* Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Questions about using and managing media in FH
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Gary_G
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Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

I want to relocate the existing media directories so that the elaborated path+filename under Parallels is a short as possible and yet still have FH7 back up everything (including media). What is the procedure to do this?
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by tatewise »

What is it about paths under Parallels that are different from standard Windows paths?

Some examples of paths you think are too long might help explain what needs changing.

To ensure FH includes Media in backups requires the files to be within the Project folder.
If the Project is called MyFamily then the path within the Project is:
...\MyFamily\MyFamily.fh_data\Media\...
So a short Project name will help reduce the elaborated path length.

Keep folder names and file names within the Media subfolder as short as possible.

In the File > Project Window... the Location: path contributes to the elaborated path length.
So make that Location path as short as possible.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

Mike;
Parallels tends to provide FH7 with an absolute path from the root of the Mac to where the project is located.
This can be a lot longer than just the anticipated Windows path, because of the virtual machine.
I am going to have to specifically place the project directory right off the hard drive root to make this as short as possible and allow more "room" for paths and filenames within the virtual machine.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Mark1834 »

I won't reopen the "why do you want to do this?" question, as that was discussed at some length only a few days ago.

The answer to your current "how" question is actually quite straightforward:
  1. Create a new folder off the root using a short name, such as \FH
  2. Open your current project, highlight the project in the Project Window and select More Tasks...
  3. Select Copy Project... and complete the dialogue as shown, giving the copy a short name and making sure you select the option to copy the entire Project Folder.
    Capture.png
    Capture.png (7.19 KiB) Viewed 741 times
Your Media file names now start with just \FH\FH\Media\..., so you have the maximum remaining length available to you for your names and structure.

If your media are already in the project folder, that is all you need to do. If they are not, move the files (retaining the folder structure) into the new media folder. That breaks all the file links, but select Tools > External File Links.. from the main FH menu. The Auto Repair Links button remaps all your links automatically if it is only the path to the files that has changed, not the file names.

Once you are happy everything is working as intended, you can delete your original project in its entirety, either from the Project Window, or by deleting the project folder in an external file manager. You will probably also want to remap the default location for projects to your new short name folder.

If you want even more length, you will have to place the media folder directly in the root. You can then continue with your current project without having to copy it to a short path version, and just remap the links as described. However, that is incompatible with FH managing the backup. It's entirely your call as to which requirement takes priority.

Parallels is a slight complication, as relatively few contributors here will have first hand experience of it, so you know more than us about how its filing works. In my Linux test copy of my main project, I have media copied into the Media folder to avoid the complication of potentially managing complex file links across different filing systems. However, that is purely a play and test copy that I do not back up.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

Thank you, Mark. Those instructions are exactly what I wanted and will be of use to others. The " \FH\FH\Media\..." media version will do very nicely for me and also give me some filename wiggle-room to spare.

I just finished transferring all my images to the current project media directory and just wanted to do this before starting to do the citation step.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

Just so that nobody is confused by the process...

As an initial test of the project; I set up Parallels to show ""MacIntosh HD > Users> [username] > FH" as drive "U:\FH". This works rather well, but the test project does not appear in the Family Historian "Project Window".

It appears that the Family Historian "Project Window" only shows projects located in the default location. It doesn't keep track of locations containing FH projects.

This means; if one doesn't want to browse for a project, then all projects need to be in the default location.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by tatewise »

Yes, it is not advisable to have various Projects in different locations.
Ideally, all Projects should be in the File > Project Window... Location: path.

I presume in your examples that the Location: is just a drive letter.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by KFN »

My primary drive on my laptop is not where I want any data from any program to reside. Because 1) My SSD is too small to house data, 2) my server has 8 terabytes of room and is automatically backed up to another drive. So I’ve set the storage location for projects to my server!
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Mark1834 »

tatewise wrote: 16 Apr 2024 15:29 Yes, it is not advisable to have various Projects in different locations.
Why not? I have a live FH Projects folder for actual research projects, and a second FH Projects (Development) folder for test projects. It works very well, and I can easily flip between live and test projects using the Recent Files List (but you’ve said before that you don’t like using that either… ;))
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

Mark;

The transfer went well enough. There was one wrinkle. I had a few directories in the Media directory that had not been imported and had exceedingly long names. This caused the FH7 copy process to fail. The solution was to do the copy anyway and then replace the media directory from the Mac environment . As all the other files relevant to what was actually within the project had been copied successfully, everything worked fine. That said; I wouldn't necessarily propose this as a standard solution, but in this case it worked. Now; I can adjust the remaining filenames and import them, too.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

Just my own opinion...

Having only a default project directory is fine for people that have large hard drives and want everything on their internal drive, but some of use don't. In the Mac world, drives are typically solid state, not upgradable and large ones are VERY expensive. Consequently; it is typical for Mac users to look at cloud or external drives for storing some projects. I suspect that the typical Windows machines will eventually be faced with the same situation.

Having FH7 keep track of where a project is actually located would be very handy. It would permit a large amount of flexibility on where projects are stored and not impact those who are happy with the status quo. I could see this as being a reasonable wish-list item and not likely all that difficult for CP to implement.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Mark1834 »

Playing devil's advocate, there is no reason why projects can't be on the small local drive and media elsewhere.

Remember that the built-in FH Backup is really just a backstop for those that don't have robust general backup protocols. For many users, backing up FH project and media data is just another part of their general backup.

Back of the envelope calculation tells me my entire FH data archive occupies less than one pound/dollar's worth of SSD space, and 20 p worth of the server backup, but YMMV :)!
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by tatewise »

Mark1834 wrote: 16 Apr 2024 15:44
tatewise wrote: 16 Apr 2024 15:29 Yes, it is not advisable to have various Projects in different locations.
Why not? I have a live FH Projects folder for actual research projects, and a second FH Projects (Development) folder for test projects. It works very well, and I can easily flip between live and test projects using the Recent Files List (but you’ve said before that you don’t like using that either… ;))
As long as the user understands how to switch between locations and keeps track of those locations then fine.
However, I have often needed to help users who are less confident about managing multiple Projects.
It is complicated to assist such users to fix problems if all the Projects are not in the same location.
For users who are uncomfortable with the inner workings of a PC, I'd advise keeping all Projects in one location.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

Mark1834 wrote: 16 Apr 2024 17:12 Playing devil's advocate, there is no reason why projects can't be on the small local drive and media elsewhere.

Remember that the built-in FH Backup is really just a backstop for those that don't have robust general backup protocols. For many users, backing up FH project and media data is just another part of their general backup.

Back of the envelope calculation tells me my entire FH data archive occupies less than one pound/dollar's worth of SSD space, and 20 p worth of the server backup, but YMMV :)!
Mark;
Just one of my 8 or so projects has over 3000 files associated with it. So; for me the storage space is not insignificant nor inexpensive. Besides; my point was once one has ordered a Mac with a certain size internal SSD, a user cannot change it as they are integral to the computer mainboard. To add just 256MB to a new Mac can run $200 CDN, so most don't order much over 512MB units, which must be special-ordered. External SSDs are possible, but still expensive and FH7 currently would require that all the projects be on that single SSD. So, even that could be expensive.

Mike;
I'm all for simplicity; but as I noted, having FH record the actual location of a project need not affect the experience of users who keep things in one place ,nor should it really complicate diagnosing issues with the functioning of a project. I should add that years ago, when one backed up to multiple diskettes, the program would prompt one to insert the correct backup disk. This same thing could be done for FH7 projects that cannot be located.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by mjashby »

If all FH Projects are stored in a single named Folder then FH can easily keep track of them by setting the path to that folder in the FH Project Window, but if you scatter projects/data files in numerous locations then no application is going to be able to keep track of all of them indefinitely. Under those circumstances it should be possible to use 'shortcuts' located in a mapped "Family Historian Projects" Folder to link to scattered Projects but, to me, that would be introducing the management of an totally unnecessary level of complexity.

e.g. I don't use Parallels but with VirtualBox Network Sharing, the path to my FH Projects, which are not located inside the Virtual Machine, is \\VBOXSVR\Documents\Family Historian If you are unable to create a similarly compact arrangement using Parallels, then that's where the problem lies and not in FH.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Mark1834 »

Interesting to see those differences - I have bought several small SSDs to either revive an older Windows or Linux system or in a USB3 caddy for Raspberry Pi, and the going rate for a mainstream brand (Crucial, Kingston, etc) is £25 for 250 GB and about £40 for 500 GB. It’s not the latest or fastest tech, but it’s appropriate for what it’s going into (and FH is way too undemanding to be stressed by it).
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

mjashby wrote: 16 Apr 2024 17:46 If all FH Projects are stored in a single named Folder then FH can easily keep track of them by setting the path to that folder in the FH Project Window, but if you scatter projects/data files in numerous locations then no application is going to be able to keep track of all of them indefinitely. Under those circumstances it should be possible to use 'shortcuts' located in a mapped "Family Historian Projects" Folder to link to scattered Projects but, to me, that would be introducing the management of an totally unnecessary level of complexity.

e.g. I don't use Parallels but with VirtualBox Network Sharing, the path to my FH Projects, which are not located inside the Virtual Machine, is \\VBOXSVR\Documents\Family Historian If you are unable to create a similarly compact arrangement using Parallels, then that's where the problem lies and not in FH.
"mjashby";
I think that you may have missed the point. Where one stores things has nothing to do with Parallels. It is more that Mac drives tend to be limited in size and cost. So; one may need to store projects on external drives or in the cloud. Depending on the storage requirements, projects may need to be stored on one or more devices and in one or more locations.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

Mark;

I guess the real issue is actually the availability of less expensive SSDs in Canada. It's rather difficult to find "economy" options unless you're in a place like Toronto or Vancouver. They have a lot of end-of-line shops. In addition, shipping here tends to be expensive due to distances.

Today; my local vendor's cheapest on-the-shelf external SSD is a Kingston "XS1000 External SSD, 1TB w/ USB 3.2 Gen 2 Cable" for $109 CDN. I believe that's about 64 GBP. Also; keep in mind that I would need to buy 2 of them to be able to keep backups. Much as that is a strain on the budget, I may eventually end up being forced to do that.

Anyway; this is getting a bit off-topic, as you've answered my question and your proposed solution works fine.
I just finished relocating all my projects.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

Mike;

I've moved all my projects and set the default projects directory & backup directory to their new locations. I've also checked that each project is intact and working, plus done a full backup of each. Any relevant older backup sets were then copied to the new backup directory. Is using your "Backup and Restore Family Historian Setting" v 3.6, then, all that ought to be required to be able to restore FH7 in the event of an issue?
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Mark1834 »

Or the via Windows version - don’t be fooled by the name, it works on Macs and Linux too :)
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by Gary_G »

Thanks, Mark.
I've now got everything moved over, checked and backed up. Just a bit more naming cleanup to do and I can start entering the citations. It has been a real ordeal to get this far. Not just because it is a lot of work, but because one has to make a number of strategic decisions on how to structure and name the raw data. The latter decisions had to be given proper consideration as they are really difficult to reverse later on.
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Re: Windows Media path+filename length under Parallels

Post by mjashby »

Gary,

I don't think I misunderstood anything about what you've said. I've had Mac Systems since 2009 running Windows Virtual Machines and all Family Historian versions, amongst other Windows software that I couldn't do without. Initially I was also using Parallels, but quickly moved to VirtualBox, and I am well aware of the limitations of upgrading Apple's internal hardware (which became almost impossible around 2012). Like you I also run with an external Drive (SSD) attached to a MacBook Pro but primarily to install, test and run Virtual Machines, not to store primary user data.

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