Totally screwed up account balances... how to restore from backup?

anndupuis's Avatar


25 Sep, 2022 01:10 PM

Somehow my Moneydance data got totally screwed up, with account balances from the end of 2020 not matching the statement balances. (That year had been fully reconciled when I started on 2021.)

This happened after I'd successfully entered and reconciled 2021 data for all accounts at least through August 2021 (was working on September 2021when this happened.

How do I recover from this?

How does the Moneydance backup work? I was expecting to be able to choose a file from a list of backup files (so I could keep going back until I found a version with correct account balances) ... but I can only find 1 Moneydance backup file, and it supposedly hasn't been opened since last year )(?!?) and I'm not sure how to even open it.



  1. 1 Posted by derekkent23 on 25 Sep, 2022 03:28 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

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

    It’s a good idea to post the version build of Moneydance you are running e.g. 2022.5(4091) along with your computer operating system.
    Assuming your version of Moneydance is resent the number of end day Moneydance backups and there location is set under FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – PREFERENCES – BACKUPS. You restore Moneydance backups using FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – RESTORE FROM BACKUP.

    If you still can’t find a recent Moneydance backup file and you are using at least the last build of Moneydance 2021 or 2022, then install the extension Toolbox from under EXTENSIONS – MANAGE EXTENSIONS and run Toolbox.
    Select FIND MY DATASET(S) AND BACKUPS follow the process to find backups using the dropdowns.

    Hope this helps.

  2. 2 Posted by anndupuis on 25 Sep, 2022 09:11 PM

    anndupuis's Avatar

    Thanks Derek! Very helpful.

    I'm using version 2022 (4091), macOS High Sierra.

    I'm a bit confused by the contents in my Moneydance backup folder. There's a LOT of junk in there (files dating back far too long -- I suck at cleaning up after myself).

    My current file (I think) is named "Moneydance 2020.moneydance

    But its last Date Modified shows May 2021... (see screenshot... there are older versions as well that I didn't include in the screenshot)... There is no moneydance2020 in the actual Moneydance Backup folder.

    So I'm no even sure which file I need to add the .zip file extension to to access backups. (My understanding is that there should be 5 backups in the zip file... is that correct? I'm hoping the oldest has better data....)

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Ethan on 26 Sep, 2022 12:35 AM

    Ethan's Avatar

    Given that the modified dates on all those files are 2021 or older, I suspect the file that you've been editing is not any of them in that folder. Did you try the find my datasets option with the toolbox extension described in the previous post? You can also search your entire computer for all files and folders that end with the .moneydance file extension.

    Infinite Kind Support

  4. 4 Posted by derekkent23 on 26 Sep, 2022 07:34 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

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

    Don’t lets worry about the content of your Moneydance Backup Folder, that can be tidied up after your working files are found.

    In your screen shot there are two types of files/folders, the actual Data Set folder which contains other folders and files, the Data Set folder you run, with the extension .moneydance and the Moneydance Backup file with the extension .moneydancearchive.

    A word on Moneydance Backups, manual and automatic.
    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, or iCloud in case your hard drive fails. The Auto backup location can be found under HELP– SHOW BACKUP FOLDER.
    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
    A moneydancearchive file is a compressed data set.
    The contents of a backup file is 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 – 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.

    Back to your questions.
    A moneydancearchive file is a compressed data set. You don’t need to change the extension to .zip Moneydance recognises the .moneydancearchive extension as a zip file.

    Each moneydancearchive file contains one backup of a Moneydance data set.
    The number of separate Moneydance backup file (.moneydancearchive) depends on the number you have set under FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – PREFERENCES – BACKUPS

    If you still can’t find a recent Moneydance backup file, then install the extension Toolbox from under EXTENSIONS – MANAGE EXTENSIONS and run Toolbox.
    Select FIND MY DATASET(S) AND BACKUPS follow the process to find backups using the dropdowns to set WHAT TYPE OF DATASET to BACKUPS then SELECT THE SEARCH START FOLDER to FROM ROOT C:(NOTHING EXCLUDED….). Not sure wording used on a Mac.

    If you want to restore any of the backups you find to check how current they are then use FILE (MONEYDANCE on Mac) – RESTORE FROM BACKUP it does not any existing Data Sets so following this process you don’t overwrite any Data Sets.

    You can also look for Data sets using the same Toolbox process.

    Hope this helps.

  5. 5 Posted by anndupuis on 26 Sep, 2022 03:35 PM

    anndupuis's Avatar

    I'm /almost/ HAPPY to have this issue, I'm learning SO much about Moneydance that I didn't know before, LOL!.

    Toolbox is installed, and I'm going explore its features a bit before I try anything with it.

    Just scrolling through Toolbox's main screen let me see that the default location for backup files is in my Library (contaiiners / com.infinitekind.moneydanceOSX folder)

    Ethan: Re" searching for .moneydance file extension ... Thank you for that. Part of my problem may be High Sierra and the Finder / Spotlight. I have a 7T external drive with a LOT of files, (including large ones , I work with audio and video data) plus the macmini's internal hard drive. I have to regularly force High Sierra to re-index the drives for search to work properly (i.e. actually show /all/ files matching the search parameters). Many times, if it's a file or folder I access often, it's faster to just navigate to the folder than to have the macOS search for it.

    My system needs an overhaul, but who has time for that? <sigh>

    I'll report back when I've made progress OR encountered another hitch or glitch.

  6. 6 Posted by anndupuis on 26 Sep, 2022 03:39 PM

    anndupuis's Avatar

    Well, that was easy, once I knew where it was. I do indeed have only 5 backups (plus a bunch from earlier years that I probably don't need anymore, except maybe 2020..._

    Yesterday I found the settings feature and bumped that up to save 20) but the 5 that are currently there takes me back to 9/21 which /may/ be good enough. More info soon (I hope).

  7. 7 Posted by anndupuis on 26 Sep, 2022 06:50 PM

    anndupuis's Avatar

    Well.... no joy. all 5 recent backup versions have incorrect account balances.

    In the process of verifying account balances based on the account statements from the banks, I discovered there were double entries of some transactions in one of the checking accounts (which would of course affect other accounts on the flip side of the double-entry bookkeeping... which might explain the discrepancies. (It would certainly /cause/ discrepancies, but whether they're the ONLY cause remains to be seen).

    Is there some nifty tool that can ferret out duplicate transactions (same date and descriptions and amount, etc.... but perhaps not necessarily the same account? I've been wondering if I accidentally loaded a QFX or QIF file into the wrong account....)

  8. 8 Posted by derekkent23 on 26 Sep, 2022 07:14 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

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

    There is an extension that can export all defined transactions to a CSV file which you can manipulate in excel, say highlight the date column and sort by date order so you see all transactions across accounts grouped together. May help.


    Have Fun, Stay Safe.

  9. 9 Posted by anndupuis on 26 Sep, 2022 08:39 PM

    anndupuis's Avatar

    And here's one of those head-scratchers...

    Among the duplicate codes, ONE entry on each side of the transaction is cleared.... but the one cleared on the /other/ side of that transaction is /not/ cleared (and vice versa).

    (Actually, stuff like this happens to me All. The. Time.... I'm a software betatester for my husband's company because I can break any software in really /weird/ ways....)

    Screenshots attached.

    I'm about to experiment (on a copy of my moneydance file) with deleting the duplicate ones and re-entering them manually, see I can get back to accurate account balances that way....)

    Thoughts? Prayers? LOL

  10. 10 Posted by derekkent23 on 26 Sep, 2022 09:20 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

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

    When I clear a transaction in a bank or credit card account the other side is not automatically cleared. This is true if the other side is another account or a category type account. So for example if I clear a payment in my bank account to a credit card only the transaction in the bank account shows as cleared. I can then switch to my credit card register and when I confirm the payment has reached my credit card I can then clear the same transaction in the credit card account.

    Hope this helps

  11. 11 Posted by anndupuis on 29 Sep, 2022 02:48 PM

    anndupuis's Avatar

    An update for anyone following:

    I'm back on track! :-) With a much better understanding of Moneydance's file backup system and the Tools extension installed.

    Thank you, derekkent23 ("just a user" -- I say super-user!) and Infinite Kind support staff (Ethan).

    Take care and be well everyone!


  12. Maddy closed this discussion on 29 Sep, 2022 02:50 PM.

  13. derekkent23 re-opened this discussion on 30 Sep, 2022 07:38 AM

  14. 12 Posted by derekkent23 on 30 Sep, 2022 07:38 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.

    Glad we were able to help and you are back on track.

    Stay Safe, Have Fun.

  15. Maddy closed this discussion on 30 Sep, 2022 10:18 AM.

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