Transfer your Data between Computers


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    Transfer your Data between Computers

Some users may choose to install the Standalone version of ACCOUNTS on two or more computers (for instance, one at work and one at home) and transfer their data back and forth, in order to get work done at home, or for other reasons. That is quite easy. However, you have to carefully arrange that changes are only made on one computer at a time, and the database is transferred back to the other computer before any changes are made on it.


Please note that there is no way to merge entries from two computers!


For paid users of the Standalone version, no additional payment is required for this setup - you do not have to pay for the 2nd user. (Of course, no payment is required at all if you are still evaluating the program.)


There are also two other options for multiple users accessing ACCOUNTS, detailed on the Multiple User Options page, including the Web Network Version or Local Network Versions of ACCOUNTS, or using a remote-access solution. This page is only about the first option on that page, with multiple installations of the Standalone version.


The Web Network Version is usually a better option than this one, as long as you have consistently reliable high-speed Internet on all computers on which you will be installing ACCOUNTS.


Yet another option is to use the database on a USB memory key.


Note: If you do not yet have ACCOUNTS installed on the other computer, or want to permanently transfer the program to another computer, please see the Help topic Move the Program from One Computer to Another to get you started.


Basic Process


When you are finished using ACCOUNTS on one computer (I'll call it Computer A), use one of the four possible backup methods (detailed below) to make a backup of its database, and get that backup to the other computer (Computer B). On Computer B, restore that backup.


When you want to transfer your database back to Computer A again, assuming you have made some further entries on Computer B (not just looked at data and reports), just reverse the process. Make a backup on Computer B, get it to Computer A, and restore it on Computer A.


Obviously, you have to be really careful if you are transferring databases between computers. Don't get confused and restore the wrong database on the wrong machine etc. so you lose some of your work. (The program does warn you if you are trying to restore a backup with only older transaction data than what is in your current database, however.) Also, make sure you make other backups on other storage media for additional security. Those additional backups also give you something to go back to if you mess up, or if your backup goes bad, etc.


The following sections explain how to transfer the database from Computer A to Computer B using one of three methods. To transfer it back, just reverse the instructions as explained above!


Method 1: Use Regular Backups


This is the method to use if you do not have high-speed Internet access on both computers, and/or you do not want to entrust your encrypted database backup to email transmission over the Internet, or secure storage on the Internet.


On Computer A, use the Backup/Restore ⇒ Backup Database menu option to backup the database file. The database file is named OrganizationName.S4A, where OrganizationName is your File Name from the Maintenance ⇒ Organization Info window. It gets backed up to a file named OrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.S4ABackup or OrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.S4ABackup, where YYYY-MM-DD is replaced by the backup date and HH.MM.SS by the time. Back it up to a transportable medium such as a USB memory key, a writeable CD, or a diskette (if it fits).


Bring that backup over to the other computer (Computer B). Start ACCOUNTS, and use the Backup/Restore ⇒ Restore Database menu option to restore the database from the backup, which copies it over top of any existing database with the same file name on that computer. (Alternatively, if ACCOUNTS is not running, you can start the restore by just double-clicking on the backup file, and following the prompts that come up.)


Method 2: Use Email Backups


If you have access to email on both computers, you can use the Backup/Restore ⇒ Email Backup menu option to email an encrypted backup from Computer A to an email account accessible from Computer B. Then on Computer B, follow the instructions in that email, to restore it.


Method 3: Use Internet Backups


This is perhaps the easiest ongoing method, once you have completed a bit of initial setup.


You first have to configure Internet backups, and also ensure that you have transferred the database once using either Method 1 or Method 2 above (which ensures that both copies of the database have the same internal Unique ID for Internet backups). The users on both computers must also know and use the same Internet backup encryption password. (See this section of that same configuration Help page to understand how to do that.)


Once it is configured, every regular backup on either computer will be followed by an Internet backup. So, make a regular backup on Computer A, and do the Internet backup following it. Inform the user on Computer B that it is there, and they can then restore it with the Backup/Restore ⇒ Restore Internet Backup menu option.


Method 4: Backup to a Cloud Storage Location


This involves saving your regular backups (as in Method 1 above) on a 3rd-party cloud storage location such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, etc. As long as you share that location with the other users, they can find the backups on that same location and restore them.


When you have Multiple Databases


If you are maintaining multiple databases on your computer, with the File New Database and File Open Database menu options, each database will have different file names that you supply (so additional databases will be named OtherOrganizationName.S4A etc.). The backups will be named accordingly, such as OtherOrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.S4ABackup or OtherOrganizationName-YYYY-MM-DD.S4ABackup for regular backups, etc. Each one needs to be transferred independently if and when you need it on the other computer.


Note on Software Licensing


When you have ACCOUNTS installed on two computers for the same organization, you can apply the same License Key (or keys, if you have multiple databases) to both of them. See the section on Software Licensing and Evaluation for more details on License Keys. Alternatively, you can copy the file accountsl.txt from the Data Directory of the first licensed computer to the Data Directory of the other computer - it contains your licensing information.