Moving to a new computer

This page provides instructions on moving Moneydance from your current computer to a new one. Note that these instructions are intended for completely moving from one computer to another, as in, you will no longer use Moneydance on your older computer. If you want to use Moneydance on two or more computers, and have those computers sync their data, please see these instructions for setting up desktop-to-desktop syncing, instead of following these instructions.

Many operating systems now come with a transfer mechanism to move between computers. For example, Apple's "Migration Assistant" app can usually copy the program, your data, and preferences between computers successfully. If you do not have or would prefer not to use such a system (or if for some reason it is unsuccessful), you can follow the detailed instructions below.

You should think of this process as similar to moving your word processing program and documents to a new computer. First you'll want to install a compatible version of the program itself on your new computer. Then you'll want to bring over your data files, place them where you want to store them, and open them in the program.

Note that the below process is completely independent of which operating system you are using. Even if you are changing between operating systems (like moving from Windows to a Mac), these instructions are the same.

  1. Determine which version of Moneydance you are using. Go to Help -> Console Window from the Moneydance menubar, and look at the first line of the output.

  2. In general, you should install the same version of Moneydance you are using on your new system, even if you are planning to upgrade to a newer version. Do not try to copy the program itself from your old to new computer. This usually leads to problems. Instead, redownload the installation file on your new computer.

    a. If you purchased Moneydance from the Mac App Store, you should only download the program from that source. The billing and licensing systems for purchases made from Apple are completely separate from our own.

    b. If you purchased Moneydance directly from us (you should have an email receipt from BMT Micro or Fastspring if that is the case), download the version of Moneydance you are running onto your new computer. The latest version (2019 at the time of the writing of this article) can be found at: Older versions can be found at: Don't worry about getting the exact build number (the number in parentheses), just get the same year as the version you are currently using. Our licensing policy allows you to install the same version that you purchased on as many systems as you need to in your household. You can simply reuse the same license key to register the program. If you don't remember your license key, go to Help -> About Moneydance (or Moneydance -> About Moneydance on a Mac) from the Moneydance menu bar on your older computer, or you can use the Lost Key tool at:

  3. After downloading the correct version from the correct source, double click on the installation file to install Moneydance.

  4. Open up Moneydance on your current computer, and open the data file you wish to move. Go to File -> Syncing from the menubar, and disable syncing. Quit Moneydance.

  5. Next, find your data file on your old computer, copy it over to your new computer, and place it where you want to store it.

    a. If you're not sure where your data file is located, it is likely in the default save location. You can quickly access this location by going to Help -> Show Documents Folder from the Moneydance menubar, which will open this folder. Your Moneydance data file should be called something like "yourfilename.moneydance" if you are using the 2012 version or later. (On some operating systems, this may appear as a folder rather than a single file. If so, simply copy over the entire yourfilename.moneydance folder as if it were just one file.) If you were storing your data in the default save location, we recommend you copy it back to that same place on your new computer. You can also decide to store it wherever you want. However, we strongly recommend you choose a location where you put your other important documents that you won't regularly delete. Placing your data file in your downloads folder or on your desktop often seems to lead people to delete their data file by mistake when 'cleaning up' these folders! Repeat this process for any additional data files you want to bring over.

    b. To emphasize: do not use any of the File -> Export options from the Moneydance menubar in this process. You want to copy your data file itself in the same way you would copy any other file from one computer to another: using a USB disk, emailing it to yourself, etc.

  6. On your new computer, you should now have the program installed and your data files brought over. Now run the Moneydance program itself. The Welcome window should appear. If you placed your data files in the default save location, your data file(s) should likely be listed in the right side of this window, and you can click on the one you want to open.

    a. If your data files are not listed there, or if you placed your data files in a custom location, use the Open Other option at the bottom left of this window to show Moneydance where you have placed your yourfilename.moneydance data file. You should only have to use the Open Other option once for each data file. In the future, Moneydance will remember where you have placed this file. (This is why you want to place your data file where you want to store it before telling Moneydance where it is. If you move it again, you will have to show Moneydance where you moved it to using Open Other again.) By default, Moneydance will open the last file you were using. At that point, you can also access any other data file through the File -> Open option in the Moneydance menubar, or from the Welcome window.

  7. If you had syncing set up on your previous system, or want to set it up for the first time, follow the instructions at:

  8. If you purchased Moneydance directly from us, remember to reregister it. (You don't need to register it before completing this data transfer.)

    a. Remember you can use your same license key to register the same version you were using on your old computer. The program will appear to be in trial mode until you copy and paste your license key into the field at Help -> Register. You can do this entire transfer process before registering the program. If you don't remember your license key, go to Help -> About Moneydance (or Moneydance -> About Moneydance on a Mac) from the Moneydance menu bar on your older computer, or you can use the Lost Key tool at:

    b. If you wanted to upgrade to a newer version of Moneydance, first make sure you are eligible for a free upgrade, or if you will need to purchase an upgrade license key. We still recommend that you move your data over to the new computer by first installing the same version you are using on your old computer. Then, if everything looks like it came over ok, go ahead with the upgrade. By doing this in stages, this will greatly reduce the number of variables of things that could go wrong in this process. The only exception would be if your new computer is unable to run a much older version of the program, which happens. If this seems complicated, send a message to our support team about which version you are currently running, the operating systems of both computers, and we can offer suggestions.

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