Author Topic: Syncing Beersmith Desktop on multiple computers  (Read 392 times)

Offline Baldhead Brewer

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 18
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Syncing Beersmith Desktop on multiple computers
« on: October 20, 2019, 10:13:02 AM »
I've seen a lot of posts asking how to keep Beersmith data synced between multiple computers. Not just the recipes stored in the "Cloud," but everything. I've been doing this for years on Windows using Dropbox, and it's fairly easy to set up. There is a couple caveats which I'll explain afterwards. This method is outlined for Windows, but I imagine a similar thing can be done on Mac relatively easily.

First, by default, all of your Beersmith data is stored in the Documents folder, in a folder based on the version of BS you are running. So mine was in C:\Users\Documents\Beersmith3. If you navigate to that folder, you should see a lot of files, and these contain all the information in your Beersmith database. Recipies, inventory, ingredients, etc. are all stored here.

*** BEFORE DOING ANY OF THESE STEPS YOU SHOULD MAKE A COPY OF THIS FOLDER AS A BACKUP IN CASE SOMETHING FAILS ***

Before trying either of these techniques you should have Dropbox installed and active on any of the computers you want to keep in sync. You should also have Beersmith installed, but make sure it is closed and not running.

The Easy Way:
The Windows 'Documents' folder is a system folder, and Windows gives you the option to locate the folder anywhere you like. So the easy way is to right-click on the Documents folder icon, and select 'Properties.' Select the 'Location' tab, and create a location in your Dropbox for your Documents folder to live. Windows will ask you if you want to move all the files to the new location, and select "Yes." On all subsequent computers, make sure Dropbox is synced, and do this same process, and select the same location. If you already have two Beersmith installations with different data, you'll want to move one of the folders aside and, from the functioning Beersmith installation, import the contents into the other one manually.

After you have moved all of your Document folders from the differing systems to the same location on Dropbox, Beersmith data will sync between them. Make sure to read the caveats below.

The Harder Way:
Perhaps you don't want your entire Documents folder in your Dropbox. If you only want the Beersmith data and nothing else, you will need to dig into the command line. It's not that hard.

First, after making a duplicate of your Beersmith folder as a backup, MOVE the original Beersmith folder from Documents to a location in your Dropbox. Next, you'll want to open up a Command Prompt with Administrator access. In Windows 10, this is as simple as right clicking on the 'Start' button and selecting "Command Prompt (Admin)" from the menu.

Then you will want to use the mklink command to create a system link in the old location, pointing to the new location. A system link is basically a fancy shortcut, except to Windows it doesn't look like a shortcut but rather the actual file or folder. So in the command line, type this:

mklink /J "oldpath" "newpath"

A common example would look like this, although you would need to customize this to your system:

mklink /J "C:\Users\[username]\Documents\Beersmith3" "D:\Dropbox\Beersmith3"

This will create a system link for a folder in the old location that points to the new location. When Beersmith next runs, it will think it is reading and writing data from the regular location in Documents when actually it will be accessing the folder in the Dropbox.

Do this on all the computers with Beersmith, pointing to the same location in your Dropbox.

CAVEATS: There are a few things you need to pay attention to when using either of these methods.

First, you don't want to run two instances of Beersmith simultaneously. At best, this will give you an error that another instance is running. At worst, you can get a bunch of conflicted copies of the data files in your Beersmith folder that are a mess to clean up. Close one instance before starting another.

Second, you want to make sure that Dropbox has synced to the cloud before shutting down a computer. Even if you haven't made any changes, Beersmith saves a bunch of data on closing. If you shut down your computer directly after using Beersmith and before Dropbox has synced all that data, any changes you make won't propagate to the other systems. If you open Beersmith on any of those other systems before Dropbox is synced, those changes might be lost as Beersmith overwrites the data with the "newer" data. After closing Beersmith, watch the Dropbox icon to ensure sync is up to date before shutting down.

Likewise, if you have just started your computer, make sure Dropbox has had time to log in and sync folders before starting Beersmith. If you start Beersmith before Dropbox has synced, you may lose changes.

If you do forget to do these things, Dropbox does have an option to restore a folder to a previously saved state. However, this will not get back conflicted data that has not synced.

If you follow these practices, you should be able to maintain sync of your Beersmith database with any number of computers. I've been doing it for years between a laptop and a desktop. And although I have not tested it, this technique should work with other cloud syncing services like OneDrive, Google Drive, Box and others.

I hope this helps! Cheers.

 

modification