Backing up backups from the HRMC 'Basic PAYE Tools' using NTFS junctions and OneDrive

The HMRC provided Basic PAYE Tools, showing where the backup files are setup

I've been using the HMRC provided 'Basic PAYE Tools' to run payroll and it does the job adequately. The one gap is that, whilst it performs periodic backups, backups are to a location that cannot be changed. Ideally it would be possible to configure the backup location so it could be somewhere that One Drive covers automatically, but at the time of writing the configuration is static.

The quickest and easiest way to achieve this, as OneDrive doesn't support backing up entirely arbitrary locations, is to use the mklink tool to create an NTFS Junction between the folder that contains the Basic PAYE Tools backups and a folder inside OneDrive. The command to run is:

mklink /j "C:\users\robertwray\OneDrive\RTI Backup" "C:\Users\robertwray\AppData\Roaming\HMRC\payetools-rti\backups"

This creates a new folder called RTI Backup inside my OneDrive folder (this works equally well with "personal" and "business" OneDrive) which is a mirror of the folder where the Basic PAYE Tools backups are found. 

Remember: Deleting a file in one folder will delete it in the other, it is not a copy of the backup folder, they're two views of the same files/folder.

Within a few minutes copies of all the backup files should be copied to OneDrive and I'm sure this would work equally well for any other application that's very prescriptive about where it stores its data.

About Rob

I've been interested in computing since the day my Dad purchased his first business PC (an Amstrad PC 1640 for anyone interested) which introduced me to MS-DOS batch programming and BASIC.

My skillset has matured somewhat since then, which you'll probably see from the posts here. You can read a bit more about me on the about page of the site, or check out some of the other posts on my areas of interest.


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    hi, just wondering of you can help me please.
    I'm a novice using HMRC basic payee tools for two employees.
    We had a problem last year when apple updated to sonoma 14 and the HMRC basic payee tools crashed
    so we managed to back up files and restore it to another computer

    now that they made the basic payee tools compatible with sonoma, `i couldn't restore the back up files on my MacBook

    the error says "195: Failed to read version from back up file"

    Can you please help me how to rectify this problem

    Many thanks. Just trying my luck. 🙏🙏🙏

    Best Wishes


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    Hi Ruby,

    I'm afraid that has me quite out of my depth, I'm not at all familiar with Macs. The 'Help' page in Basic PAYE tools does suggest:

    Technical queries

    If you get any errors downloading, installing, or when using the Basic PAYE Tools, please ring the Online Services Helpdesk on 0300 200 3600 between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm Monday to Friday

    So that may be worth a try?

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    The Following method works. Thanks to suggestions by GWLS from another forum.

    My Mac OS M2 Ventura.
    I used the HMRC's RTI (BPT) on my Microsoft laptop.
    I backed up the data and transfer the data folder into FINDER in my new new computer (MacBook M2, Ventura.
    After installing the latest version of RTI (BPT) (version 24.1.24086.542) on my MacBook, I did the RESTORE command and browse to the backup folder, but it didn't work, saying: 'error 195: Failed to read version from back up file'
    Following GWLS's suggestions (posted April 3rd, 2024), it works instantly like magic: on my MacBook, I simply copied the file 'sqlite3.db' from the backup folder (as mentioned above) and pasted it to the RTI folder (which is in this path: your username_HMRC_payetools-rti). It asked if I'd like to replace the file of the same name here. I clicked YES, then opened the RTI (BPT) application and saw all my backed-up (and most updated) data there.
    Good luck Ruby. Hope this post helps. Thanks again GWLS - you made my day!

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