Computer failure

Bob Savage's Avatar

Bob Savage

12 Nov, 2019 12:30 AM

I have moneydance installed on two computers - a laptop and a desktop. There are money dance entries up through August on the laptop. Since then I've been using the desktop, and there were entries on in through today. The desktop stopped working today. I have been syncing through Dropbox, so I thought, no problem. I'll just open Moneydance on the laptop and pick right up where I started. I appears, however, that began using dropbox after I stopped working with the laptop.

I installed Dropbox on the laptop, but it does not seem to find the later version. Hope I haven't wiped out 2 1/2 months on entries. How do I find the newer dataset and connect the laptop to it?


  1. 1 Posted by derekkent23 on 12 Nov, 2019 09:35 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

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

    Your post is a little confusing. In the first paragraph you state “I have been syncing through Dropbox” which suggest you have Dropbox installed on your desktop and laptop and have been syncing between the two devices. But in the next paragraph you state “I installed Dropbox on the laptop” as if you have done this after your desktop failure?

    So, I have made some assumptions. You are running Moneydance 2019 on windows computers and were using the syncing method Dropbox Folder. If this is not the case let me know.

    Do you think you have set up syncing on your desktop for more than one data set?

    In your Dropbox folder there should be a folder ".moneydancesync" containing one or more alphanumeric folders, one for each data set you have synced. To establish which alphanumeric folder belongs to which data set you will find in these folders a file called mdsyncinfo.txt These can be opened in a test editor such as notepad and the first line will list the data set name. In the v3 folder you will see transaction files with the extension “.mdtxn” the dates on these file should give you an indication if the synced data would be up to date.

    On your laptop click FILE –– NEW – OPEN SYNCED FILE and use the same sync method and syncing password as you used when you set up syncing on the desktop.

    If syncing works and you recover a up to date data set it will be for a secondary computer where the syncing method is fixed. If you get that far I can post a process to convert the data set into a primary data set where you can change the syncing method.

    Hope this help

  2. 2 Posted by Bob Savage on 12 Nov, 2019 03:21 PM

    Bob Savage's Avatar


    You guys are just great! And you are correct, my question is confusing.
    It's because I'm a little confused myself between the two computers. I'm a
    retired computer guy. Built the desktop myself several years ago from new
    parts and it's the first of my own self-built computers to go bad. Ouch.
    I'm guessing it's a power supply problem.

    Your second guess above is the correct one. It appears that I installed
    Moneydance on the laptop but quit using it in mid August *before* adding
    dropbox. In installed Dropbox on it last night for the first time. At the
    moment there are four files in Dropbox on the laptop, three dated August 14
    and one from last night.

    However, last night after I calmed down and went to bed, I realized that I
    had designed the SSD drives in the two computers to be interchangeable
    clones. I could move the SSD from the desktop from the desktop to the
    laptop. I would think that the first step after moving it would be to back
    it up before opening anything. Probably should backup this SSD (on the
    laptop) as well before doing anything.

    When I installed Dropbox in this laptop last night I had a lot of hints
    that Dropbox saw me as a new user. Is it possible I now have two Dropbox
    accounts out there?

    Thank you, thank you!

    Bob Savage

  3. 3 Posted by derekkent23 on 12 Nov, 2019 05:02 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

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

    On your laptop if you can see the “.moneydancesync” folder in the Dropbox folder and this folder contains four alphanumeric folders I cant see how it would be a new Dropbox account.

    I presume you determined which alphanumeric folders was the up to date sync folder by following the process I outlined in my last post?

    The next step is up to you, see what data you recover using the method I outlined click FILE –– NEW – OPEN SYNCED FILE etc and if that works I can post the conversion from secondary to primary data set procedure or you can fix/replace your power supply or recover your data from your desktop hard drive.

    Let me know which way you go.

    Hope this helps.

  4. 4 Posted by Bob Savage on 13 Nov, 2019 12:22 AM

    Bob Savage's Avatar

    The disk swap was successful! All is well, back in business, no data lost.

    Also, I can see now that I didn't go far enough opening folders. I found,
    in one of the four folders, the .txt file you mentioned, and it does have
    really useful information. I just didn't go deep enough to find it. Armed
    with that I think it's possible I might could have avoided the disk swap.
    Also, backups. Backups, backups, backups. I backed up both of these hard
    drives today, as well as the Moneydance local folders - several times! It's
    so easy I'll put in on my calendar to do weekly.

    I'm very grateful to you. The good help you and other users provide make me
    sure that the switch from Microsoft Money to Moneydance was an excellent

    Thanks again!

    Bob Savage

  5. 5 Posted by sprimost on 13 Nov, 2019 12:50 AM

    sprimost's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user

    Careful how you do backups. As pointed out in numerous previous posts,
    you can do anyone of three, depending on understanding what they do.

    (1) The system automatically (should) retain the most recent transaction
    within a few seconds of you entering the transaction. That is your main
    "database" that you work with on a daily basis, and the one you most
    recently recovered.

    (2) Doing File-> Export Backup does a single file copy (archive) of your
    main file. This is the data-set that all will reference to do whenever
    you try something new, such as updating the software or adding an
    extension. You can always do a File--> Restore from Backup. It is a
    point in time, but very reliable. Best to keep at least 3 versions, and
    periodically test the backup by restore. You do want to know that it is
    reliable, right?

    (3) some people also use backup software that copies the data base in
    place. Tes, it does work, but it has some issues, such as retaining
    settings that you might not want to really save, and could just
    replicate problems that you have with the main "database".

    Make sure that each of these are on different devices, disks or "cloud"
    (if here, a password to the file is really necessary.

    Just some observations.


  6. 6 Posted by derekkent23 on 13 Nov, 2019 08:42 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.

    Just some more information on Moneydance's in build backups.

    Moneydance 2019 has two methods for making a backup.

    The backup location can be found under HELP (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – SHOW BACKUP FOLDER. In both cases you can select the backup location and as such it is good practice to set the location on a cloud server such as Dropbox, in case your computer/hard drive fails.

    Manual backup. A manual backup can be made under FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – BACKUP EXPORT. The file naming convention is yourdatasetname-yyyymmdd-tttt.moneydancearchive

    Automatic backup is set under FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – PREFERENCES – BACKUPS. Auto backup makes a backup every time you close Moneydance. Moneydance only keep the last auto backup of the day, overwriting any previous auto backups for that day. You can set the number of backups to be kept. When this number is exceeded the oldest backup is deleted. The file naming convention is yourdatasetname.yyyy-mm-dd.moneydancearchive

    When a backup is made, if you were syncing, the syncing method is set to don’t sync. This prevent syncing if you restore a backup. This can be important if the need for restoring a backup was related to syncing. Other backup methods such as making a copy of your data set want do this and can mean a restored data set will sync and your data set will be corrupted again.

    If you are syncing and using say Dropbox as a backup location don’t set your computers to use the exact same backup location. When you sync you have a primary computer and secondary computers. A primary data set is not the same as a secondary data set and hence neither are there backups. But as they use the same data set name it possible to get confused, one overwriting the other. A secondary data set can be identified by the fact that the syncing method cannot be changed. It is possible to convert a secondary data set to a primary data set but it means running a python script. Your password is not reset, you still need it to open a backup.

    A moneydancearchive file is a compressed data set.

    The contents of a backup file is AES256 encrypted and provided you have set a password under FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – PASSWORDS can only be opened by Moneydance by entering your password after using FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – RESTORE FROM BACKUP.

    When you FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – RESTORE FROM BACKUP you do not overwrite your existing data set. This is in case you later find you need access to your old data set A new data set is created with the naming convention – from manual backup yourdatasetname-yyyymmdd-tttt.moneydance the date time code taken from the backup file - from auto backup yourdatasetname (plus at number) e.g. yourdatasetname 2.moneydance The default data set location can be found under HELP (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER. You can delete old data sets you no longer want. You can rename a restored data set with Moneydance closed as you would any other folder provided you retain “.moneydance” extension. A data set is a folder not a file containing other folders and files. When you open Moneydance it will open in the “Welcome to Moneydance” window with the data set name listed on the right.

    Hope this helps.

  7. 7 Posted by Bob Savage on 13 Nov, 2019 02:52 PM

    Bob Savage's Avatar

    Thank you sprimost! These are very good observations. The backup you
    describe in 2) is the one I'll use. It just makes sense to use the feature
    provided in the software. What I did yesterday now seems like a brute
    force solution, and a not particularly good idea!

    Bob Savage

  8. 8 Posted by sprimost on 14 Nov, 2019 03:45 PM

    sprimost's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.

    Your welcome...enjoy

    Just another note, thanks to derrickkent 23: when you exit MD, the
    software will create an archive copy also. It does not help if the
    sustem cfashes before you can exit, but nice to know it is there as an


  9. System closed this discussion on 13 Feb, 2020 03:50 PM.

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