* Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Questions regarding use of any Version of Family Historian. Please ensure you have set your Version of Family Historian in your Profile
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Mark1834
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Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by Mark1834 » 15 Aug 2018 22:51

Hopefully others will not make the same mistakes as I did....

Visiting Suffolk recently, I took a day in the archives to search out some original Parish Registers as their on-line availability is relatively poor. Unlike some other record offices, they do not permit scanning to USB, so it was a case of either transcribing with pencil and paper as we have done for decades, or enter the data directly into a laptop copy of FH.

Naturally, I chose the latter, but most of my work on FH is on my twin-monitor desktop setup, and it was the first time that I had used the laptop copy in anger, and two things didn't go as planned -

1. I had omitted to update the laptop copies of the Program Data and AppData folders, so did not have all my plug-ins or custom queries available.

2. Potentially more seriously, I had made some minor changes to my database on the desktop just before the visit in order to prepare some printed reports, and for some reason OneDrive did not fully synchronize the changes to the laptop, so I unknowingly spent a whole day entering data into an out of date database!

Luckily, I was able to salvage the situation afterwards by comparing and merging the two database copies, but a little more preparation would have saved a lot of time and stress.........
Mark Draper

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Jane
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Re: Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by Jane » 16 Aug 2018 08:20

I don't use One Drive so I don't know why it would not sync.

With regard to the Program data folder. If having all your settings available you can use Mike's Backup and Restore FH Settings plugin, or use Knowledge Base > Utility ~ Windows Directory Junctions to redirect where Family Historian looks for it's settings to use a folder in one drive.
Jane
My Family History : My Photography "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."

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tatewise
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Re: Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by tatewise » 16 Aug 2018 08:26

Yes, the concepts are all covered in Knowledge Base > Family Historian V5 & V6 Migration Guide.

Depending on the size of the changes you have to give OneDrive enough time to upload from PC and download to laptop with both online together.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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davidm_uk
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Re: Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by davidm_uk » 16 Aug 2018 09:19

@Mike
Did you ever manage to work out what the synchronisation rules are for OneDrive? eg.
  • does a newer file always overwrite an older file, regardless of direction, size, read-only, and which file date does it use (created, modified, accessed)
    if a file exists on one device but not on the other device, how does it decide whether to copy the file or delete it.
These days I use SyncBack** on my PC to copy (and zip with a password) files to my OneDrive folder, then just allow OneDrive to update itself, so I have that as a backup (in addition to two other backup places).
** SyncBack allows you to define what happens to files based on date, name, size etc, so that you can understand exactly what it's doing.
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Mark1834
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Re: Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by Mark1834 » 16 Aug 2018 09:26

Thanks Jane, I wasn’t familiar with junctions, so could be useful. It’s a pity that FH doesn’t permit the user to specify where program data are stored, as it seems an odd omission for what is otherwise a very flexible program.

Another option could be a utility such as FreeFileSync to mirror the program data folders to a location that is backed up or copied automatically. It creates second copies rather than links, which is never ideal, but would be very flexible in how it is configured (two way sync, or one way master/slave). I suspect it is only worth it if you are using two copies regularly. For the annual visit to the archives it is probably over-engineered!
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Re: Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by Mark1834 » 16 Aug 2018 09:36

My understanding of OneDrive is that it works on the principle of “most recent change”. So if you have three copies of a file (one in the cloud, and two on different local systems), any change to one of these is pushed automatically to other copies. This holds for both file modifications and deletions.

I haven’t tested the more complicated scenario of multiple copies being opened simultaneously on different systems, as I never work that way for just my individual personal use.
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tatewise
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Re: Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by tatewise » 16 Aug 2018 09:53

Yes, OneDrive uses most recent change, and I guess treats files deleted to Recycle Bin as a file move just like any other file move.

Unfortunately, FH keeps many customisation settings in the Windows Registry and NOT just the ProgramData folders.
e.g. All the standard core Diagram settings are in the Windows Registry.
See Knowledge Base > Move Family Historian Settings and Projects and Knowledge Base > Understanding the Scope of Features for full details.

The Backup and Restore FH Settings Plugin copes with all those.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Tony Jones
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Re: Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by Tony Jones » 16 Aug 2018 09:54

OneDrive is a little opaque about its rules. I do use it, though for Family Historian I sync to my own Cloud hosted on my NAS and available over the internet. I like this way of working as my sync client is a bit noisy and makes it clear when it is syncing. I do find it helps to power up my laptop before I go and work in (eg) the library to make sure I'm fully up to date.

Sync Back is a great piece of software with lots of options. Well featured and the free version should do more than enough for most people
Using an iMac via Parallels/Win 10 64-bit and a MacBook via WINE

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LornaCraig
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Re: Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by LornaCraig » 16 Aug 2018 10:00

tatewise wrote:you have to give OneDrive enough time to upload from PC and download to laptop with both online together.
They don't both have to be online together. I now use OneDrive to sync between desktop PC and laptop. Most data entry is done on the desktop PC which syncs with OneDrive. Next time the laptop is switched on it updates from OneDrive. The only potential catch is that while entering data I 'pause' the sync. This is because I have a large thumbnail cache which is slow to sync every time I add a new media image, and this can interfere with autosave. If I forget to start the sync again when I have finished, it starts automatically next time the PC is switched on. However if I use the laptop before that, obviously the laptop will not update. Could this be the cause of the original problem?
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tatewise
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Re: Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by tatewise » 16 Aug 2018 10:20

Yes, they don't have to be online together, but that is the easiest rule to follow.

Delete the ThumbCache.dat file occasionally as per Media Problem: 'an error has occurred - unable to load object' (16152).
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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LornaCraig
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Re: Multiple copies of Family Historian - caution!

Post by LornaCraig » 16 Aug 2018 12:46

I have never found that deleting the ThumbCache.dat file helps unless you have the Tools>Preferences>General>Advanced>Thumbnail option set to Load When Needed. With the default Auto-cache (recommended) option the file just gets recreated. On one occasion the newly created file was larger than the one I had deleted!

I find that pausing the sync while entering data works well. Just a personal preference.
Lorna

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