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seanfrisbey's Avatar


27 May, 2021 09:17 PM

Hey there! I have a feature suggestion that honestly will probably have zero priority, but I thought I'd throw it out there as I personally think it would be very helpful.

I heavily rely on transaction reminders. For recurring transactions, I have full year committed in advance, and for payments with a defined end date, I have their payments committed until they are done. This greatly allows me to foresee my finances into the near and far future (less so in the far, as there are variable transactions like groceries, but it's still helpful).

There have been many times where I'd like to be able to close MD, backing up my data at that moment, then come back into MD, make several hypothetical changes to see how my finances would turn out, and if they don't turn out well, I'd like to just close MD and NOT save the changes anywhere.

  1. 1 Posted by dwg on 27 May, 2021 09:43 PM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    Back in the middle ages (well on the Moneydance time line at least) Moneydance did not automatically save data so you could exit without saving. Great at times, not so great if you had been working for some time then suffered something like a crash or power failure, all the work gone. It was a question of protecting data vs some level of convenience. Protecting data won with the result that we have automatic saves around every 20 seconds.

  2. 2 Posted by seanfrisbey on 27 May, 2021 10:38 PM

    seanfrisbey's Avatar

    Totally agree. I think I forgot to clarify that I'd like the non-default option to close without having. I definitely want the regular old close to do it, and having it difficult to choose would be even better.

  3. 3 Posted by tgilbert666 on 27 May, 2021 11:57 PM

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    At risk of stating the bleedin' obvious, this functionality exists - as I imagine you know - in a slightly more complex methodology*.

    1. Export backup (or just rely on the auto-backup if you care to)
    2. Make the changes
    3. If you don't want to keep them then restore from backup
    4. Suitably rename the restored dataset.

    So, instead of your proposed :

    I'd like to just close MD and NOT save the changes anywhere. just put things back how they were.via restore

    A fellow user.

  4. 4 Posted by seanfrisbey on 28 May, 2021 04:07 AM

    seanfrisbey's Avatar

    Ha, that actually sounds like a moderately great idea! I suppose I'll give that a try. I haven't felt comfortable dealing with manual backups, as I just leave it to get synced to Dropbox and didn't want to step on its toes bringing my own backup into the mix. I'll give it a try though.

  5. 5 Posted by dtd on 28 May, 2021 04:14 AM

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    Wait. Don't give it a try yet.

    If you restore from a backup you break syncing.

    The idea presented is good if you DO NOT sync, if you sync, you'd break it every time.

  6. 6 Posted by dtd on 28 May, 2021 04:19 AM

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    Here is my suggestion. If you want to test, create a manual backup, rename it "whatif" just to distinguish it from the live file. Open "whatif" and do whatever you want, for however long you want.

    When time passes, and you are done with "whatif" (version 1), delete it and its backups (i can give instructions if you don't know how to do that)

    then start over however long your timeline is, and create "whatif' (version 2)... remix, repeat.

    sync won't break here.

  7. 7 Posted by dwg on 28 May, 2021 04:49 AM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    Trying hypotheticals out on a restored backup is a safe approach to take. Not using your live data file is always a good idea when you are trying things out.

    The Moneydance restore process ensures you do not overwrite your live data or trash the synced data.

    On another note it is not clear to me that you are performing backups as a matter of course never rely on synced data for your backup, it is not a backup, it is more akin to continuous copy. With continuous copy any problem in your data will be replicated. Backups make point in time copies of your data, to give you defined restore points.

  8. 8 Posted by seanfrisbey on 28 May, 2021 05:04 AM

    seanfrisbey's Avatar

    I have not been using backups mainly because I'm paying for Dropbox pro, giving me points in time to reverse to anyway. Couldn't hurt to be using explicit backups anyway.

    I could be using that Dropbox feature for these hypotheticals, but it isn't the quickest process.

    @DTD, thanks for the warning!

  9. 9 Posted by seanfrisbey on 28 May, 2021 05:07 AM

    seanfrisbey's Avatar

    Though I do often have a case of the "whatifs". An easier way to do that would be awesome, though I understand that I am probably in a very niche forner here.

    The whatifs on the backups could be helpful. When I open the backup, to I open it as a new account set? Like, I'll have my real sync version, and the restored whatif version (that is not syncing, because it is separate)?

  10. 10 Posted by dtd on 28 May, 2021 05:25 AM

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    Once you get a routine down, it's pretty easy. I'm a moneydance tester, so I create "test" (your "whatif" databases) almost constantly.

    Mostly, it's just separating your crucial live database from things you want to mess with.

    My crucial live database syncs (with dropbox pro as well) to one other desktop, and multiple ios devices. I DO NOT MESS WITH THAT!

    So, when I want to test (or whatif) I use export backup, and then have a dated backup file. Since I like explicit backup files, I then copy that file to "test" or "whatif 20210528"

    I then open the file, as you say, as a 'new account list' but of course it is identical to your live data set - which is why the rename - so you don't get confused.

    I don't like the word restored, I like the word copied. restored sounds like a write over, copied sounds like a second, which this is.

    Hope that helps.

  11. 11 Posted by dwg on 28 May, 2021 05:29 AM

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    A Moneydance created backup by default uses the existing data set name and appends a date or date/time stamp to create the backup name.

    When restoring it uses this created name as the restored data set name, hence it does not overwrite the data set yous have.

    With a Moneydance restored data set syncing is turned off to ensure it does not write to the synced data location, it is not possible to enable it to write to the existing synced data.

  12. 12 Posted by seanfrisbey on 28 May, 2021 05:42 AM

    seanfrisbey's Avatar

    Gotcha. I think we're on the same page. Thank you for your help! That'll have to do 😬

  13. 13 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 28 May, 2021 05:46 AM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    A few points.
    - The file, export backup menu command is identical functionality to the auto backup (when enabled) - file, restore from backup does not break sync, but it does switch sync off. There is a one step command to re-enable it. - I agree with the others that best to play on a backup copy rather than the real copy. - file, restore from backup does not touch your dataset, it creates a new one. So you can play around in this and then file, open your original. - make sure you have auto backups turned on too. - the way MD works, it just saves as it goes. So a don’t save until I want to just is not possible.

    (Not support, just a fellow user)

  14. 14 Posted by RJron on 28 May, 2021 01:47 PM

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    Am just a user.

    Isnt it easier to just create a new TEST USER on your computer and to run moneydance there ? This would thus be independent from your main data. You could simply copy a backup - open in moneydance - make all the WHATIF scenarios you want - and start over again another time ? I assume ofcourse that this WHATIF test is not a very regular thing..

  15. 15 Posted by derekkent23 on 28 May, 2021 05:19 PM

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

    This discussion has referenced Moneydance’s backup system and if you read the post carefully you get a good idea how it works, but some things have not been covered. The following are my notes on the subject which should increase your understanding and thus help you in working out what works for you.

    Moneydance 2019/2020 and 2021 have two methods for making a backup.
    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. 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

    When a backup is made, if you were syncing, the syncing method is set to don’t sync. This prevents 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.

    It may also be possible to recover your data set as a last resort if you have been syncing.

    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.

    Hope this helps.

  16. System closed this discussion on 27 Aug, 2021 05:20 PM.

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