Migrating Dentrix Image 4.5’s database to another computer

This post is way off-topic for those who read me regularly, but it should be helpful for those looking for this information via a web search.

Our original server was a very old (1999ish), very slow Pentium running Windows XP Professional, Dentrix 11, and Dentrix Image 4.5.
We decided to upgrade, and bought a new Dell PowerEdge server with a Dual Core Intel Xeon processor and Windows Server 2008 64-bit edition.

Installing Dentrix, Image, and the other required applications went fairly smoothly, with only a possible hiccup with installing .NET Framework 1.1, required for Dentrix. I say possible because it was only a warning, and we don’t know if it will manifest into any problems down the road.

After installation came the hard part – moving the data.

  • Pulling the Dentrix data (ledger, chart, schedule, etc.; about 300MB) over was simply a matter of copying the data into the appropriate Data directory.
  • Pulling images (35GB) over took longer, given the amount of data, but it was as simple.
  • Figuring out how to transfer the Dentrix Image SQL Server database, the database that contains a mapping between patients and images, took an absurd amount of time.

I tried:

  • Stopping the SQL Servers on both source (old server) and destination (new server) and copying the .mdf/.ldf files from source to destination. This resulted in Chart showing “Cannot initialize image database”.
  • Using the seemingly-useful DXImage/bin/IDImage application, which ultimately failed.

The key to figuring out was this Microsoft Support article describing moving databases using sp_detach_db and sp_attach_db. To fix,

  • Open a command line on the source and type ‘osql -E -Q’ to get into SQL command line
  • Type:
use master
sp_detach_db 'Viper'
  • Copy ‘Dentrix\DXImage\MSDE\MSSQL$VIPER\Viper.mdf’ and ‘Dentrix\DXImage\MSDE\MSSQL$VIPER\Viper_log.ldf’ to the same location on the server as ‘Viper_2.mdf’ and ‘Viper_log_2.mdf’
  • Open a command line on the destination and type ‘osql -E -Q’ to get into SQL command line
  • Type:
use master
drop viper
sp_attach_db 'viper','C:\Dentrix\DXImage\MSDE\MSSQL$VIPER\Viper_2.mdf','C:\Dentrix\DXImage\MSDE\MSSQL$VIPER\Viper_log_2.ldf'
  • Make sure to change your firewall settings on your new server to enable SQL Server to access it.

This did it. Oh, how I wish Dentrix Image had better (or any, for that matter) documentation, except for this site which looks like it was written by someone in high school.

UPDATE: In all likelihood, the first method (copy .mdf and .ldf) might have worked had I tried changing the firewall settings sooner!

UPDATE 2: After a massive meltdown of our servers and a long technical session with the good people at Dentrix Image, we learned a few things:

  • Windows Server 2008 is NOT supported for Dentrix Image 4.5. It was practically sheer luck that enabled it to work. Windows XP and (I believe) Server 2003 are the only supported environments. The issue lies with the embedded Microsoft SQL Server used in Dentrix Image itself, which is incompatible with Server 2008.
  • However, since we already migrated Dentrix to Server 2008, and still had our workstations on XP, there is a solution: leave the actual images on our fast new Server 2008, and host the image database itself on a workstation running XP.
  • The caveat here is that both machines must be accessible by network names (e.g. “server1”, “server2”), and not just by IP address (e.g. “”). So, if I ping “server1”, I would get a proper response. It is beyond the scope of this entry to explain how to make this work, but a hint to get you down that path: static IPs and the hosts file.

To get this hybrid system (image files on “dentrix server”, image database on “idb server”) to work:

  • Install Dentrix Image as a server install on a Windows XP machine. We’ll call this machine “idb server” below.
  • On the old server, run [DXImage]\bin\IDBAdmin
  • Choose Export Database and choose a path. Move the resulting exported database to the idb server.
  • On the idb server, run [DXImage]\bin\IDBAdmin
  • Choose Import Database and choose the file you just copied over.
  • Choose Initialize Database.
  • On the dentrix server, open [DXImage]\images\rtx.con . Change the file to point to the new server’s network name. This is the missing link: workstations will look at this file to figure out where to find the image database.

UPDATE 3: We have posted our backup process for the lowly Windows XP IDB Admin server in a follow-up, Backing up Dentrix Image 4.5’s database.

47 thoughts on “Migrating Dentrix Image 4.5’s database to another computer

  1. Yes. Server 2008 and the new hardware is better able to handle the 50K+ (and growing) image files we have in that directory. Plus, we adjusted the virus scan software on all the workstations to no longer do live scanning (and instead do scheduled scanning), which helped as well.

    Please note “Update 2” that I added to the post, based on some things we learned over the past few weeks.

  2. Thanks so much for the warning/info. I am planning on upgrading from Dentrix 11 to the G4 this weekend. I was going to upgrade the server, but now I think I will wait. I was so confused when my Dentrix Sales rep knew nothing about the Image program, what the current version was, or if it would work with G4. (we use Schick sensors but not the Schick software) In the past when you upgraded Dentrix you got the updated version of Image automatically. I have heard that there is a 5.0 (see http://www.doh.ihs.gov/EDR/documents/DentrixImage5.0-SupportedHardware.pdf)but, as of a few minutes ago, Dexis support says 4.5 is the current version with 5.1 scheduled to release in a few months. Sounds like 5.0 wasn’t successful. I would expect the newest version to support the newest Microsoft, but you never know. Thanks again for the warning you definitely saved my Easter weekend!!

  3. I’m in the middle of a Dentrix migration as we speak, thanks for posting this article.

    I’m moving from a Dual Dual-Core w/ 2GB RAM on Win2003SP2 to a Dual Quad-Core w/ 8GB RAM running VMware ESXi.

    We’ll be deploying 2008 R2 VMs for the 2x Domain Controllers but Dentrix G3 and the Kodak Dental Image System wont run on 2008 R2 (which is ONLY x64) so I’ll be deploying two Win2003R2 VM’s. I’m hoping to move Dentrix up to a 2008 R2 VM once we perform the G4 upgrade.

  4. You’re my hero. I have to tackle this same thing tomorrow, except it’s Dentrix 11 with Image 4.1 and Server 2003 (assumed 2008 wouldn’t work). Thanks for the insights!

  5. Thanks for the info. I just did the same migration today, but to 2003 Server and Image 4.1. The easy way to migrate the image database is to go Start->Run and type ‘idbadmin’. You can then run an export on the database, then import the database on the new server using the same utility! This copies the database only, you’ll have to move the images over as well.

  6. All of you are horrifically wrong about ALL of this and are in dire need of some serious dental consulting and network design. Dentrix Image is END of LIFE; and has been purchased by DEXIS and will be discontinued. Windows XP cannot support more than 10 simultaneous connections since the Service Pack 2 update, so you will need to shut down the XP computer at least once a week or you will have problems. You need to pull the backups or the Viper database off of that XP client and onto your Windows 2008 file server so that they can be backed up along with all of the other data, and your XP machine needs to be turned on and logged in BEFORE ALL of the other PC’s or else no one will be able to use Dentrix without errors. YOu need to get rid of Dentrix Image; there are no plans to upgrade it for 64 bits OR for Windows 7, and no one should be using Windows Vista. You do the math… we stopped using Image 1 1/2 years ago and I worry that we waited too long but you guys are asking for a situation where no one can find an xray unless they wait for G5 to load on a laptop and everyone will have to share the laptop because you all waited so long to get rid of it. ImageRAY I was also sold to DEXIS and they discontinued it. I have recently seen Dentrix peddling the OLD GENDEX hardware technology with Dentrix Image software, on Dentrix’s website, so that both companies can bail out of their bad investments… every trade show i have been to has Gendex selling the Visulaix sensors ONLY, which are the “good” ones, but not the ones that nobody wanted. I sure hope you guys don’t actually need your computers with the technology choices you are making because hte local inspector is going to report you to the Technology Czar for a HIPAA violation and make you take an ad out in the newspaper explaining your failures if you don’t buy insurance and PCI security inspections from your friendly local communist Tech Lord…. WAKE UP! because if you lose the index to those files you won’t be practicing dentristry for much longer. Better know who your friends are; big brother is getting ready to shut YOU down for good…

    • What dental imaging software to prefer to use?
      I am kind of pissed off at Dentrix for not upgrading
      4/5. Why should I use Dexis?
      I need to dump Image 4/5. What is the most basic way
      to save the 4/5 data view it for another year or so on my
      new 64 bit computers.?

      • I JUST FINISHED UPGRADING TO G5, Dentrix do not recommend using 4.5 and forces you to upgrade to Dexis. Do not worry, Image 4.5 will work fine with G5. I used Vix Vin from Gendex as I had a copy lying around, but for the old X-ray viewing, I am using 4.5 on 64 bit Window 7, Works fantastic.

        Do not spend money for any other software. I also have to use 4.5 for the Denoptics as well as Accucam IV intra oral, I am running two servers on the same network.

        Window 7 – and Window XP. I am using xp only for Denoptics and Intra oral camera as Gendex intentionally kept not providing 64 bit drivers for both.

        Drop me line if you need further info,

        -G. Shah

        • I have been providing support as and I.T. consultant for 10 years in the Dental field. I worked for several years as a Henry Schein Technology Sales Rep. That being said, I have several clients that are still using Dentrix Image 4.5 in their offices. I have upgraded their servers to Server 2008 R2 and some have upgraded workstations running Windows 7 64bit while others are using Windows XP Professional.

          The dual server solution works fine but it can be a problem from time to time. It is critical that you make sure you are backing up your SQL export files from the Image Database server machine. If you do lose this, you will be in big trouble.

          I have been recently working to move as many people as possible away from Dentrix Image to Dexis software for Image. I find Dexis software easy to use, fast and very efficient for storing images. You will save a lot of server disk space after the conversion as Dexis uses much less space for the same images. Backups are easier to manage with 9.0x or earlier. Dexis has release version 10 of their software which uses a SQL server and requires a little more administration but if you have a huge database with lots of users it is worth the update.

          The nice thing about switching to Dexis from Dentrix Image is that all of your Images convert over. So their is no need to run both databases in the future. Dexis imaging software is also backwards compatible with most hardware that Dentrix Image supported. So if you still have older Dentrix Sensors or Intra-oral cameras you can convert to the Dexis software and still use your old hardware. Be sure to confirm this if you have other brands of hardware…

          As another note, moving the Dentrix Image database is actually pretty easy and you don’t need to use the command line steps outlined in this article. Most of the time it is just a matter of moving the folders that contain all your images, postages, notes, videos… to the new server.

          Then run IDBadmin on your old server to export your SQL database records.

          Once you have Image installed on your new server and your folders copied over you can then run IDBadmin on the new server and import your SQL database records to link everything together.

          I have spoken to other Tech’s that have been able to get everything working on a single 2008 server but it is not worth the hassle factor to me or my clients. I would either use two servers or convert to Dexis software…

        • Just add new computers windows 7, upgrade to G-5 .Literally I was force to Dexis. I love my Image 4.5,which is friendly than Dexis. I am about to return Dexis software and Sensor. My intraoral cameras are Sopros 595. Question is if I could still for sure keep my old image 4.5 or any upgrade ?.

  7. It wouldn’t have worked to just copy the .mdf and .ldf files. The standard procedure for moving a SQL Server database is the detach/attach process you documented here.

    Another alternative would have been to take the database backup and restore it on the new server using IDBAdmin.

  8. I did a similar Server replacement and used Server 2003 because Dexis told me that Image 4.5 would not work on Server 2008. I wish i would have read your post before the server purchase. When I transferred the data and images from the old to the new pretty much used your first suggestion of transferring the the files…

    “Stopping the SQL Servers on both source (old server) and destination (new server) and copying the .mdf/.ldf files from source to destination.” I copied ALL the .mdf and .ldf files from the old server (‘Dentrix\DXImage\MSDE\MSSQL$VIPER\Data\Viper.mdf’)to the same location on the new server and everything worked great.

    THANKS for the information…I would have been lost without it!!

  9. I have not had much experience (read:any!) with Dentrix but I am currently migrating G3 along with Active Directory and some other apps to a new server and I was wondering if you had any tips or URL’s that would be useful to me i.e. which folders needed to be copied, SQL databases, permissions, security, shared folders, etc. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  10. I recently attempted to upgrade from Dentrix 11 to G4, the server side s alright, but all clinic workstations had an error when I tried to access the images chart. The error msg is ‘Unable to intialize image database’. Any help is much appreciated.

  11. Hey all, this post actually helped me get Dentrix Image 4.5 installed and working on a 2008 x64 SBS server. Luckily I didn’t call support first to ask for help, I was able to install the software directly from the CD with only one warning. Once that was done I did an export using idbadmin tool from the old server. I copied the entire Dentrix folder to the new server with errors on the databases. Once the information was transfered I fired up the idbadmin on the new server, redirected the image path, and initialized the database. For good measure I imported the previously exported file on the new server. I was having issues until I realized i had to unblock the program within the firewall.
    The only other trick was editing the con file located within the Dximage\image folder with notepad to update the name of the server and paths to the database.

    Long story short, 4.5 may not be supported when it’s installed on 2008, but it is working fine for me.

  12. Better information than I got anywhere else. Still didn’t solve my issue though. Dentrix Support has the WORST smooth jazz on their wait music.


  14. Dear Jason, thanks so much for the post and for the additional comments… They helped us get going on 64-bit! Sweet! Saved us from having to feed the corporate machine, aka Dentrix/Dexis, a little longer! Dear SUPPORT TECH… do you work for Dentrix or something? Stay off of discussions that are above your skill level and pay grade.

  15. I don’t want to disable my local firewall, so what ports or service should I open up to configure firewall exceptions for Dentrix Image to work on network?

  16. Does anyone know how to get around Dentrix 5.1 and x64 Windows 7 Issues, I’ve spent hours on the phone with Dentrix Support and they are doing thier best, but there has to be someone who has Dentrix Image working on x64 clients somewhere….HELP?!?!

  17. Dentrix Images Works on win7 64 bit.
    I m doing setup of dental offices.I did once and it works. i don’t have setup for Dentrix image other wise i can install it and send u detail for 64bit.
    Need help send me email at Techhelpbobby@gmail.com

  18. Good comments on this page. I have been running Dentrix 11/Image 4.1 for years on XP sp1 and filled up 120GB hd. Solution: Added PCI esata controller,1TB 7200rpm 3GB/sec esata external hd. Copied all data and all image folders to new drive, used idbadmin to redirect SQL and initialize images. Once in image via patient chart, redirect directories. Works great! Map new drive for each network computer AND initialize images/redirect directoriesas above)Hope this helps someone.

  19. I went through this process yesterday (I know it’s old, it’s phased out blah blah blah). The fact is the Doc still has two machines using intraoral cams along with EasyImage and he wants to be able to continue until he upgrades his cams this year. We replaced the server because the practice has expanded. We used a refurbed Server 2k3.

    Here is the process for those of you that have similar environments.

    On the new server create a folder on the root of C:\ called ViperMigrate (or whatever you want)

    On the old server copy the Following folders


    Put them in the folder you created on the new server

    Copy the latest .bak file from
    \EasyImage\MSDE\MSSQL$VIPER\Backup\ViperData to the folder you created on the new server.

    Stop the SQL on the old server (or shut it down).

    Install EasyImage on the new server. Reboot when prompted.

    Once the server is up and running you will do the following.

    Copy the folders you saved in your ViperMigrate folder to the EasyImage folder (rename existing to .old if you want).

    Right click on the sql instance that is running in the task tray.
    Change that from
    SQL Server
    SQL Server Agent

    Run IDBAdmin (it should run from a “run” command but if it won’t navigate to the Easy Dental folder.

    Click the dropdown and select restore database
    Select the .bak file you copied to the ViperMigrate folder.

    If you did everything correctly the EasyImage database migration should work fine.

    Make sure you change the paths on the workstations to reflect the new POSTAGES and IMAGES folders on the new server.

    I hope this helps somebody out as I racked my brain on this before breaking down and paying Dexis to show me.

    If I missed something I apologize, this is strictly from memory.

  20. I was able to implement Dentrix Image on my client’s new Server’08 64-bit machine, but when I called for support with the SQL backups not creating I was told that they do not support any 64-bit OS.
    They only support offered is to move the database to a 32-bit machine.

  21. Hello All, I’m having a problem with a XP client saying “Unable to intialize image database” Does anyone know what is happening? The other machines in the office is not having any trouble. thanks!

  22. Make sure you can access the server by its netbios name, not just its IP, i.e. \\server.mydomain.com or just \\server if youre not using AD

    If it fails you will get the image initlization error.

  23. Lots of people have converted from Dentrix image to Dexis.
    Are they happy with the conversion or is it a pain to view the
    old images now? Is it easier to keep two data bases or just convert the
    old data and deal with the disorganized conversion?

  24. We evaluated Dexis as a possible upgrade path, but 1.) the data format appeared to be even more proprietary than Dentrix Image, and 2.) the sales rep was unhelpful. That latter point may not seem so important, but we’ve discovered that we rely on our sales reps after the sale very frequently.

    We migrated from Dentrix Image to Apteryx XrayVision (http://www.apteryx.com/xrayvision2). XrayVision’s data format seems more open, and the sales process was much easier. It seems like Apteryx provides a white-label imaging solution to a number of smaller vendors, and they rarely sell to end-users such as our office. While the software is powerful, the integration is clunky. Additionally, there is a rare but nagging issue where the sensor and PC stop communicating. But we can’t be sure if this is an issue with Apteryx or the sensor manufacturer. Migrating the data to their software was a one-time $900 fee on top of the licensing fee.

    We are happy to be on supported software again, but wish there were more competitors out there to put some pressure on the incumbents.

  25. I have done extensive work with Dentrix, Dentrix Image and Dexis over the past 5 years. I presently work as a Systems Integrator for Digital Technology in Conyers GA. (Im not on any Dentrix, Dexis, Kodak, or Paterson payrole) We just do a lot of Dental IT.

    We have many customers still running Dentrix Image on Server 03. We have been able to actually load Dentrix image on Server 08 about a dozzen times, but I dont recomend it. Its just NOT intended to do it, and its not something you want to “squeek by with” Its your xray data at stake. Dont risk it.

    Data conversion – Dexis is by far the most popular way to go. The integration is slick. If you are used to Dentrix Image, Dexis integration is as close as you can get. I dont know anyone unhappy with a conversion.
    Dentrix Image to dexis (from a data standpoint) is seamless, old images appear right along side new images. I have heard of a limited issue where some imported bitewings appear rotated… but thats about it

    Now getting used to how dentrix image locks images into a template, and dexis lets you ‘throw them around the screen’ takes most offices getting used to, but that has nothing to do with converting data.

    Bottom line, Support for XP is gooing to end REALLY SOON. As IT providers I CANT get a server that runs Server 2003 anymore. I can barely find hardware with XP drivers. You have to get off DxImage and time is quickly running out.

    Apteryx is OK, they do resell there stuff to several other companies, so its widely used and support is ok. I HATE the Apteryx license model, and I agree the integration is ‘so so’

    If your running Dentrix, Dexis is the logical choice. If you want something dirt cheap, go to XDR, Apteryx is ok(aka Clineview, aka ImageXL, aka ProfSuni) . Schick ( Now Sirona) is good , as is CDR Dicom, Kodak Hardware / software is my least favorite and Suni sensors are a piece of junk.

    • We just upgraded to an 2008 64 bit server and workstations. We converted over to the Dexis software (we had no choice) for our images. The conversion process was easy and nothing lost. BUT how we view, open, enhance the images is a Royal Pain! Do not like the new look! but there is nothing we can do. What we really would like is to be able to use our ImageCam HD intra oral camera . We have found Nothing as clear and easy to use!! It is 32 bit and have been told by the Dexis techs that there was only 1 office that they know of that was able to get it to work with the new hardware and software BUT they will not help me convert it. Said it was not meant to run with the 64 bits. So my question is Can anyone bridge the drivers or gap between the two?? Please let me know! Email to drwoodill@gmail.com.
      Thanks DW

  26. I got an old server running very slow like a nail :))
    I was assigned to build a new server with G5. I took me like 2 days to figure out that I should build G4 and upgrade it to G5.
    The hardest part is about the Dentrix Image 4.5. Thank to Jason.

    My new server runs 2008 standard edition 32bit, and dentrix image works fine.
    I havent upgraded to G5 yet. still stuck with dentrix image 4.5 on G4.
    Migrating dentrix image database is the pain in ass :((.

  27. I know this thread is really old but has anyone been able to make this work.
    I have an old Windows Server 2003 Running Dentrix Image 4.5, and a new windows server 2008 running dentrix g5. I tried the hybrid solution leaving the database on the Windows 2003 box and using idbadmin on the workstations to point to the image files that were moved to the new server, there wasnt anything to update on the RTX.CON file, since the server is staying. Always get a failed to initialize database error. I also have static IPs in the building and Hosts table reflects IP address of the servers.

    • “I tried the hybrid solution leaving the database on the Windows 2003 box and using idbadmin on the workstations” –> idbadmin is meant to be run on another server (what I refer to as the IDB Admin server above), not on the workstations. As well, it’s meant to be run on Windows XP, as it’s not truly supported on Server 2003.

      That being said, it could still work if you are lucky. Did you remember to run idbadmin’s Initialize Database?

      • I didnt run the intialize. The Images are on Windows 2008, the Dentrix Image 4.5 is on the existing server. Do i need to reinitalize the database after i update the RTC.CON file. So basically im leaving the existing Server in place, just want to move the image files to the new 2008 Server. So my RTC.CON file shouldnt need to change only the path to the images. Which i tried using idbadmin on the Dentrix Image 4.5 server and pointed at the path to the images on the new server. That just results in Unable to Initialize database, but i didnt run intialize DB after moving the image path.

        • No, I suppose you wouldn’t need to run idbadmin (but I don’t know for sure).

          So you are simply moving your files over, but leaving Dentrix and Dentrix Image on the old server? If that’s the case, perhaps you can simply update the path in Dentrix somehow? I don’t really know, that’s the the case I was in, it was four years ago(!) that I ran these steps, and we have since moved off of Dentrix Image. Sorry I can’t help you further in this.

  28. We just went throught this process. When I was informed by Dexis, that I had to use a 32 bit machine to keep the old imaging software, I balked. The last thing I wanted to do was to introduce a point of failure, i.e. using an old XP machine or 2003 server, to maintain the image database.

    My solution was to load Windows 7 32-bit, in a Hyper-V machine, running on the new 2008 R2 server. Dexis support was then granted access to the system and transferred/configured imaging on the new VM. Once some firewall issues were resolved, this has worked with no problems. Starting and stopping of the “Imaging” VM is controlled by the host machine and doesn’t require intervention by the user. One workstation is configured with a remote desktop connection if the user needs to log into the Imaging VM. The VM is backed up, along with other data files, on a daily basis. All is good.

  29. I know this is a pretty late response, but I am having trouble with my upgrade and what you are discussing here seems to be related.

    I got a new win7pro 64 bit computer and copied all data (dentrix + dexis) from my old xp pro computer to a new shared folder on the win7 computer. I redirected all my workstations to gather data from the new machine. It worked and I thought I could finally shut off my old server, but dexis ran into problems saying it cannot locate the database and asks me to re-enter my license key. Images are already on a Dexis 10 (imaging suite) environment and just want to shift everything to the win7 computer that is still a dexis 10 so I can finally turn off the xp computer.

  30. Jason I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for writing this article. We had a very similar situation to yours at one of the offices I support. Your directions were extremely clear and the layout of this article is fantastic. You were very descriptive about everything and it helped me out a great deal. You have my gratitude sir and once again fantastic job on the article.

  31. I currently have a customer running Dentrix G4 with Image 4.5 on a Windows XP Pro file server. The office is small (5 PC’s). I wan to upgrade their server to Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. Has anyone recently had success moving Image 4.5 to a Windows 7 Pro file server?

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