Recovering after computr failure

Mary Brooke's Avatar

Mary Brooke

13 Mar, 2019 09:33 AM

Hi, we are concerned about the time it might take to recover should our main PC fail.
So, we have installed MoneyDance on two of our home computers, with the idea that if the main computer should fail then we will simply switch to the alternative computer.
We intend to extract the Moneydance files from our backup software (HandyBackup) to start the new Moneydance on the alternative PC. Can you see any problems with this approach? I see that Moneydance has a backup feature. Would it be better to start the new Moneydance from these backup files rather than the Handybackup versions, which will just be straight copies of all files?
Any advice you can give on this should be extremely useful to us and others as the time-to-recovery is very important, now that actual backups are relatively easy to perform.
Thank you for your help.

  1. 1 Posted by dwg on 13 Mar, 2019 10:06 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    I'm a fellow user.

    My personal advice is to setup Moneydance to backup on exit and also to use the system level backup to backup all Moneydance data (after Moneydance is closed of course).

    There are differences in the two types of backups, you have only talked about one type of failure, but there are others, everything from fingers on the keyboard through to Data corruption. Data corruption can be caused by events as diverse as inappropriate configurations or even hardware failing.

    Depending on the particular failure scenario you may need to use one or the other backup or even a combination of the two for the best result.

  2. 2 Posted by derekkent23 on 13 Mar, 2019 11:03 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.

    As you have two computers and assuming you are running 2017 or 2019 have you set up syncing as per
    to ensure the data on your two computers are the same?

  3. 3 Posted by rm2426 on 13 Mar, 2019 06:33 PM

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    I’m a fellow user......
    From my prior Mac freezing problems...I would suggest You copy and paste at end of each day, your data file i.e. myname.moneydance, from your default data file directory to an external drive file folder i.e “MD2019-Data Backup”, then edit the name by adding...year-MoDy-time, i.e. ......”MyNameMD2017-2019-0313-2100.moneydance” identify it from other backup files and keep them in date order. If it is a bad file type in “Bad” in file names and do the same for Moneydance Archived data files copied to your External Hard Drive.

    I understand the “Shared”data files in the Dropbox folder is not usable as a Moneydance regular data file, if you have a Computer Crash Freeze-Up or Corrupt Data .So then you need a copy elsewhere on a External Drive Backup MDyear-Backup file folder. I like the years in MD Program name and data file name, so when you upgrade to a new Program-year of Moneydance, your data files match the old Program version, i.e. MD2015 if Case you have to revert to an older MD Program and data file since MD2015Program would not read a MD2019 Data file.
    Good luck, rm2426

  4. 4 Posted by derekkent23 on 13 Mar, 2019 07:26 PM

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    I am not support staff, just a user.

    Another suggestion for making backup is to use the Moneydance backup system.

    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. 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. 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 – 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 Mary Brooke on 13 Mar, 2019 08:51 PM

    Mary Brooke's Avatar

    I should like to thank the people above for their suggestions. We have not yet selected a method(s) for our backup, but when we do we shall document it here as it is very likely a common problem. One basic requirement is that when recovery of a backup is needed then the method should be simple and unambiguous.because usually in such circumstances there are quite a few things to worry about and decoding s sophisticated backup system, which seemed so powerful when you designed it, is not a good idea. Given that we don't have an emergency situation right now, we do have the luxury of experimenting and as we now have Moneydance on three computers I am sure that we shall find a fail-safe system. Will be in touch.

  6. 6 Posted by derekkent23 on 13 Mar, 2019 10:05 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.

    One important point I forgot to mention is if you are using the Moneydance syncing engine to sync between computers 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. It is possible to convert a secondary data set to a primary data set but it means running a python script.

    Hope this helps.

  7. 7 Posted by Mary Brooke on 16 Mar, 2019 03:29 PM

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    Thanks for all the advice above.
    We have made a few trials of recovery from backups on multiple computers, including a transition from a 2015 version to a current version of Moneydance. All functioned perfectly so we are working on the basis that the Moneydance backup system is reliable.
    We have three installations of Moneydance. One of them is the primary system and the others are fallbacks.
    We perform the automatic backups (as initiated by MoneyDance) to a local file on an SSD. This file is part of our daily backup as run by HandyBackup to an external drive. We also use a backup system Genei9 which is very fast as it only backs up files it detects have changed and it does this in real time. rather than at some infrequent interval. So basically we have a hierarchy of available backups, none requiring manual intervention.
    Recovery then is quite simple as we simply connect either of the spare machines to the external drive and import. So we have a simple system with a recovery time of about 20 minutes, with no single point of failure and does not rely on manual intervention for it to work. The only facility which I would have liked would be the ability to schedule a Backup for Export to occur on some automatic schedule rather than on manual intervention.
    All of the above (except for the triplicate Moneydance installation) sits on top of our standard backup and recovery system which has been working for some years and has proven to be reliable.
    Although the synchronisation method would have been possible it would have been an extra complexity which would not be otherwise used and requires a working Internet connection which our basic system does not.
    So, now we are off to play with Moneydance ...thank you all for the suggestions.


  8. 8 Posted by derekkent23 on 16 Mar, 2019 03:40 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.

    Glad I was able to help.

    Have Fun

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