File > Open > irregular file in the list

Marc Leager's Avatar

Marc Leager

25 Jun, 2020 12:42 AM

Something has caused a peculiar file (or account set?) to appear in the selection list for Moneydance > File > Open. I maintain 3 account sets in Moneydance, all on a network drive. I have had no problem with this for many months. The Open select list shows them correctly as P:\DOLLARS\.moneydance\Documents\XXX.moneydance, where P: is the remote network drive and XXX is the name of one of the 3 account sets. This works fine and I am able to open any of the XXX account sets with no problem. Each of the XXX.moneydance selections identifies a subdirectory under Documents. There are no other subdirectories under Documents. NOW, an additional selection is present in the list as "p:\dollars\.moneydance" with no name of the account set and lower case letters are as shown in the open list. I don't know what I did to cause this to happen. When I select Help > Show Documents Folder, Windows File Explorer shows an empty panel containing "This folder is empty." and a directory path starting with C:\Users\.... Question: how do I get rid of the peculiar file in the open list. I don't think "delete account set" applies, because "Show Documents Folder" gives me nothing to delete.

  1. 1 Posted by sth on 25 Jun, 2020 02:25 AM

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    It is strongly recommended not to store your file on a network drive but use a local drive instead. One it is much faster and two the many many files that MD creates internally lead to corruption. I am not sure you can delete the file from the list. The only way may be to delete all your preferences. Go find the preferences file for your particular OS.

  2. 2 Posted by Marc Leager on 25 Jun, 2020 07:02 PM

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    Thanks for your prompt response. I see your strong recommendation about avoiding network drives, but we have been successful in doing that for several years. (Search "external files" for a number of posts on this subject.) We do it because we have several computers that need (non-concurrent) access to Moneydance. I have solved the concurrency issue by writing a front-end program to manage a lock file and load Moneydance if the file is unlocked. This is working well for us. ALSO, thanks for the recent upgrade of Moneydance. Segmenting the data files by month has speeded up the start and end of the program by a factor of 10, so speed on a network drive is not an issue!
    On the issue of the open file list, I have just solved the problem by navigating to the C:\Users\myusername\.Moneydance folder and editing (gasp!) the config.dict file. This file contains a section named "external_files" {...} containing the folders for all the external account sets I use. I deleted the offending folder path from the {...} list and the problem was fixed. I assume that Moneydance will add new paths to this list whenever Open Other is used. Please let us know if this was harmful or insufficient.

  3. 3 Posted by sth on 25 Jun, 2020 07:16 PM

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    It is a recommendation not a prohibition. If it has worked well for you, fine. Things can work well until they don't very often trigged by an upgrade or subtle file change. But YMMV.
    Yes, editing the config.dict will get rid of those files listed in the "recent files" list. Probably can't do more damage with that than loss of preferences and have to reset them.

  4. Support Staff 4 Posted by Ethan on 25 Jun, 2020 07:18 PM

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    I'm glad to hear you figured out the location of the custom file locations in the config.dict file. There's no harm in removing those listings. You are correct that Moneydance will automatically add file locations to that file (and your File -> Open list) when you use the open other option, as most people want the program to retain those file locations.

    I would second the recommendation to not store your data files in a shared network folder, and instead use the built-in file syncing system (, which was created to deal with scenarios like this. You may have been using this method successfully for years, but the data file format has changed significantly, especially with the last two versions. Saving the file to a shared network drive will greatly increase the chance of data corruption, which is why we strongly recommend against that. You can continue to do so, but please make sure you are making external backups, as this will very likely cause problems at some point.

    Infinite Kind Support

  5. 5 Posted by Marc Leager on 26 Jun, 2020 01:01 AM

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    Thanks to the two TIK responders. I will investigate the syncing and sharing option. And thanks for the confirmation about cleaning up the external_files section of config.dict.

  6. 6 Posted by derekkent23 on 26 Jun, 2020 06:48 AM

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    I am not support staff, just a user.
    Hi Marc

    I just want to add that when running Moneydance 2017, 2019 or 2020 its internal sync engine negates the need to do extra work to prevent more than one copy of a data set from being open at one time. Just make sure you are running the same version/build on all your computers.
    I have 4 computers and two phone and they can have the same data set open. Make a change on one device and within 60 seconds you can see the change appear on the other devices.
    If your setup included mobile devices, say phones you have to have at least a free Dropbox account. If you are just syncing between computers I have tested Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and pCloud and they all work.

    Hope this helps.

  7. 7 Posted by Marc Leager on 26 Jun, 2020 04:10 PM

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    Thanks for your very informative note. We always wondered about the
    danger of two computers opening the same account set at the same time.
    But we not using the sync feature. We will test the sync feature in our
    small network. But where is the account set/data set stored? Locally on
    each computer or on a shared device or in the cloud?

    Thanks again, Marc Leager

  8. 8 Posted by derekkent23 on 26 Jun, 2020 06:23 PM

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    I am not support staff, just a user.
    Hi Marc

    If you are not using Moneydance’s internal sync engine you must not open two or more instances of the same data set.

    I would advise against using your own network with the Moneydance sync engine. The way the sync engine works is to create a string of very small file one for each new transaction as a means of distributing data. Cloud servers such a Dropbox can handle this process as the Moneydance sync engine was designed to work with such cloud servers.

    There are three method of syncing supported by Moneydance 2017/2019/2020.

    Dropbox Folder, Dropbox Connection and Shared Folder.

    The sync method Shared Folder can only be used with other computers, it will not sync to mobile devices (phone etc.).
    With "Shared Folder" Moneydance syncs using a folder you create that is shared across computers. This could be a folder in a cloud server such as OneDrive, iCloud, pCloud or Google Drive. I have tested all of these and they all work.

    The following is an explanation regarding the other two syncing methods, Dropbox Folder and Dropbox Connection. However, if you are an Apple user and did not purchase direct, but purchased through Apple, due to one of the restrictions Apple impose on Moneydance, “Dropbox Folder” is not available. Note in both cases you need to have at least a free Dropbox account. With Dropbox Folder, the most flexible and easiest to set up of the two, you need to install Dropbox client on all your computers, but not no your mobile devices.

    With Dropbox Connection Moneydance uses the Dropbox API to talk to the Dropbox service directly. So, you don't need to have Dropbox client actually installed on your computer, but you do need to be online when Moneydance is running in order for changes to be synced. Data will be synced once you go back on line when Moneydance is open. With Drobox Folder Moneydance will just read and write files to your Dropbox folder on your computer, which means that you need to have Dropbox client installed and running, but you don't need to be online in order for Moneydance to read and write the changes.” Syncing will occur when you go online, Moneydance does not need to be open.

    You can also use either of these syncing methods Dropbox Folder and Dropbox Connection to sync with mobile device (phones etc.) that have the Moneydance APP installed. The Moneydance mobile APP has Dropbox API embedded.

    When syncing you have one primary and as many secondary computers as you require. The data set is stored in the default location on the hard drive of your primary computer. See under HELP – SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER. Your data set is a folder not a file. It contains other folders and files. The data set folder is named yourdatasetname.moneydance. DON’T STORE YOUR DATA SET IN DROPBOX or any other shared drive or cloud server as it could become corrupted due to how Moneydance reads/writes small files.

    When you start the syncing process, FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) - SYNCING, a syncing folder “.moneydancesync” is automatically created in Dropbox or your Shared folder. If you have more than one data set you can set up syncing for each. The “.moneydancesync” folder in turn has an alphanumeric folder created, one for each data set you sync.

    Your secondary computers, set up using FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – NEW – OPEN SYNCED FILE, do not have the same data set as the primary computer. There data sets are automatically created from data synced via the folder “.moneydancsync” / alphanumeric folder, created automatically by the primary computer. See under HELP – SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER. Although the data sets have the same name the main difference between a primary and secondary data set is you can’t change the sync method when running a secondary data set.

    Once set up you can say add a transaction on one computer and within 60 seconds see it appear on your other computers or mobile device e.g. phone.

    In normal operation Moneydance on your devices reads and writes to the folder “.moneydancsync” / alphanumeric in the Dropbox folder, creating small transaction files (mdtxn files) in such a way that there should never be any conflicts (at least not to any important files). Filenames are unique and the data is end to end encrypted using your sync key (“Encryption Passphrase”) only held on your devices, not in the cloud. All changes are recorded in this folder and if any of the changes cause conflicts then they are resolved by checking Unix Time stamp that are internal to the file (i.e. not the file modification date). At interval these transaction files are rolled up in to a truck file to reduce the number of small transaction files. The alphanumeric folder also contains other support folders and files.

    All this is transparent to the user.

    Hope this helps.

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