Archiving Matters and Deleting Entries
NB As from C-Law Cashier 10 (C-Law 2010) you can un-archive a matter. (Click the link to see the details)
You will sooner or later reach the point where the current ledger is becoming full of matters marked for archiving. This means your current ledger listing gets large and may become unmanageably large.
Please bear in mind that in this event you can check the box in the ledger type box at the top of the page to eliminate matters marked for archiving from the listing. This will make the listing much more manageable.
WARNING. If you do this you cannot then see the matters marked for archiving without unchecking the box. They will effectively be LOST until you uncheck the box.
Once matters are DEFINITELY "dead" it is therefore sensible to take them out of the current ledger and put them into the archive ledger. This is still within your current data and part of C-Law but it means that the matters now appear in the archive ledger list.
Once in the Archive Ledger the matters and their entries can still be viewed but unless you un-archive them (click link for details) you will not be able to use them to make any more entries.
The entries and details of these matters are still included in data checks and data backups. They can be un-archived in extremis - see details below.
If you use floppy drives for backups there may come a stage when you think your backups are taking too long or are too full and you want to reduce the size of the data by taking the entries out of the archive ledger matters (or at least some of them).
With modern equipment backing up to USB removable drives or to a server this stage may never be reached and so the next step may be one you never wish to take and can safely ignore. It is designed ONLY for users who backup onto old 'floppy' drives or who create such a lot of entries that backups and data checks slow up and they wish to reduce the size of the normal C-Law data.
An entry removal routine is incorporated that allows you to shift entire blocks of entries out of the current data into one or more dated "deleted entry" folders. The entries are, as far as the current data is concerned, gone and no longer present. The headers of the matters with removed entries remain in the archive ledger listing as a historical record or history of work done for clients. But with the entries removed from your data folder backup sizes and times will usually be much reduced.
The good news is that having done this not much will appear to have changed! The entries will still be just as visible as usual. All the old data can still be called up on screen.
This bit of "magic" is achieved by transferring the entries and the data they contain 'en bloc' out of the data folder into separate "deleted entry folders" which, so long as they remain on your computer system, are used by C-Law software to enable it to find the entries and display them. So for the user the entries can still be viewed and printed just as before. But for the Cashier the current data has been reduced in size by no longer having these entries within it.
Of course it is important to realise that there is a price for the 'magic'. Any backups you do will NOT include these deleted entries. Thus if your computer fails, or the drive the entries have been stored on becomes inaccessible, you may have lost these entries for good. Also please note that such matters can no longer be un-archived.
To assist with ways to mitigate this eventuality we offer three solutions:-
(a) You must do a backup of the data with the entries before you remove them. Then using the new facility in C-Law 2005 and onwards to view old backup data without disturbing your current data you can easily and quickly look at the old entries and matters from a backup diskette. This is probably the easiest and most effective solution.
(b) You can do a backup of the "deleted data folders" (or any of them if more than one) and thus keep safe the deleted entry data for furture restoring and reference.The data will not change in these folders (it won't change at all apart from new folders added from time to time!) so you can just do one master backup of each folder and keep it. You are safe with this and don't need to be regularly backing up this data.
(c) You can do a hard copy printout of the "removed" entries for future reference.
The first ESSENTIAL thing to do before you attempt to make any changes to your data whether it be archiving or entry removal or any other radical operation of this nature is to do is a data backup and to verify it. This is vital. Don’t skip this under any circumstances. If you fail to make a valid backup you are on your own if a fault develops. We at C-Law will help all we can but it will probably mean a backup has to be restored from an earlier time - and a lot of wasted time incurred on your part - and we may have to make a charge if you have not kept a backup and it involves us in appreciable time as a result.
The archiving and data removal routines involve a lot of complex software processing and activity and any small faults previously unnoticed in your data may prevent the routines from working or cause errors in your data.
So the next most important thing is to do a Data Check before you start. This may not always spot faults in your data but it will have a good go at spotting many faults and in C-Law 2005 goes further than ever before in attempting self correction of any problems found. So you may not even have to contact C-Law and any small errors may be self corrected for you.
You then need to call up the appropriate routine:-
This will typically be done when you have a number of matters in your current listing that are finished and marked with "archive flags" and they have been marked as "dead" for say at least 3 months.
To see which ones you have in your current listing that are marked you can use one or more of the Shortlisting options and you can put in a date to see which ones are of a reasonable age for archiving.
You can then go to the cashier menu and select "Archiving/Deletion etc..." and then "Transfer matters to archive ledger".
You will then need to choose a number of days after marking matters as closed. Those matters flagged for longer will then be transferred to the archive ledger and a data check done to prove that the transfer has been done satisfactorily.
This will typically be done if you find that your data folder is getting so large that backups are taking too long or are getting too big.
The first thing to do is to get the main screen set to the archive ledger. You then need to click the check box in the ledger heading box at the top of the screen to "Exclude if entries removed". This will remove from the archive ledger listing on screen all matters where there are no entries or where the entries have already been removed on a a previous occasion.
The resulting listing will show those archived matters which have entries which can be removed.
You can, if you wish, further refine the listing using the shortlisting options as it is the matters listed on screen when you have finished which will be the ones that will have their entries removed.
As noted above this does not mean their entries will not be accessible - it merely means they will no longer be in the data folder. They will be transferred to a deleted files folder outside the data path - and as long as they remain there they will still be accessible to the user in just the same way as previously.
It is important to note that once enties have been removed the data will not be compatible with earlier versions of C-Law software. It can only be used with C-Law 2005 or later versions.
Moreover any other computers you use as a backup or at home to view C-Law data must be updated to the same version of C-Law but even so even if a backup is restored they will NOT have access to the deleted entries - they are not part of the normal backup.
The entry removing routines involve two passes - in the first the entries are copied and removed. In the second pass the "holes" in the data left by the removed entries is "healed" by simply re-writing all the data from scratch and giving all the accounts new reference pointers to the revised data positions. This is a highly complex operation but the software should accomplish it without difficulty. The only times a difficulty may arise is if there was a fault in the data which has gone unnoticed. The extensive re-write may fail if it encounters errors in the data. In which case you will need to restore the backup of the data you made before the operation started and contact C-Law for help.
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