Installing FileCabinet CS on a SQL Server

Alerts and notices

Non-Virtual Office / SaaS installations of FileCabinet CS (FCS) provide the option to use either the standard flat-file data format or the SQL database format. If you choose to use the SQL database format, you must have an IT Professional available to handle your SQL configuration and address any SQL errors that may come up during the life of its use with FileCabinet CS. Use the information below set up FileCabinet CS for use with SQL.

Install SQL

As of July 9th, 2019, Microsoft has ended support for SQL 2008 R2 across all operating systems. We recommend upgrading to or installing a later version of SQL. Instructions on installing or upgrading SQL are below.

FileCabinet CS works with both SQL Express and fully licensed versions of SQL. To see all the supported versions of SQL, see FileCabinet CS System Requirements. You can choose to install SQL any of the following ways: 

Configuration requirements

If you choose to install SQL Express 2014 by running the FCS SQL Setup, you can skip this section. If you are installing using any other method, your firm's IT professional is required to configure your SQL instance as follows: 

See SQL Server best practices for CS Professional Suite applications for more recommended configurations and procedures.

Run the FCS SQL Setup

Running the FCS SQL setup allows you to: 

Follow the steps below to run the FCS SQL setup.

  1. Go to the machine where your SQL instance resides (or will reside, if you are choosing to use the FCS SQL Setup to create a new instance).
  2. Log in to the machine as an administrator.
  3. Close all open applications, including background virus protection software.
  4. Browse to X:\WinCSI\CABINET\sql, where X represents the drive or network path where [[prod=name]] is installed.
  5. Double-click the setup.exe to start the FileCabinet CS Database Setup.
  6. Answer the question on the Welcome to FileCabinet CS Database Setup window. You must be sitting at the server where your database will reside, so you should move to that machine if you are not there already.
  7. Review the license agreement. If you agree, mark the I accept the terms in the License Agreement checkbox.
  8. If you receive a Pending Restart Detected window that prompts you to restart, you can choose the third option to Continue without restarting. If you see this warning repeatedly, you will need to restart.
  9. You will be taken to an Installation Steps window. See the next section for the rest of the instructions. Show me.

Installation Step 1, 2, and 3

The Installation Steps window may appear several times throughout the FCS SQL Setup. Show me.


If Step 1, 2, or 3 has a green checkmark, it means that step is already complete. If you want to go through a step again (for example, to change the Step 1 path where FileCabinet CS is installed or to link FileCabinet CS to a different SQL instance) click the blue link to get to that step. If you click the Next button on this window, you will automatically be taken to the incomplete steps.

Step 1: Confirm where FileCabinet CS has been installed

Use this step to indicate where FileCabinet CS is installed. This is necessary because with the SQL database data format, your SQL data will be in a different location than the rest of the FileCabinet CS program files. This step of the installation links SQL to your FileCabinet CS program files. 

In the FileCabinet CS installation path box, confirm that the path is correct. If it is not, click the ellipses button and browse to the correct path. The Step 1 installation window itself has more information to help you determine what path to choose.  

Step 2: Configure Database Server

Use this step to choose which SQL instance to use with FileCabinet CS or to create a new instance (which will automatically link to FileCabinet CS). Details on each option are below. 

Choose this option if you have a SQL instance already installed that you want FileCabinet CS to use. This could be the case if you have a fully licensed version of SQL, if you already use SQL for another program and you want to share the instance, or if you already have a dedicated FileCabinet CS instance that you need to re-link to.

Although this option references SQL 2005, it is not supported per the FileCabinet CS System Requirements.

If you want to use this option, select it and click Next. On the next window, choose the SQL instance you want to use and choose the Connect using Windows authentication option. After this step is complete, move on to Step 3.

Choose this option if you want to use a new Microsoft SQL Express 2014 instance with FileCabinet CS. This could be the case if you do not have SQL installed, or if you use SQL Express 2014 but want a new instance for FileCabinet CS.

If you want to use this option, select it and click Next. On the next window, name the instance and click Next. After this step is complete, move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Update FileCabinet CS configuration files

This step is required in order to complete the setup successfully and save any changes you may have made during steps 1 and 2. There are no options or actions required; the update process completes automatically. If this step completes successfully, you will be taken to the Installation Complete window. Click Finish to complete the setup.

Add a database data location

Once you have run the FileCabinet CS SQL Setup, you need to add a data location in the FileCabinet CS program or, if a data location for your SQL data has already been set up, confirm that you can see the data. Follow these steps to add a data location in database format.

  1. Open FileCabinet CS. If you receive SQL error when opening FileCabinet CS, or if the program hangs or crashes, see There is a problem accessing the SQL server.
  2. Choose Setup > System Configuration > Data Locations tab.
  3. Click the Add/Modify Data Location button.
  4. In the Data Location Format dialog, click the Database format option and click Next.
  5. Use the Enter the database server where the FileCabinet CS database will reside drop-down menu to choose the database server.
  6. Use the Enter the database name field to change the name from the default (fcabdatadb). You can also choose an existing name from the drop-down; however, you should not choose a database associated with an application other than FileCabinet CS.
  7. Enter an alias for the data path.
  8. Click OK.

Repeat these steps for each SQL database location you want to add. Each location must have a unique alias.

Add drawers to data location

If you need to add FileCabinet CS drawers to your SQL data location, you can either restore a backup or copy drawers from another data location to your SQL data location. If the drawers you want to copy are not already in SQL format, they will automatically be converted during the copy process - however, there are some additional steps and considerations. 

For instructions on restoring backups, see Restoring or merging drawer data. If you receive a message that there are no backups to restore, see Error: "The file does not contain any backups..." when restoring a SQL database. If you restore a backup, you can skip the Convert data section.

Preparing for conversion

To ensure that documents are associated with the same user-defined folders after the conversion to database format, we recommend that you rebuild folder links if you have renamed a user-defined folder in the Setup > System Configuration > Document Folders dialog for the data location you are converting. Rebuilding folder links is not required if you have never renamed user-defined folders. This process may take several minutes, depending on the number of drawers and documents. Follow these steps for each data location in the structured storage format that you will convert to database format if user-defined folders were renamed. All other users should exit FileCabinet CS during this process.

  1. Choose Repair from the Help menu.
  2. In the Drawers tab, click the Rebuild Folder Links button.
  3. Click the Select All button to select all drawers.
  4. Click the Rebuild button, then click Yes when notified that the process can take several minutes.

Steps to convert

Converting data may take a substantial amount of time, depending on the number and size of drawers being processed. All other users must exit FileCabinet CS during this process. Follow these steps to copy and convert drawers to database format.

  1. Add the database data location by following the steps in the previous section.
  2. Make the data path from which you are converting the current path.
  3. Choose Copy Drawers from the File menu.
  4. Choose the database data location from the drop-down list for the Destination location field.
  5. Select the drawers to copy, or click the Select All button to select all drawers.
  6. Mark the Automatically create folders checkbox to add user-defined folders in the current data location to the database data location.
  7. Mark the Enable application lock during copy process checkbox to enable an application lock during the copy process to ensure that no other users can access FileCabinet CS.
  8. Click the Copy button, then click Yes to continue with the copy process.
  9. If a drawer already exists in the destination location, you will be prompted to overwrite the drawer. If you do not intend to monitor the copy process while it is running, we recommend that you click either the Yes To All or No To All button to keep this dialog from opening for other drawers that also exist in the destination data location.
  10. Allow the conversion to run uninterrupted. When the process is complete, you may receive a message that all drawers were successfully copied. If any drawers were not copied, the Copy Drawers Results dialog opens, listing the drawers that were not copied. Click the Copy to Clipboard button to paste the results into a text program such as Notepad or Microsoft Word for future reference.

Removing the old data location

The data location from which you copied drawers is not deleted during the copy process. Follow these steps to remove the path from the list of data locations. This will prevent FileCabinet CS users from storing additional documents in that location.

  1. Choose Setup > System Configuration > Data Locations tab.
  2. Highlight the data location you want to remove from the list and click Delete.
  3. Click OK when notified that data will not be deleted.
  4. The original data in structured storage format can be deleted if you would like to clear it from your drive. However, it is recommended that you keep a backup of this data until you have verified that all the drawers and documents were successfully converted to the SQL database format.


When drawers are converted to the database format, they retain their links to archived documents that are stored in volumes. The volumes are not converted to the database format; they remain on your drive in the standard format. However, you can still view and restore all archived documents from a data location that uses the database format. By default, archives are stored in the $Archive directory within the data directory, so be sure to retain the $Archive directory if you choose to delete the original data and have created archives in that location.

Add the FileCabinet CS location to other CS Professional Suite applications

The new database data location must be selected as the print destination in other CS Professional Suite applications. To do this, open each CS application you want to integrate with FileCabinet CS. The menu where you add or modify data locations varies from program to program, but you can likely find it in Setup > System Configuration or Setup > File Locations.