Can I keep MoneyDance data file in Apple iCloud if intend to sync?

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10 Nov, 2018 11:58 PM

I want to be able to sync my MacBook with my iMac and possibly my iPhone.

Can I keep the .moneydance data file in my document folder in the iCloud OR do I need to specifically keep it on the local hard drive of my primary computer?

I understand that you can't keep the file in DropBox any longer but wondering if iCloud was OK. I want to make sure I have it in the correct location before I set up the sync options.

Also, which option is best for syncing across multiple Mac devices? Dropbox connection or Dropbox Folder or Shared Folder?

Many Thanks, Diane

  1. 1 Posted by dwg on 11 Nov, 2018 02:57 AM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    Do not put the data files on iCloud.

    Each machine maintains a local copy of the data set with new transactions and changes being passed between the machines so that each machine updates its own local copy.

    If you ever intend using a mobile device, like an iPhone you will need to use Dropbox in one of its supported forms, this is because the mobile device is using the Dropbox API.

    The full systems (desktops/laptops) are more flexible but if you consider that you would or may like to use Moneydance while you are offline on the device then Dropbox Folder is the choice to make.

    Shared folder is for LAN usage and some specific non-standard dropbox configurations, it is probably the least used option.

  2. 2 Posted by derekkent23 on 11 Nov, 2018 08:40 AM

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    I am not support staff, just a user.

    Just to add you should use Dropbox for manual FILE EXPORT BACKUP and automatic backup, auto backup set under FILE - PREFERENCES - BACKUPS in case your hard drive fails.

    Hope this helps.

  3. 3 Posted by newss on 13 Nov, 2018 04:32 AM

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    Thanks so much for your help, dwg. Your explanation helped. I used dropbox folder as the sync option. I haven't set up my iPhone yet but it is up and running and syncing on my MacBook.

     derekkent23, I have a hard drive and cloud back up service and time capsule back up so I'm pretty covered for backups. :-) Thanks, anyway.

  4. 4 Posted by derekkent23 on 13 Nov, 2018 09:09 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

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

    Make absolutely sure your data set is being backup. I have read of a number of Mac user who have found that when disaster has struck that time capsule has not backup up their data set. This also applies to some cloud backup services. First check your data set is really being backup. Also check to see it can be restored and how old the data is.
    If you are syncing there is an even more important factor to take into account. Moneydance backups not only backup your data set but also turn off syncing. This is important if the reason you want to use a backup to overcome a corruption created during syncing. Using a backup that has not had syncing turned off during its creation will simply sync when opened and corrupt your data set.
    This is how Moneydance backup works. It has a lot of advantages over just backing up your data set.
    Moneydance has two methods for making a backup.
    The default backup location can be found under HELP – SHOW ARCHIVE FOLDER. This location is on your hard drive. 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 hard drive fails.
    Manual backup. A manual backup can be made under FILE – BACKUP EXPORT. The file naming convention is yourdatasetname-yyyymmdd-tttt.moneydancearchive
    Automatic backup is set under FILE – 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. Your password is not reset, you still need it to do a restore from 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 – PASSWORDS can only be opened by Moneydance by entering your password after using FILE – RESTORE FROM BACKUP.
    When you FILE – RESTORE FROM BACKUP you do not overwrite your existing 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 – SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER. 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.

  5. 5 Posted by sprimost on 13 Nov, 2018 03:50 PM

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    I am not support staff, just a user.

    I would definitely recommend File-> Export Backup as the most reliable
    method for backing up your data. There have been occasions (not many,
    but you only need one!) where the dataset for MD gets corrupted or
    moving to a new version "finds" some error. I do this on a daily basis,
    so that I only lose a day's work. It is also helpful when I move to one
    of my backup computers (like taking a trip).


  6. 6 Posted by dwg on 13 Nov, 2018 08:00 PM

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    In practical terms there are two levels of backup.

    The first is at the system level, generally using some software and it backs up to some external location. This is a good backup for general failures e.g. hard disk failure, specifically for moneydance it may not always be good choice for recovering from corruption type problems - due the the way Moneydance replicates data.

    The moneydance backups strip out a lot of the replication information thus making it into a standalone system when restored, this is good for dealing with corruption type problems. The Moneydance backup needs to be able to be used to recover form any type of problem so the restore is to the most basic level.

    The best type of approach in my view is to use the automatic backup when exiting option in moneydance to produce a "moneydance" backup, Then using the system level backup to backup both these files and the moneydance data tree. This should put your data externally to your system and allow for recover from any type of problem. You have the data to recover from hardware failures, software problems or simply someone deleting a file they should not have. All basis are covered.

  7. 7 Posted by newss on 18 Nov, 2018 09:25 PM

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    Thanks again everyone for your input.

    DWG...the way you suggested is how I have my backups set up. I have the automatic backups in my archive folder and I have time machine backups and CrashPlan backups of both the data file and backup folders. I recently used Time Machine to recover the data file and it was pretty easy and successful.

    I think derekkent23 was explaining backing up now that I'm syncing but I don't think I quite understand it fully. I believe he said that syncing is turned off when backing up. Do I need to manually turn sync back on everytime I open Moneydance after I close it? Or did you mean I had to manually turn syncing off, manually backup, and manually turn sync back on when I open Moneydance? That seems cumbersome.

    Also, now I'm syncing, Do I need to change any settings on either computer.

    And, I assume if there is a corruption, you would use the last data file you were working on to restore from. For example, if I finish working on my MacBook today and then open Moneydance on my iMac tomorrow only to find it corrupted, I would need to restore from my MacBook, being the last file that had data added. Correct?

    I was pretty comfortable the way I had my backups prior to syncing so I want to make sure I have it set up properly. Should I ensure that I have my dropbox folders/files backed up as well?

    Thanks again.

  8. 8 Posted by derekkent23 on 18 Nov, 2018 11:14 PM

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    I am not support staff, just a user.

    If you are syncing with Moneydance and you backup manually, FILE – EXPORT BACKUP or Moneydance does an automatic backup the process Moneydance uses automatically set FILE – SYNCING to DON’T SYNC. Thus, if you have to use FILE -RESTORE FROM BACKUP syncing is not restarted automatically as otherwise would be the case. If the backup process does not set don’t sync any corrupted data held in the syncing data folder in Dropbox would be synced back into the data set, re-corrupting your data set. Other forms of backup want include this protective measure.
    If you restore from backup the data set name is changed as I described in my post above. To restart syncing you have to set the syncing process up again from the beginning. If you want to use the same data set name as you were using before you need to delete the data sets held in the primary and secondary computers as well as the “.moneydancesync” folder in Dropbox, Renaming the restored data set to your original data set name before setting up syncing.

    If you close and then re-open Moneydance the syncing method you set remains active, no need to do anything.

    You can’t change the syncing method of a secondary computer, its greyed out. So, if you are trying to restore a backup of a secondary computer, however the backup is made, you will find you can’t initiate syncing from that data set. There is a process in an emergency that can be followed to convert a secondary to a primary data set involving a python script.

    No need to backup the Dropbox “.moneydancesync” folder.

    Hope this helps.

  9. 9 Posted by newss on 18 Nov, 2018 11:49 PM

    newss's Avatar it.
    So there's no need to do a manual back up via FILE>EXPORT BACKUP because The Auto Back up does exactly the same process.
    Thanks for taking your time to explain this to me!! I understand the sync process much better now,

  10. 10 Posted by derekkent23 on 19 Nov, 2018 09:16 AM

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    I am not support staff, just a user.

    I use FILE - EXPORT BACKUP when I am about to do something complex or use a feature that if it goes wrong could have a major impact e.g Batch Change. Auto backup would not help as the event would be in the backup. You cant step back to a previous session in the same day. You would need to go back to the backup from the day before.

    Hope this helps.

  11. 11 Posted by sprimost on 19 Nov, 2018 11:33 PM

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    I am not a support staff, just a user.

    I would like to add some caveats to this, since I have had experience
    with Moneydance and backups, some good and some not-so good (ouch).

    /beginning of rant

    Not more than a year ago, the "database" that is Moneydance somehow got
    corrupted (I am a LINUX user but that does not make me immune to file
    system failures. I had, consistently, used the "ctl-S" sequence to save
    my data on a daily basis. [I wished that IK would give a menu item for
    this, rather than insisting that one exists out of the program to
    accomplish the same thing. But one day (usually Friday evening after the
    last stock check), I exited out, only to find that Monday morning,
    everything was corrupted. Panic set in, and checking back on the data
    found that I had lost almost a week! Slowly, I reconstructed the past
    weeks worth of transactions and stock quotes.

    Lesson 1. I have to balance convenience of having the data readily
    available against the loooooong time to start the program up, login into
    the credit card online accounts, and for the reconciliation to generate
    the summary page.
    Lesson 2. Never depend on a single method of backing up your data!. Yes,
    the save does backup to a shadow file with the number of copies
    configured in Settings, but it is still similar to the "database" in
    many ways. The exported backup file has never failed me (there is a good
    reason why we all say....backup your files prior to a version upgrade.
    Lesson 3. Put your backup on a disk (or other media) different from
    where the "database" is. And, periodically, test the backup. "The life
    you save, may be your own!"

    /end of rant


  12. 12 Posted by newss on 20 Nov, 2018 12:26 AM

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    Sprimost: thanks for sharing your experiences and advice.

  13. System closed this discussion on 19 Feb, 2019 12:30 AM.

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