again one of these years. I actually use my backup files. Yesterday I went through my health checkup of my two files, and then decided to write yesterday’s post. Oops! Both of my files were now healthy, so I had NO errors to show as examples. Solution? Restore the backup of my Centerville file, and go through the process again, taking screen shots along to way. I don’t know if you noticed, but I don’t use the default name for my backup file. THIS post shows what I use instead. (I hope that worked. I don’t remember ever creating a link within a Reply to Comment before.) That format forces my backup files into chronological order within file name and sorting Z2A puts the most recent backup at the top of its file group.

      • Thank you, Dale, for replying to my question. I deleted everything prior to May 2015 last year.
        The link in your comment worked! I’m glad you added it because I have been manually changing the name of backup files to make them chronological. Now I’m going to get that fixed in the preferences. Thank you!

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