Laptop & Desktop, WIN 64Bit Pro, Moneydance 2020.1

bgpenhollo's Avatar


03 Oct, 2020 11:12 PM

I am trying to sync the moneydance file on both computers to HD on my router.

When I go to FILE > Syncing..., the window pops up.

The sync method is set to DON'T SYNC and I can not change it to sync to shared folder. If I restore an old backup, then I can change it. But I have a lot of data entered into the most recent backup.

How can I setup syncing?

  1. 1 Posted by derekkent23 on 04 Oct, 2020 08:19 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

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

    Infintekind designed the Moneydance sync engine to work with cloud servers of which I have tested Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, pCloud and It was never intended for local networks as due to the way Moneydance sync using a large number of small files data corruption can occur.

    In case you aren’t aware the following are some notes I made on how Moneydance syncing works:

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

    Set up syncing
    1. First set up syncing on the computer you have chosen to be the primary computer, FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – SYNCING and follow the on screen instructions.
    2. Wait for the Dropbox icon to read up to date, then for the secondary computer Dropbox icon to do the same.
    3. On all of your secondary computers set up syncing, FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – NEW - OPEN SYNCED FILE and follow the on-screen instructions.


    You can change the syncing method on a primary data set or a Moneydance backup restored from a primary data set.

    With a secondary data set the syncing method is fixed, greyed out and cannot be change. You get the same result after restoring a secondary computer Moneydance backup. Make sure the auto backups for the primary and secondary computers are not set to use the same location if you are say using Dropbox.

    If you have lost your primary computer data set first try to find a backup created from your primary computer and restore from that.

    If you only have a secondary data set try the following:

    Do a EXPORT BACKUP in case something goes wrong.

    To convert a secondary data set to a primary data set you need to run the attached script in Moneydance 2019/2020.
    With your data set open click WINDOW - SHOW MONEYBOT CONSOLE use OPEN SCRIPT to select the script and click RUN. Wait for the script to complete its run, it can take a minute. Close and reopen Moneydance. You should now be able to change the syncing method.

    Hope this helps

  2. 2 Posted by bgpenhollo on 04 Oct, 2020 07:32 PM

    bgpenhollo's Avatar

    Sorry I didn't see your attachment.  Thank you so much. This can be closed.


  3. 3 Posted by derekkent23 on 04 Oct, 2020 07:40 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

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

    Glad I was able to help.

    Have Fun, Stay Safe.

  4. 4 Posted by bgpenhollo on 05 Oct, 2020 01:05 AM

    bgpenhollo's Avatar

    Hope you can help some more.
    I ran the .py on both computers and now both moneydance dataset thinks they are primary.  How can I make one the secondary?

  5. 5 Posted by dwg on 05 Oct, 2020 01:11 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    I'm a fellow user.

    The short answer is you don't,. the setup of secondary systems is completely different.

    Decide which system is to be the primary and set it up as such.

    On the seondary system follow the instructions for the subsequent systems in the Knowledge base article:

    Once setup you can delete the old data from the secondary system as it will not be used.

    It is not possible to pre-populate the data on a secondary system.

  6. 6 Posted by derekkent23 on 05 Oct, 2020 08:32 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

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

    After you run the .py and you now have two primary computers they in fact will still sync with each other without further action.
    Although, I have not seen any bad things happen in this state that observation is only based on a small amount of testing. Probably best to put thing back as they were meant to be as follows.

    Once you have decided which is to be the primary computer you don’t need to make any changes on this computer.

    On the secondary computer click HELP – SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER and close Moneydance. Now delete the data set on the secondary computer and re-open Moneydance. In the welcome window select CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT SET – OPEN SYNCED FILE – and follow the normal secondary set up procedure. Thing should be back to normal on secondary computer syncing, method greyed out.

    If you follow dwg suggestion of deleting the old data set on the secondary computer after setting up syncing on that computer you will notice that a “2” added as a suffix to your data set name. No “2” on primary computer. This does no harm but could be confusing.

    Hope this helps.

  7. Maddy closed this discussion on 09 Oct, 2020 12:41 PM.

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