New user question on using two computers for same file

New to the board but I’ve been dabbling with my trees for years via various software and online subscriptions. I’ve just installed RM8 on my two computers, one in the house and one in an unattached shop/office. I spend most of my day in the shop and evenings and early morning in the house. Prior to this I’ve only used one computer and had RM7 installed on it. I’d like to be able to now work with RM8 on both computers and make changes to my trees on either but yet keep just one working file(s). I’m quite sure RM doesn’t have a sync feature for this purpose so I’m looking for advice on what would be the easiest way to handle keeping two computers “synced” daily. I’m guessing it’ll involve a memory card or memory stick to back up to?


On a mac you could just put your media and database on iCloud. The OS has a setting for to put the documents and desktop folder in the cloud and sync as needed. This does require good internet service.

People using dropbox apparently need to stop syncing as they work and then restart it.

The simplest approach is a thumb drive to daily transfer the database and media between machines.

After I’d posted my question I thought about it more and found that by using a memory card to make the transfers to/from the computers works good. I just need to transfer the rmtree and lst files. A little extra work but I really like using both computers so it’s worth it. The only other problem I see right now is that I’ll need to figure out the media location issue for the two comps. I guess I’ll just need to be sure to add any new media to both.

Thanks for your reply Rooty

You don’t need to move the .lst file, just the .rmtree file.

Assuming that you have internet in both the huse and the shop, I would suggest using cloud storage to move back an forth. Support suggests you not use cloud storage for your data file, but mine lives in my local Google Drive folder. I just turn synch off while actively using it. Even if you elected to not have it live in a cloud storage folder, you can move the file between computers.

As for the media, if you have room, why not create your media folder inside a cloud storage folder, then make sure you sync the folder on the other computer. In my case, I have a Media folder in my desktop Google Drive folder, I also have a Media folder in my laptop Google Drive folder. I have Google Drive set to leave the folder on the hard drive, as opposed to storing it in the cloud and downloading on demand. When I add a media file to RM on my laptop, the media gets put into my RM media, then it automagically syncs to my desktop folder via Google Drive.

All great advice. I use Google Drive as well and have plenty of room available, but don’t currently use the PC version that installs a program on the comp (I think) but rather just the cloud version (if that makes sense). I can experiment with this method as it would be a bit easier than the memory card. And yes, I have internet on both computers.
I’m currently trying to sort out the media items I’ve brought from RM7 and FTM 2014.1 and get them correctly into RM8. I should know, but does RM8 store all media items, for all my trees, in just one common folder which would be the RM8 Media folder? I don’t have the FTM program available right now but it seems it keeps each tree’s media in it’s own folder?

I’m not a Mac user and for all I know RM databases might work just fine with iCloud. The key is whether or not iCloud tries to sync an RM database while the database is open. Dropbox tries to sync an RM database even though it is open. OneDrive does not try to sync an RM database when it is open.

Is it known for sure how iCloud behaves with respect to syncing RM databases? Just the fact that iCloud works fine with other kinds of files does not necessarily mean that it works fine with RM databases.

FTM 2019 and RM8 do not store media in the database but simply links to it. I use one media folder for both programs with subfolders for each family (smith john…jone mary). FTM really wants all media in one folder but RM8 is excellent at using subfolders. Heredis and MacFamilyTree do include media files in the database. Media does not get lost but the file gets huge and what happens if you add a bad media item?

FTM remains my master database but if RM8 on the mac ever becomes functional I can switch over with a gedcom transfer and relink media easily.

I guess what I’m trying to do is get all the media files that I’d collected previously in both FTM 2014.1 and RM7 into RM8. Some of the media had their own subfolders (families) and some didn’t. Is it as simple as putting all of these items into the default RM8 Media folder and then pointing the “fix broken links” at that folder? I do like the idea of having family subfolders but not sure how I’d go about doing it. Probably creating family media subfolders and then try and place those items pertaining to those specific trees into the appropriate subfolder? I’d then point the “fix broken links” at each folder? Going forward I want to only use RM8 exclusively and need to understand how many of the shared items (census for example) would be accessed if I had family subfolders. I need to do more reading on how to do this. I’ve been away from all this for a few years and I can see I’ve got some re-learning to do but I’ll get there. :man_facepalming:

Thanks for the help so far!

Pretend for a second that RM8 didn’t have a default media folder feature at all. In that case, any media file could be anywhere on your disk at all.

  • You could have all your media files in one humongous folder.
  • You could have all your media files in one folder with a bunch of subfolders. You could have subfolders based on family names. You could have subfolders based on geography with one folder for Bell County, Kentucky and another folder for Sullivan County, Missouri, etc. You could have subfolders based on type of records with one subfolder for birth records and another subfolder for marriage records, etc.
  • You could have your media files scattered in subfolders all over your disk in a way that makes sense to you but that doesn’t have all the subfolders in a single folder and subfolder tree structure.
  • You could have media files scattered all over your disk with no structure at all.

RM doesn’t care. It finds media files based on where you tell RM they are when you enter them into the system rather than based on the Default Media Folder option. So our pretending that the Default Media Folder option doesn’t even exist isn’t so far fetched. Indeed, RM’s default media folder option prior to RM8 didn’t mean anything at all. It certainly wasn’t where RM went looking for files. You went looking for files and you told RM where they were. That’s how RM found them, not by using the default media folder.

To a certain extent RM8’ default media folder option works the same way as RM7 and to a certain extent RM8’s default media folder option is very different. When you are linking files into RM8, the Default Media Folder option continues to be pretty irrelevant. But after that, RM8’s Default Media Folder option does have a relevance that wasn’t there in RM7.

The differences is follows. In RM7, suppose you had all your media files in one folder and decided to move them all to a different folder. You probably would have had to run the Fix Broken links tool to relink your files. Well, there was an RM7 Search and Replace option that you could have used to fix the folder names in RM, but most users would have needed to run Fix Broken Links.

With RM8, if you move all your media files from one folder to another and if you are using the Default Media Folder option, the only thing you would have to do to fix the problem would be to se the Default Media Folder option to the new folder and you are done.

The same kinds of issues arise when you move all your media files from one computer to another, or when you are using RM on two different computers where the media files are in a different location on the two computers. RM7 had no flexibility in these matters, and RM8 has great flexibility in these matters. But I would repeat and repeat and repeat that RM8’s Default Media Folder option has little effect on linking your media files into RM in the first place. You simply have to link RM to the files wherever the files really are. The new option in RM8 comes into play when you move media files around or when you move your media files to a new computer or when you share media files between multiple computers.

I guess I understand the part with RM8 looking for items in the location I put them in, whether that be the default Media folder or any other folders I would choose to keep them in. Provided of course that the items are there when the program looks for them. That clears up a lot. What I still don’t understand is, for example, say I “save” a 1940 census from Ancestry to my computer for one person and I choose to place it in a family subfolder, what would I do if I needed to use that same 1940 census for another person in another family subfolder? Save it twice? I’ve forgotten, but wouldn’t a census in this case also be a source or citation to be used again and again? I’m probably missing the obvious here and need to watch a few more videos.

Thank you Jerry

No, you don’t need to save it twice. You can ‘link’ (aka tag) the file to as many people or citations as you want. For example, if you had a family photo. You could tag all the family members to that one copy of the picture.

I think it was Jerry who has previously described that he sorts his Census records by geography instead of family as there may be many persons in multiple families on any one page.

So much to learn. I don’t remember using tags in RM7 although I can see the benefit for sure. I’m thinking I’ll organize all my gathered media items from my various trees into subfolders and go from there. I’ve learned a lot just today, so thanks.