Has there been a change in Primary and Secondary behaviour?

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boreham

07 Jun, 2024 08:50 AM

I recently set up four Macs all syncing MD and it is working well. I used Apple Migration Assistant for three of them, and noticed that the migrated install took on the same Primary/Secondary setting as the install it was being migrated from. So I ended up with two Primary and two Secondary.

What surprised me was that I have previously understood it is not possible to change the Sync settings on a Secondary machine, but that does not seem to be the case with these four. All of them allow Sync settings to be changed.

Because I understand there should only be one Primary I have demoted one of the Primaries using Toolbox so now have one Primary and three Secondary.

Thanks

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Maddy on 07 Jun, 2024 09:02 AM

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    Hi,
    Thank you for contacting Moneydance support.

    If I understand correctly, you have actually moved your data file to three different computers, doing so would have made that file 'primary' on each of them.

    When you are syncing a data file, this should only ever reside in the default location on the primary computer.

    All you should be doing on the 'secondary' machines is navigating to File->New->Open synced file without having to move the file, otherwise the purpose of syncing would be defeated.

    I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have further questions or need more assistance.

    --
    Maddy, Infinite Kind Support

  2. 2 Posted by boreham on 07 Jun, 2024 09:33 AM

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    Thanks Maddy,

    Yes all the data files are in the default location as Migration Assistant has copied the them to the default location on the three new computers.

    Also yes, I could have deleted these migrated data files and done File > New > Open Synced file to set up from scratch, but what I did has worked without doing that. I did turn off syncing on all and delete the .moneydancesync folder, then turn syncing on progressivey starting with the original Primary machine. They have all sync'd OK.

    My main surprise was finding that the File > Syncing options are not greyed out on the Secondary machines as they have been in the past.

    PS the three added machines were not all migrated from the original Primary. One was and that was Primary after migration, until I demoted it to Secondary with Toolbox. The other two were migrated from a different, secondary machine and after migration were secondary. All three of the currently secondary machines can change the File > Syncing options.

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Maddy on 07 Jun, 2024 09:47 AM

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    When sync is set up correctly, you should not be able to change the sync method from the secondary machine.

    --
    Maddy, Infinite Kind Support

  4. 4 Posted by boreham on 07 Jun, 2024 10:21 AM

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    Thanks, so you would advise that Moneydance is not compatible with Migration Assistant, and if doing a migration the correct course of action is to delete all the Data files from the new mac, and set up from scratch using the File > New > Open syn’d file option?
    I am reluctant to do this when, after resetting sync as I did, everything is working perfectly, except that I seem to be able to change the sync settings which I have no need to do!
    With three sets of accounts, deleting everything and setting up from new on three machines would take some time, but if you have serious concerns about my situation I would do it.

  5. Support Staff 5 Posted by Maddy on 07 Jun, 2024 10:46 AM

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    I believe there was a misunderstanding in regard to the purpose of using Migration Assistant. I thought it might be useful referring you to this article of the Knowledge Base called 'Moving to a new computer' that describes it in detail. This is an approach one can take to 'Move' a data file from a computer to another, when they want to dismiss an old computer for instance.

    When you are syncing a data file between two or more computers, moving your data file to the other computers is not necessary.

    For further information about "Syncing with Other Computers" please see here.


    Lastly, in order to set up sync correctly, you should follow this steps:

    • From each computer in turn: Launch Moneydance and navigate to File->Syncing Choose Don't Sync and close Moneydance. Repeat on all the computers involved in the process and allow a moment for the change to be implemented before restarting Moneydance.

    Then from the Primary computer, you should navigate to File–> Syncing->Dropbox Connection

    Sync by connecting to your Dropbox account. Moneydance will communicate with the Dropbox service if you authorise it to access your files.
    You will be redirected to the Dropbox website where you'll be given an authorisation code that you should enter into Moneydance.

    Please note:

    With "Dropbox Connection" Moneydance uses the Dropbox API to talk to the Dropbox service directly. So, although you don't need to have Dropbox actually installed on your computer, you do need to be online when Moneydance is running in order for changes to be synced.

    On any secondary computer, you should simply navigate to File –> New– >Open Synced File choose the same sync method (Dropbox Connection) and enter the same passphrase as the primary computer.

    Please keep us posted on your progress, Thank you!

    --
    Maddy, Infinite Kind Support

  6. 6 Posted by boreham on 07 Jun, 2024 10:56 AM

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    OK thanks again. Apple Migration Assistant is a tool for moving all data, apps and settings to another computer. In my case I am continuing to use the source and destination computers.

    So I think you are basically saying that what I did is OK. I did turn off sync on all machines. Deleted the .moneydancesync folder from Dropbox. Turned on Sync > Dropbox Folder on the primary machine which put a new .moneydancesync folder on Dropbox. Then turned sync in (also Dropbox Folder) on the three secondary machines in turn. Tested by adding test transaction on each machine and seeing them appear on the others.

    But I am still in the situation where I am able to change the sync setting on the secondary machines!

  7. 7 Posted by boreham on 08 Jun, 2024 10:21 PM

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    I have just seen this discussion has been marked private which ws not my intention. Hopefully I have just made it public.

  8. 8 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 08 Jun, 2024 10:27 PM

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    👍

  9. 9 Posted by boreham on 08 Jun, 2024 10:29 PM

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    Stuart, do you have any ideas why/how I have ended up in a situation where my secondary machines can change the sync settings?

  10. 10 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 08 Jun, 2024 10:50 PM

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    Are you sure they are secondaries? What does toolbox say? Can you confirm it says they are secondary?

  11. 11 Posted by boreham on 08 Jun, 2024 10:58 PM

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    Yes I used Toolbox….I dont know any other way!

  12. 12 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 08 Jun, 2024 11:08 PM

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    Can you use toolbox. Click the curious button. View all sync settings. Redact anything confidential. Upload those settings here.

  13. 13 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 09 Jun, 2024 12:09 AM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    I just tested, it was last locked down as of Moneydance 2021.2 (3095).. After that, secondary sync not locked.. I have pinged/asked the developer the question as to why etc....

  14. 14 Posted by boreham on 09 Jun, 2024 06:33 AM

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    Thanks very much Stuart, I just had a look at Toolbox > Curious and the top line says that when unredacted it “Contains Confidential Information” and I can see my sync password and list of accounts, so doesn’t seem a good idea to post here.

    In any case, your second post seems to confirm what I am seeing…that secondary sync is no longer locked so maybe there is no need for me to upload.

    Inability to change sync on secondaries was the only distinguishing feature of secondaries that I was aware of…are there others?

    Thanks again.

  15. 15 Posted by dwg on 09 Jun, 2024 08:32 AM

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    I cannot think of any operational differences, the differences I can think of all relate to the syncing set up.

  16. 16 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 09 Jun, 2024 09:22 AM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    You are right not to post your password etc, it was the other things I was interested in.

    Anyway, no need to send now.

    I don’t believe there have been any functional changes.

  17. 17 Posted by boreham on 09 Jun, 2024 01:36 PM

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    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox) wrote;
    "I just tested, it was last locked down as of Moneydance 2021.2 (3095).. After that, secondary sync not locked.. I have pinged/asked the developer the question as to why etc..."

    Thanks both. Look forward to Sean's response. It sounds like Primary and Secondary are the same now.

  18. 18 Posted by Homer712 on 10 Jun, 2024 02:15 PM

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    Maddy, is there a "Knowledge Base" article that explains this "Primary/Secondary" subject. Not having any issues, just looking to better understand the various Moneydance settings.

  19. 19 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 10 Jun, 2024 03:14 PM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    Sean has confirmed it was a deliberate change.

  20. 20 Posted by boreham on 10 Jun, 2024 03:54 PM

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    Thanks Stuart. That begs the question what is the difference now between Primary and Secondary?

  21. 21 Posted by tonyt on 10 Jun, 2024 04:00 PM

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    Yes plrase! Keen to know as just about to set up sync for the first time.
    Thks...

  22. 22 Posted by boreham on 10 Jun, 2024 04:30 PM

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    @tonyt while we wait for the experts, I am pretty sure the answer will be that it has no effect on setting up syncing. It did not affect the setting up process before this change, made three years ago, and the difference between primary and secondary was invisible in normal use. It only ever got mentioned when people found they could not change the sync settings because they were on a secondary.

  23. 23 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 10 Jun, 2024 05:29 PM

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    I think the ‘official’ answer is that there is not a lot of difference between primary and secondary. I was told once there some technical difference for some scenarios, but I’ve never found one. Just stick with the official line. One primary, the rest secondary.

  24. 24 Posted by Homer712 on 10 Jun, 2024 07:56 PM

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    Brings me back to the question I posted above to Maddy, is there some document "Knowledge Base" article that explains primary/secondary for those of us that are just simply curious?

    I have Moneydance (2023.3) running on two Mac systems with sync via Dropbox. Never so much as a hiccup, so I'll stick with just curious.

  25. 25 Posted by dwg on 10 Jun, 2024 10:05 PM

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    The only KB articles are on setting up sync. If you read those you can see the difference Primary and Secondary have on the setup process.That is the primary difference, the other notable one that historically you could only disable syncing on the "Primary" machine, which by definition is the system that syncing was first set up on.

  26. Support Staff 26 Posted by Maddy on 11 Jun, 2024 08:57 AM

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    By 'Primary' machine is intended the computer where your data file is stored, ideally in the default location and where you set up sync.

    As I mentioned at the beginning of this thread it is not necessary moving your data file to another computer when the purpose it that to sync a data file between devices.

    The recommended approach is to store your data file only on the primary machine.

    The differences now are:

    • one can change sync methods from all the computers involved in the process.

    • the "auto-commit reminders" setting defaults to 'ON' only on the primary computer.

    I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have further questions or need more assistance.

    --
    Maddy, Infinite Kind Support

  27. 27 Posted by boreham on 11 Jun, 2024 09:07 AM

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    Thanks Maddie.

    I am very surprised at the statement “The recommended approach is to store your data file only on the primary machine.”

    I have been using Moneydance on two machines for years and have always had full size data files on both machines, sync’d via the .moneydance folder on Dropbox.

    I can see the data files and sizes from Help > Show Documents Folder.

    I was interested to see the difference about auto commit of Reminders between Primary and Secondary. I stopped using auto commit years ago because I was getting duplicates, so I guess it is safe to do so now.

  28. 28 Posted by derekkent23 on 11 Jun, 2024 10:10 AM

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

    My take on Maddy’s comments is that the Primary Data Set is stored on the Primary Computer’s hard drive preferably in the default location. On Secondary computers you don’t manually copy the primary Data Set to the Secondary computer’s hard drive default location. On your Secondary computers when you set up syncing on them by selecting FILE – NEW – OPEN SYNCED FILE the Moneydance sync engine created a Data Set on the Secondary computers hard drive default location base on files automatically passed to it from the Primary computer via a folder in the .moneydancesync folder in the selected cloud drive. Data being passed back and forwarded usings small transaction file via the .moneydancesync folder to keep both Primary and Secondary Data Sets in sync.

    Hope this helps

  29. 29 Posted by boreham on 11 Jun, 2024 10:36 AM

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    Thanks for confirming. That is how I originally setup the secondary computer and it puts a full size data file in the default location on the secondary computer. I see that Maddy's comment that surprised me was referring to how to set up syncing, ie only necessary to start with Data file in the Primary.

    As I said at the start of this thread I have more recently used Apples Migration Assistant to set up a secondary computer which also puts the full size data file in the default location. I reset syncing by "Dont Sync" > delete .moneydance folder > Turn on Dropbox Folder on Primary > Turn on Dropbox Folder on Secondary.

    Same end result as File > New Open syncd file.

  30. 30 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 11 Jun, 2024 10:43 AM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    To set up a secondary sync machine (when the primary is working); you should only use file/new/open sync’d copy.

    (NOT use migration assistant or manually copying files and then tinkering with sync. If you do it manually this way, then the new secondary will dump a new full size trunk file into the sync folder and that will replicate and most likely replace the main primary dataset’s trunk file. So, don’t do it this way. Do it the file/new/open sync copy way)

    —-

    FYI. Once you have a sync’d secondary machine working then that will also have a full size copy / duplicate of the dataset in its own default location. In essence, if both sides are in sync then either can be used as an emergency backup copy.

    NOTE: some older sync relationships have damaged / partial sync datasets on secondary, so ideally secondaries need to be rebuilt/refreshed occasionally.

    —-

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