Difficulty re-syncing M'dance files via DropBox after moving main file

martinfennsmith's Avatar


02 Dec, 2017 10:23 PM

Can you please clarify which syncing method I should use in trying to set up syncing via Dropbox with a colleague over the internet - Dropbox Connection or Dropbox Folder? In the present instance the file is on my Mac in the place recommended and my colleague has spent hours trying to sync with it to no avail. We can share regular files via Dropbox without any difficulty. I'm afraid I find the information in the Knowledge Base very unclear on the point though I've read it several times.

  1. 1 Posted by derekkent23 on 03 Dec, 2017 10:08 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user

    Below I have included an overview of 2017 syncing, followed by a reset procedure in a numbered step format. Try following this. In any step if you don’t get things how I describe, detail what you are seeing. As you did not complete syncing its possible in the following steps you will not be able to find ”.moneydancesync” folder or the data set on the second computer. Just make a not of this and move on.

    Here goes.


    When syncing with 2017 you have a primary and a secondary computer. The data set is stored in the default location on the hard drive of your primary computer. See under HELP – SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER. Your data set is a folder not a file. It contains other folders and files. The data set folder is named yourdatasetname.moneydance. In later build of 2017 you are prompted to allow Moneydance to automatically move your data set to the default location if Moneydance detects you have your data set in Dropbox. If you don’t allow your data to be moved it may become corrupted! DON’T STORE YOUR DATA SET IN DROPBOX or any other shared drive.

    Your second computer does not have the same data set as the primary computer. Its data set is created from data synced via Dropbox folder “.moneydancsync” created automatically by the primary computer. The folder “.moneydancesync” may be hidden, so if you are looking for it set whatever your file explorer is called to show hidden File/Folders. The data set has the same naming convention as the primary data set and is stored in the default location on the secondary computer’s hard drive, but it’s not a duplicate of the primary data set. They are not interchangeable. In normal operation Moneydance on your devices reads and writes to the Dropbox folder “.moneydancesync”, creating small transaction files (mdtxn files) in such a way that there should never be any conflicts (at least not to any important files). Filenames are unique and the data is encrypted using your sync key (“Encryption Passphrase”). All changes are recorded in this folder and if any of the changes cause conflicts then they are resolved by checking timestamps that are internal to the file (i.e. not the file modification date).


    It a good idea to reset syncing if you have changed your syncing method or run into problems during syncing after checking you are running the latest build of 2017. I would suggest if you purchased direct not through Apply ensure both computers are running the preview build download from if fixes some small issues when syncing not yet included in the released build. If you purchased from Apply the build should be at least 1639. See HELP – ABOUT MONEYDANCE.

    1. Set primary computer “Sync Method” to “Don’t Sync” under FILE – SYNCING, then click OK.

    2. On your primary computer use FILE – EXPORT BACKUP to save a backup in case something goes wrong.

    3. Then shut down Moneydance on your primary computer. If you are using Dropbox as the backup location wait till the Dropbox icon states “Up to Date”. This can take some time.

    4. On your second computer click on HELP – SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER to open a file explorer, close Moneydance and delete your data set “yourdatasetname.moneydance”.

    5. Using your primary computer in the Dropbox folder delete the folder “.moneydancesync”. Watch the Dropbox icon and wait till it states “Up to Date”.

    6. In your second computer check that in the Dropbox folder that the folder “.moneydancesync” has been automatically deleted. You need to give Dropbox a short time to complete this deletion.

    7. Open Moneydance on your primary computer under FILE - SYNCING, set your “Encryption Passphrase”, set “Sync Method” to “Dropbox Folder”, click OK.

    8. Wait for Dropbox folder “.moneydancesync” and its contents to be created. Check the Dropbox icon states “Up to Date”.

    9. Wait until the same Dropbox folder appears on your second computer, again watch the Dropbox icon this time on your second computer and wait till it states “Up to Date”.

    10. Check that now on both computers you are able to see the Dropbox folder “.monedancesync”.

    11. On your second computer starting Moneydance should open it in the welcome window, click on “Create a new account set”.

    12. Select “Open Synced File” and use dropdown to select “Dropbox Folder” then click NEXT.

    13. You should see a search screen headed “Select a synced document to open”

    14. After a short search delay, it should then list your data set name used on your primary computer.

    15. Highlight your data set name and click NEXT.

    16. Enter the encryption password, the “Encryption Passphrase” you set on your primary computer under FILE – SYNCING.

    17. Then click on FINISH.

    Wait for your data to be synced.

    You may find a lot of old, maybe closed accounts or other accounts you have removed from the side bar reappearing in the second computers side bar. Use the “+” sign at bottom of side bar then ADVANCED to tidy up the side bar.

    If in any step you don’t get things how I describe, detail what you are seeing, including screen shots.

    Hope this helps

  2. 2 Posted by martinfennsmith on 03 Dec, 2017 12:03 PM

    martinfennsmith's Avatar

    Hi Derek(?)

    Thank you very much for this - it's an enormous step forward. I'll work through the steps over the next couple of days and let you know how I get on - it all seems very clear.

    Best wishes

  3. 3 Posted by martinfennsmith on 05 Dec, 2017 06:33 PM

    martinfennsmith's Avatar

    Hello again!

    I worked through your process this afternoon with my colleague and it pretty much worked perfectly. At step 9 after verifying that the new ".moneydance" folder was in my Dropbox folder on the web I found I needed to actually Share it with said colleague - not really a surprise. The rest of the process went without a hitch, so thank you very much indeed for setting us on the path to success.

    My next move is to get a third computer sync-ed in, this time a non-Mac laptop with which I'm less familiar. I'll start on that with good confidence.

    Best wishes

    > On 3 Dec 2017, at 12:02, Martin Fenn-Smith <[email blocked]> wrote:
    > Hi Derek(?)
    > Thank you very much for this - it's an enormous step forward. I'll work through the steps over the next couple of days and let you know how I get on - it all seems very clear.
    > Best wishes
    >> On 3 Dec 2017, at 10:08, derekkent23 <[email blocked] <mailto:[email blocked]>> wrote:

  4. 4 Posted by derekkent23 on 05 Dec, 2017 06:54 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.

    Glad it worked.

    Just a word of warning. I have not tried it myself but others have reported a bug in that when you get to step 14 “After a short search delay, it should then list your data set name used on your primary computer.” The list does not include your data set name but an alphanumeric name. I understand clicking on this works, but have not tested it myself.
    The following warning may apply to three computers.
    I would recommend not having more than two devices running Moneydance at one time. My set up is two computers and one phone. I found if I have all three devices running Moneydance at the same time I could occasionally get syncing errors, be warned. I reported this the Sean the lead software developer but as far as I know, no fix yet.
    You can set up as many devices as you like for syncing, but only run Moneydance on two devices at a time. For, example if you have Moneydance running on one computer and a phone shut down Moneydance on one of these before opening Moneydance on another device.

    Hope this helps

  5. 5 Posted by martinfennsmith on 14 Jan, 2018 12:33 PM

    martinfennsmith's Avatar

    Hello again,

    I had both my colleagues here a coupe of days ago and we went through the synchronising process. What you said might happen did happen - an alphanumeric name appeared in the list. When opened though, the files on my colleague's machines were identical to the original on mine.

    However, their files don't sync with mine. Do you think that giving their files the correct name will correct the situation?

  6. 6 Posted by derekkent23 on 14 Jan, 2018 04:16 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.

    As I say I have not tried syncing three computers so if you got the initial sync as it sounds you did I don’t know why syncing should stop. Has syncing stopped in all directions from all computers?
    It may be time for you to list your setup again. List the build of 2017 you are all using. Confirm the syncing method. Explain if you are all using the same Dropbox account or trying to sync across different accounts. if so have did you set this up.

    Then support can step in and help.

  7. System closed this discussion on 15 Apr, 2018 04:20 PM.

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