Personally I archive the MySQL databases by extracting the tables (both structure and data) into SQL scripts and then compress them with zip. I think, this is the most reliable way to make data archives in MySQL. There is a program called 'mysqldump', which can do that. It is included in every MySQL distribution package. Also there is another tool called MySQL Service Center, which provides a lot of extra abilities, such as extracting a database by schedule and compressing script after extraction is completed. The trial version of this tool is available at http://www.mysqlmaestro.com/products.../download.html.