How to keep your certificates safe
Pirform has features to makes it easy to keep your certificates safe over time. Whether you are a single operator using the Lite Edition or a company with many engineers sharing certificates using the Premium Edition, you should expect to be able to access your certificates for years to come. Especially as you may want to use them to create new certificates when you return to repeat an inspection years later.
Backups are there so that you can get your certificates back if something goes wrong. Generally, you won't need to restore from them. However, if you do then the instructions are here.
Where are my certificates?
Pirform is installed onto your computer and stores your certificates in a database inside your user profile. If you share your machine with another engineer, their certificates will also be on the computer but in a separate database under their profile.
To ensure that you can access your certificates if your computer is breaks down, becomes damaged or is stolen, you need to keep copies of your certificate data outside of your computer.
Backups and export files
Pirform has two features that help you store your certificates safely off your computer:
- Backups: where all of your certificates are saved to a single file.
- Exports: where a single certificate is saved to a file.
Export files are only available in either Premium Edition or Lite with Certificate Sharing.
Pirform automatically takes backups and exports for you after something has changed.
|Full backup||When closing the program after making any changes|
|Certificate export||When closing the certificate after making any changes|
When the certificate is automatically exported Pirform also produces the PDF for the certificate and the circuit chart (if relevant) and saves this to the export location.
The key to making sure you never lose any of your certificates is very simple:
Make sure you keep either a backup file containing the certificate or an export file of the certificate safely somewhere outside of your computer.
Options for storing certificates outside of your computer
We highly recommend using an online storage and sharing facility such as Dropbox or OneDrive.
There are many options available that are cheap, easy and reliable to use. We recommend using an online storage and sharing facility such as Dropbox or OneDrive. Both are really easy to use and will work in the background to store files off your computer (while you are connected to the internet). If you or your company has an Office 365 plan then you will have OneDrive as part of that.
Other options include using an external hard disk, network attached storage or even a USB key if you have nothing else!
If you are part of a company where your IT is managed by another team then they will be able to assist in setting up where these should be stored.
Where automatic backups and exports are stored
You can control where these automatic backups and exports are stored from the saving and backup section of Pirform Options
Click here to see how to quickly access your data folders.
Automatic rolling backups
Automatic backups are taken just before the program closes and any changes have been made. Pirform also keeps backup files for the last 14 days, the last 12 weeks and the last 12 months.
You can read how to find the most recent automatic backup here.
Exiting without backing up
You can close Pirform without taking a backup doing this by selecting File > Exit > Exit Without Backup in the Home Screen ribbon.
You can create a backup of your certificates from the Home Screen by clicking Backup Data:
After you have confirmed Pirform will confirm that the backup has been completed and give you the option to go to the new backup file:
Backup certificates online
In this section we will set up backup for your certificates using an online storage service such as Dropbox or OneDrive. This will keep copies of your certificates off your computer so that they can be recovered if your computer is damaged, lost or stolen.
Dropbox and OneDrive work by synchronising the contents of a folder on your computer with your online storage. They also synchronise these contents to each machine you are using.
Uploading certificates to Shine Forms has been available since 2015 but is not yet available for 2018 forms - we're adding this back soon. Read why here.
Set up a free online storage account
If you already have an account with an online storage service such as Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive, then you can skip this step. If not, then set up a free account with Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive.
Store backups in Dropbox or OneDrive
The next step is to tell Pirform to tell Pirform to store its backups and exports in a folder inside your OneDrive or Dropbox folder so that it will be backed up and stored online.
Open Pirform Options and go to the Saving and Backup section.
If you are using Dropbox then click the Use Dropbox button to ask Pirform to detect and use Dropbox as its location.
If you are using OneDrive or want to select another folder, click the Set Root Folder button and select the folder you want to use.
Alternatively, you can select the folders individually.
Any new backups or exports will now be stored in those locations and synchronised online by Dropbox or OneDrive.
Organising files from multiple engineers
If you click the Use Dropbox feature mentioned then Pirform does this for you using the name in the engineer's licence. You can read how to adjust your licences here
If you have more than one engineer in your company, you don't want your backups and certificates from different engineers to overwrite each other in Dropbox or OneDrive. You also want to be able to easily see which engineer the files came from.
You can do this by putting the backups and certificates under a folder that is named after the user or licence and the computer as well.
For example, let's say you have two licences and two computers called Office and Laptop that are used by John and Jane. Use a folder called called John-Office to store John's certs from the machine Office, and one called Jane-Laptop to store Jane's from the laptop. Dropbox would bring these together for me and I'd see the following folders on both computers (as well as on the Dropbox website):