* Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

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BakerJL75
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Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by BakerJL75 » 05 Feb 2021 21:31

I have read https://fhug.org.uk/kb/kb-article/synch ... junctions/ and understand it fairly well. I want to run the same version of FH7 on two computers both running Win 10. Both computers sync to Google Drive. Additionally, my media is stored in a folder system on Google drive, accessed by putting the command subst g: "d:\google drive\gendata2015" in a batch file run at startup. This works well for my previous genealogy software and I have not had any problems accessing it in FH7*.

The article on synchronization does not specifically mention Google Drive as cloud storage. Am I correct to assume it would work as well as Dropbox and OneDrive? If not, I can use one of those.

The article also says Plugins, Queries, Fact Types, Autotext, Diagrams, Reports, Text Schemes, Flags, Icons, and Property Box tabs are candidates for synching. What about Source Templates and Icons, or other folders in the ProgramData directory ? I would assume they would work, but assuming can get one into trouble, especially since the article also says some settings may be specific to an individual PC.

Now that I've read about junctions, would I be better off using Junctions for my Media? Will there be a conflict using subst for media and junctions for the rest? My other software has a media re-linker, so it wouldn't be a problem there.

*I use subst because of drive space variations on the two computers. On one, the google drive synch folder is on C:, on the other it's on D:. So my genealogy program links to media as G, no matter which computer I am using.

Thanks for any thoughts and opinions,

Jackie

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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by tatewise » 05 Feb 2021 22:54

If you are referring to Synchronising Family Historian between 2 PCs it does list Google Drive and is a better starting point.
Synchronizing Family Historian Settings Using Directory Junctions does not specifically mention Google Drive but it should work.

In principle, the entire ProgramData folder could be synchronised. I'm not sure "what settings may be specific to an individual PC" if both PC are using the same FH version.

However, there are significant settings in the Windows Registry that cannot be so easily synchronised.
These include the core Diagram Options settings and Records Window Columns and various window characteristics such as size, position & column widths. The 'Backup and Restore FH Settings' plugin could handle those.

As long as the file path to the Media is the same on both PC then there is no need to use junctions.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by Mark1834 » 05 Feb 2021 23:38

The main reason I wrote it that way is that I prefer users to actively think about what they want to sync and where it is stored, rather than just share everything. They will learn more about the process, rather than just accepting a black box handed down.

I don’t use Google Drive on the PC, but agree it should work similarly to OneDrive and Dropbox.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by BakerJL75 » 06 Feb 2021 17:38

Thank you
Thanks,
Jackie

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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by BakerJL75 » 06 Feb 2021 22:23

I want to make sure I understand. If I use the 'Backup and Restore FH Settings' plugin if I understand correctly, I would have to run it every time I switch computers, assuming I change something. For example, I'm changing fact and source definitions constantly right now.

But if I use https://fhug.org.uk/kb/kb-article/synch ... junctions/ method, then those changes will get updated every time Google Sync runs.

Is that correct? And yes, the junctions seem to work fine with Google Drive.
Thanks,
Jackie

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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by tatewise » 07 Feb 2021 11:58

Yes, essentially that is largely correct.
I assume by source definitions you are talking about Source Templates which are held in the ProgramData folder.
Fact Set definitions can be Current project only local to each Project folder so sync with the Project.
The global Fact Set definitions are held in the ProgramData folder.

One caveat is that some customisations, such as core standard Diagram default Options, and Records Window columns, are held in the Windows Registry and can only migrate by using the Plugin or RegEdit.

It is unfortunate that users must get into these details to migrate FH settings from PC to PC.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by Mark1834 » 07 Feb 2021 12:31

One additional comment - in these early days following release of FH7, minor upgrades are being released fairly frequently as early bugs are fixed. If you upgrade, you should check that the directory junctions are still intact. Mine were fine after upgrading to 7.0.2 yesterday, but you shouldn't rely on that as it may depend on exactly how you have them configured and how you upgrade.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by BakerJL75 » 07 Feb 2021 17:24

tatewise wrote:
07 Feb 2021 11:58
I assume by source definitions you are talking about Source Templates which are held in the ProgramData folder.
Yes, that is what I meant. I also have not used local facts because if I come up with something I like, I don't want to have to recreate it if I start a different database for some reason. And thanks for the info that some customizations are in the registry only. If I find something I really need, then I'll use the plugin or edit the registry, assuming the info is out there. For now, I'm happy.
Thanks,
Jackie

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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by BakerJL75 » 07 Feb 2021 17:25

Mark1834 wrote:
07 Feb 2021 12:31
you should check that the directory junctions are still intact.
Thank you for the suggestion. I'll remember that and it makes sense. I routinely make sure Google is syncing properly, so the junction points are something I can check habitually as well.
Thanks,
Jackie

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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by RJDoggett » 10 Feb 2021 23:08

I am successfully operating FH7 on a home desktop and a laptop using Dropbox.

I installed FH7 on to both computers and set up the database (project) on the desktop, as normal. Once this was up and running satisfactorily, and backed up, the project in FH7 was closed and then FH7 closed.

I then copied the complete FH7 data (project) folder to a Dropbox folder that is set to synchronise with both computers. FH7 was then opened on the desktop and the Dropbox database (project) opened; the default data project was set to the Dropbox folder. With FH7 closed on the desktop, FH7 on the laptop was opened and set to use the Dropbox project, with default set to the Dropbox project.

With this arrangement, data changes can be made on either computer and saved into the database that is synchronised to the other, so being accessible from the other computer. To prevent a clash between the computers, I open FH7 on only one computer at a time.

If media is linked to the project and the files are not in the Dropbox folder, they do not show (mine are in separate folders on the desktop). For me, this is inconsequential in normal use.

If the computer being used is off-line, changes will be saved in the local Dropbox until it is again connected to the internet and able to synchronise.

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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by tatewise » 11 Feb 2021 11:41

Thanks, you have confirmed almost word for word the advice in Synchronising Family Historian between 2 PCs for Dropbox that I posted in my first reply in this thread.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by McHooty » 20 Oct 2021 11:15

Hi

On the question of synchronizing I assume that using a NAS drive would in theory work the same as an cloud service such as Dropbox.

I haven't tried it yet, but my wife and I use the same project at separate times on different laptops. If either of us does a full backup to the NAS when we close down and a restore when we start up again I assume this would work.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by Mark1834 » 20 Oct 2021 12:21

Syncing via a NAS works fine, and the KB page probably needs updating to reflect this option.

You could even have the master copy of your project on the NAS, so both laptops use that and don’t have to backup/restore in each session. The optimum configuration depends on whether you want to access your project away from home, how big your project is, whether media are internal or external to the project, and how fast your home WiFi runs (I assume laptops will be a WiFi connection, as many new ones don’t even have the option of a wired connection today).

Plenty of options, and not difficult to set up. Anybody using a home NAS probably has a reasonable knowledge of file structures anyway.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by tatewise » 20 Oct 2021 15:01

You suggest that "using a NAS drive would, in theory, work the same as a cloud service".
However, your proposed NAS strategy and a cloud service are very different.

Your NAS strategy requires manual actions to both create and restore the Backups, which could be slow for very large Projects with a great many images.
If either of you forgets to perform a Restore before updating FH, or create Backup after updating FH, then chaos ensues.
You will then have two diverging Project databases.

Whereas, using cloud storage the backup/restore processes are automatic and no manual actions are needed.
The file transfers involved are usually fast as only changed files are involved, i.e. GEDCOM and new Media files.
Also, there is the bonus of having three synchronised copies of the same Project on PC A, PC B, and the cloud.

As Mark suggests, keeping the Family Historian Projects folder on the NAS drive for both PC to use is more like using a cloud service, but without the redundant copies.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by Mark1834 » 20 Oct 2021 15:35

NAS sync can be a useful option for users who have a slow or data-capped internet connection, or simply distrust the cloud services. I never actually use the built-in FH backup/restore options, preferring a utility that processes only changed files, such as the excellent FreeFileSync.

If you do keep the master on the NAS, remember to back it up appropriately. A file with only one copy is a file you don’t mind losing...
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by Treesearcher2 » 20 Oct 2021 18:47

I use a NAS to keep my backup synced. I mostly work on a laptop and copy the projects file to the NAS at the end of each session. I then copy the file down to the desktop when ever I need to use it. This keeps my master copy on the laptop with two backup copies on the NAS and desktop. To transfer the files I use Microsoft's Synctoy.

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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by tatewise » 20 Oct 2021 18:58

What do recent contributors to this thread do about customised settings for Diagrams, Reports, Queries, Fact Sets, etc?
Many, but not all, customisations are held in C:\ProgramData\Calico Pie\Family Historian\ subfolders.
However, some customisations, such as core standard Diagram default Options, and Records Window column definitions, are held in the Windows Registry and can only migrate by using a Plugin or RegEdit.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by Mark1834 » 20 Oct 2021 19:23

Before I discovered Directory Junctions, I synced the relevant ProgramData folders via the NAS as well. Some things I prefer to configure individually, as I don’t want the same display defaults on a large ultrawide display and basic 13” laptop screen.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by Mark1834 » 20 Oct 2021 19:30

It’s worth bearing in mind as well that many users with multiple PCs won’t use them in the same way, so they don’t necessarily need to be clones of each other. Often, most of the heavy lifting is done at the desk, and the laptop serves as quick and easy access away from the desk.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by tatewise » 20 Oct 2021 21:01

Mark, all that you say is good advice. It is simply that when users start discussing synchronising FH they naturally focus on Projects and all too often are blissfully unaware that the customisation settings are not part of Projects but kept elsewhere.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by Mark1834 » 20 Oct 2021 21:13

Fully agree - the more users know about what goes where, the better placed they are to decide which option best suits their individual circumstances and preferred workflow.
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by McHooty » 21 Oct 2021 14:49

As I'm still a novice with FH I guess the only way to see if the NAS route suits the way I work is to try it so I'll need to play about a bit.

As a side question is there a way to remove unwanted ged files from the File / Gedcom File Tasks menu ?

Thanks
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Re: Synchronizing FH7 on two computers, many questions

Post by tatewise » 21 Oct 2021 18:57

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