Moving Moneydance to a new computer

-Kevin N.'s Avatar

-Kevin N.

21 Dec, 2019 09:51 PM

Hi MD Support:

Many users post on these forums looking for instructions on what steps are required to move an existing installation of Moneydance to a new computer.

The KB article should include...

1) The link to the current version of Moneydance as well as the link to prior versions with explicit instructions to install the SAME VERSION of Moneydance that they were using on their old machine onto their new machine. Include a notification that the user can download Moneydance ONLY if they originally purchased Moneydance via the MD website (as opposed to the Apple Store, Amazon or elsewhere)

2) The fact that they can use their existing license key to register the new installation with instructions on how to find the license key from within Moneydance.

3) The steps on how to locate their existing data set. (e.g. Menu bar > Help > Show Documents Folder). Make it clear that they should know and understand this location if they want to install the data in the same location on the new machine. Or... they can locate in elsewhere (e.g. My Documents/Moneydance)

4) Make it clear that the user should NOT attempt to 'Export' ANYTHING. Just 'Copy' the data set file in the same manner that they would copy any other file.

5) There should be some reference to syncing. State whether or not it is necessary to temporarily halt syncing before transferring the data file.

6) What to expect when they first open Moneydance on the new machine and how to use 'Open Other' to navigate to their data set (if necessary)

To my colleagues on these forums, please feel free to add to the list anything that I may have omitted.

-Kevin N.

  1. 1 Posted by dwg on 22 Dec, 2019 05:16 AM

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    Hi Kevin.

    I think you cover most points, the only thing that comes to mind at the moment is for the user to check that the version of Moneydance they are currently using is compatible with the Operating system version on the new machine.

    MD Support: This post highlights the need to have articles that cover Frequently asked questions, this is clearly one of those, but things like resetting sync comes up often enough the have an article as well.

    Instead of having a single KB article that can be referred to for a FAQ what we have are frequent re-posting of instructions.

  2. 2 Posted by dwg on 25 Dec, 2019 11:38 PM

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  3. 3 Posted by -Kevin N. on 28 Dec, 2019 03:07 AM

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  4. 4 Posted by dwg on 30 Dec, 2019 07:48 PM

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  5. 5 Posted by -Kevin N. on 31 Dec, 2019 03:42 PM

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  6. 6 Posted by dwg on 02 Jan, 2020 07:59 PM

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  7. 7 Posted by -Kevin N. on 05 Jan, 2020 03:34 PM

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  8. 8 Posted by -Kevin N. on 09 Jan, 2020 02:10 AM

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  9. 9 Posted by -Kevin N. on 19 Jan, 2020 04:10 PM

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    I'm starting to feel like a red-headed step-child. : (

  10. 10 Posted by dwg on 22 Jan, 2020 09:20 PM

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    and here we have yet another one

    It is long past time for an article like this, or is the expectation that one or more users will/should write one?

  11. 11 Posted by -Kevin N. on 24 Jan, 2020 02:21 PM

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    It's difficult to tell what the expectation is since there's been no response from support in over a month.

  12. Support Staff 12 Posted by Ethan on 25 Jan, 2020 10:24 PM

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    Hi all,

    I apologize that no one on the support team has responded to this thread. I'm honestly not sure why that is.

    I agree that this information would be helpful as a KB page, since it's one of the most common things I answer as well. I've written a draft, which is now live at:

    I put a warning at the top that it's still a draft, but I think it's basically correct. Please feel free to let me know what I missed or how it could be improved!

    Thank you for your persistence, and the support you offer to the MD community.

    Infinite Kind Support

  13. 13 Posted by -Kevin N. on 25 Jan, 2020 11:10 PM

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    Hi Ethan,

    Thank you for your reply and your work on drafting the KB article.

    I think that you've provided a thorough explanation of the steps required.

    I do think that there should be some mention of whether or not syncing should be temporarily halted when performing the transfer. I recently transferred an installation and in my mind I felt I should halt syncing but I'm not sure that it was necessary. I think it would put at ease those folks who sync and are contemplating whether or not to halt syncing.

    If I may offer a suggestion for the draft. I think that breaking the process down into individual Step numbers: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 (as opposed to just paragraphs) would make the process a little more fool-proof.

    There's a typo in the last sentence of the draft...

    send a message to our support team about which version you are currently version,

    The word 'version' just before the comma should be changed to 'using'.

    That's about all I can think of for now.

    Thanks again for getting back in touch. I look forward to seeing the final draft.

    -Kevin N. (not a member of MD support)

  14. 14 Posted by dwg on 26 Jan, 2020 02:52 AM

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    Hi Ethan,

    Thank you for your response.

    On my initial reading three things came to mind.

    1. The need to ensure that the version you are using is compatible with the Operating system version on the new machine. MacOs seems to be particularly sensitive here. While it is mentioned I do not think it is strong enough and could be easily glossed over.

    2. The method outlined requires you to reinstall any extensions you are using and to reset preferences, you may like to consider a process that removes this need.

    3. I do not feel the paper covers migrations when you are in a syncing relationship. While replacing a secondary system should be a piece of cake relatively speaking seeing you do not have to copy the data set, and I think the paper needs expansion for this, replacing the master would require some planning. The method usually advised is to tear it all down and rebuild from scratch. I'm not a fan of such methods in a controlled migration. I think it should be investigated the possibility of setting up the shared drive, Dropbox folder if those methods are used as one of the first stages of the migration.

    With this data in place I believe moving the data set should mean the computer can continue in the same roll without any further intervention.

    Moneydance does not really have a pause function on syncing, so the approach I think to deal with that is that Moneydance should not be running on any machine during the migration, and all syncing should be completed before the migration is started..

  15. 15 Posted by -Kevin N. on 26 Jan, 2020 01:32 PM

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    Hi Ethan,

    To expand a little on forum member dwg's comment # 1. Since there is mention of upgrading to a newer version of Moneydance in the draft, there should be a notation that MD 2019 requires a 64-bit OS.

    In the last paragraph of the draft is the following sentence...

    The only exception would be if your new computer is unable to run a much older version of the program, which happens.

    Here might be a good place to include a second exception regarding the need for a 64-bit OS.

    Where you point out that the user can reuse their current license key.

    You can simply reuse the same license key to register the program. If you don't remember your license key, use the Lost Key tool at:

    There should also be a reference to using your current installation to glean the license key.
    Menu bar > Help > About Moneydance OR Menu bar > Moneydance > About Moneydance.

    The draft, as it stands is already lengthy, I would stress again the need to partition it into separate numbered steps.

    This is going to save us all a lot of typing. : )

    -Kevin N.

  16. 16 Posted by dwg on 26 Jan, 2020 10:39 PM

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    Hi Ethan,

    Some time ago I wrote down what I thought could be the approach for replacing a primary system in a syncing relationship. This has NOT been tested it is merely theoretically based on what I have been able to find out about syncing.

    I wrote it as I would write a general instruction document. Use as you wish.

    Replacing the Primary Computer.

    There are likely to be occasions when you wish to replace the primary system in a syncing relationship. For example you have purchased a new computer and wish to retire the old.

    This procedure assumes you have completely functioning solution, i.e. it is not designed to replace a failed system. It also assumes you have a copy of the Moneydance installation kit for the same version as you are already using, a Moneydance syncing solution should have the same software version, including the build number, on all systems.

    The intention here is to create, on the replacement system, a functioning Moneydance system that has the syncing relationship as it existed with the old system, along with existing extensions, preferences etc all intact.

    As always before you commence your should take a Moneydance backup, even though we will not be altering any data on your existing system, a backup is always a wise precaution. For the purpose of describing the solution I will be assuming that your data is in the default location, you will need to make appropriate allowances if that is not the case.

    Also before starting you should ensure all systems have up-to-date data and that Moneydance is not running on any system. Do not start Moneydance on any system until indicated.

    Moneydance separates the program data from user data and user preferences. User level information is stored under the .moneydance folder that is located in your home directory. This is the data we are interested here. The steps given here also avoid making any assumptions, hence will be mirroring the existing set up.

        1. On the replacement system create a user account with the same name as the user on the existing machine.

        2. You will be using the same syncing mechanism, so if using Dropbox Folder install the dropbox client and select the same location on the replacement system as is on the existing system, if using Shared Folder attach to the shared folder using the same drive letter. Dropbox Connection requires no specific setup.

        3. On the existing system ensure that Moneydance is not running, then copy all folders and data from the .moneydance folder down, I would recommend using some USB connected device as it makes this completely separate from any dropbox or shared data and thus can avoid some potential confusion.

        4. Copy the data from the USB devices onto the new system under the user’s home directory. This creates the .moneydance folder structure. At this stage the Moneydance user data on the two systems should be a mirror of each other in all ways.

        5. Install the Moneydance software onto the new system.

           As said above Moneydance should not be running on the system you are replacing, provided this migration has worked you will not run Moneydance again on this system at least until some changes are made to it.

        6. Start Moneydance on the new system.

        7. At this stage it is necessary to validate Moneydance operation on the new system. The following steps are suggested.

            a) Moneydance should have started by opening your existing data.
            b) Check to make sure your copy is registered.
            c) Check the preferences to see that they have been carried over.
            d) Make sure your custom reports (if any) are present.
            e) Check the transaction registers to make sure data is present and correct.
            f) Check under the File → Syncing menu to ensure that it would be possible to set the data to “Don’t Sync” - this confirms the system as the master.

        8. Provided the system has passed previous tests you should enter some transactions to ensure that data is replicated correctly (Do not start Moneydance on the old master system!)

        9. If all tests are passed it is time to ensure the old master system cannot cause any problems. At a minimum the original data directory tree under .moneydance/documents should be deleted.

  17. 17 Posted by -Kevin N. on 10 Feb, 2020 02:40 PM

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    Hi Ethan,

    I see that you've updated the 'Moving to a new computer' KB article. I think it is far better now with it broken down into separate steps.

    A couple of observations from my initial read-through...

    There seems to be a rouge entry that should be removed.

    Step 5 a. Most new systems will

    At the end of sections 2 b. and 8 b. There should be a reference to the ability to glean the license key from the user's prior installation. (The 'Lost Key' link can sometimes be problematic for those who have forgotten or no longer have access to the email address that they used to originally purchase Moneydance.)

    In section 8 b. There should be a mention that upgrading to MD 2019 & up will now require a 64-bit environment.

    -Kevin N.

  18. Support Staff 18 Posted by Ethan on 10 Feb, 2020 09:47 PM

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    Hi everyone,

    Yes, I made an update, but forgot to let you all know on this thread! Sorry about that.

    I'm glad to hear it is more readable. I know my instructions can often be too verbose.

    I've made those suggested changes about license keys to 2b and 8a. I'm not sure I need to write it again in 8b since it was just said again in the previous point.

    I've had a bit of a back and forth amongst our crew about having a systems requirements page. I've really wanted one for years that charts the changes, especially for Macs, which are the most affected. I think Sean is fine with just having the supported operating systems listed on the individual versions' download pages. I'll sneak that point about 64-bit systems into that last point of this document, but I don't think I can spend time writing a more comprehensive system requirements document.

    On your all's earlier comments regarding syncing issues, yes, that makes this whole situation more complicated. I advised that they turn syncing off during this process, and reenable it when it is done. While it is possible to move data to another computer using syncing in 2017+, the whole master/secondary situation creates a further complication that I'm not sure we really want to have people get into when they are just trying to move to a new computer. If they are already using syncing between systems we can deal with that as needed if it ever becomes an issue. I'm hopeful that syncing issues will become more manageable for users in future releases, but that's out of my department.

    Thanks for your input!

    Infinite Kind Support

  19. 19 Posted by dwg on 10 Feb, 2020 10:18 PM

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    Thanks for the feedback Ethan.

    Yes syncing has complicated the situation and turning it off and then reestablishing may be the simplest approach in many ways.

    This is one of the problems I have with a Knowledge Base approach to documentation. Through necessity they are a short sharp howto type of document rather than being something that can really discuss the situation and provide various options.

    System requirements can be a real bugbear we constantly see this with Mac users as you have noted, not so much with new users but those upgrading their OS.

    As for Linux users I really have no idea what to say to them about system requirements. Some software resorts to saying what kernel version is required as the minimum, there is usually some sort of memory guidance. The Java support matrix on Linux is pretty useless really.

    System requirements is something that could be a KB article on a per version basis. We know the requirements for 2019.3 but if/when there is a 2019.4 there is likely to be changes in the Mac systems supported because of the version of Java used.

    People that are upgrading MD or their OS really need some guidance and finding the minimum version of Moneydance needed for a specific OS is not the easiest thing to find.

  20. 20 Posted by -Kevin N. on 13 Feb, 2020 12:28 AM

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    Hi Ethan,

    I have nothing else to add. I think you can go ahead with the KB article.

    Thank you for taking the time to compile it.

    -Kevin N.

  21. Support Staff 21 Posted by Ethan on 13 Feb, 2020 11:55 PM

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    The rest of the staff thinks it's good to go as well, so I'm removing the draft warning at the top. I realize there are still ways that this could be better (like a more comprehensive addressing of system requirements somewhere), but I think the core of these instructions are complete. Thanks to both of you for your help on this.

    Infinite Kind Support

  22. Ethan closed this discussion on 13 Feb, 2020 11:55 PM.

  23. -Kevin N. re-opened this discussion on 18 Aug, 2020 01:15 PM

  24. 22 Posted by -Kevin N. on 18 Aug, 2020 01:15 PM

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    Hi Ethan,

    Just a quick note with regards to the KB article...

    Step 8 paragraph b. The following sentence should be emended (amended?) in that there is no longer a requirement for a 64-bit OS .

    Note also that using Moneydance 2019 or beyond requires a 64-bit operating system.

    -Kevin N.

  25. Support Staff 23 Posted by Ethan on 22 Aug, 2020 08:12 PM

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    Hi Kevin,

    Good point, I'll remove that. I guess it is possible someone will come across the 2019 version and run into problems installing it, but that will probably be rare, and we'd just redirect them to a newer version.


    Infinite Kind Support

  26. Ethan closed this discussion on 22 Aug, 2020 08:12 PM.

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