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Member Since 26 Apr 2008
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Topics I've Started

Backup without conflict

27 February 2019 - 04:40 PM

I've just posted a new page to the SQLite Tools blog which starts by saying:


Neither the RootsMagic File>Backup nor File>Copy can proceed because the database file “is being used by another process” (RootsMagic’s own or your SQLite manager or other outboard SQLite connection). And if you’ve chosen Backup, RM gracelessly blocks you from further work with an always-on-top fake news message window “Creating backup file…” requiring closure of RM to clear.

If you were using a SQLite manager that’s connected to the database file, you have to close it in order to use RM’s utilities and then reopen it with numerous steps to finally execute the SQL you’ve been carefully crafting to make some important changes to your data. That disruption takes time, may lose some valuable history from the SQLite manager and, perhaps, derail your train of thought. Same goes for ordinary users getting thrown off track after running Compact and other unknown things that screw up the RM backup.

Outboard zip utilities such as 7Zip, RAR, WinZip,… all, to the best of my knowledge, require the closure of all other processes for them to proceed but do handle such a blockage gracefully, unlike RM4-7. It’s not sufficient that RM get to handle the blockage gracefully; it shouldn’t be blocked at all!

and concludes with


  1. There are multiple ways to backup a RootsMagic database while it is open in both the RootsMagic application and one or more outboard SQLite connections.
  2. Using these other ways instead of the RootsMagic backup function may also avoid the recurring situation when RootsMagic blocks itself from completing a backup; a forced shutdown is the only way to resume working in RootsMagic.
  3. For the less technically proficient, Windows File Explorer provides a convenient alternative to the RM backup, even from within the RootsMagic user interface.
  4. RootsMagic developers should look into some of these alternatives that work with SQLite to resolve the conflict with outboard SQLite connections. Especially appropriate could be the Online Backup API because it is native to SQLite and aware of other users of the database, allowing them to “continue uninterrupted while a backup of an online database is made”.


For the complete story, see 

Backup database open in both SQLite and RootsMagic

Backup blocked by SQLite tool doesn't have to be an issue

21 February 2019 - 11:03 AM

I tried something recently that proved surprising and revealing. I've been caught out numerous times starting a RM backup when the database file was also 'open' in SQLiteSpy (and this observation may apply to others). RM throws an exception error that it cannot do the backup because the file is in use by another application and then gracelessly blocks you from doing anything more in RM. Then I have to close both RM and SQLiteSpy and start over! It's a real nuisance and I don't understand why it should happen when I know that no SQLite query is in progress and the database is static. And even if a read-only query is in progress, isn't the database still static and a read-only backup should be able to run concurrently. That may be a stretch, but...


I have discovered that Windows File Explorer lets me copy or zip a RM file that is open in both RootsMagic and SQLiteSpy.

  • Copying to the same folder auto-renames the file with " (copy)" appended to the name.
  • To zip the open .rmgc file, right-click on the .rmgc file and from the pop-up menu select Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder. It will have the same name as the database file but have the .zip extension.

Windows File Explorer can "Extract all" by default to a subfolder having the name of the database file, a nice safety feature if you want to avoid overwriting the current database. If you change the destination path so that it does overwrite the current database, it won't do so if it is open in either RM or SQLiteSpy but, unlike RM, File Explorer gracefully lets you carry on using it for other things.


Rename that zip file to the .rmgb extension and RM can restore from it (but SQLiteSpy must not have the current one open if overwriting it with the backup.


File Explorer can also backup your media folder (or any other files and folders selected in the FE window) concurrently with the database file. Or subsequently, by dragging and dropping them onto an already created  zip file. However, RM's restore from such a renamed zip file extracts only the .rmgc file. 


So, if Windows File Explorer is capable of zipping and making a copy of a database file that is open in SQLiteSpy or other inactive app, then so should RM. Yes?

TreeShare - random differences after download

05 February 2019 - 12:09 PM

I've just observed some puzzling differences after a TreeShare download - all having to do with Marriage or Marriage Bann events. In one case, an Ancestry Source that must have been linked to the Marriage event in the Ancestry Tree at the time of the download has become disconnected on the AMT. It is linked to the Marriage event in RM and TreeShare Compare shows no such source on the Ancestry side. Browsing Ancestry shows it still in the Sources but connected to nothing while its Marriage event is now connected to what is called an Other Sources > Unsourced Citation with no data.


Another Marriage Bann event that matches on both sides shows the 1 source each has as different and a new source for the other. But they are the same source.


There are other weird ones. 

Media Duplication - survey

05 February 2019 - 09:31 AM

I'm interested in learning the extent with which media files attached to your RootsMagic database have become duplicated over successive migrations of data between databases, TreeShare downloads and updates, WebHints acceptance, etc. It's my expectation that a database that has undergone many updates from an Ancestry Tree via TreeShare is liable to have a larger proportion of duplicate media files than one that has just been downloaded.


Please respond to this post or its sibling on Facebook with your observations of what CCleaner says about your database's media collection.  


The key settings for evaluating one or more folders and sub-folders for any or selected file types are shown in this screenshot.




Other than your subjective reaction, these numbers are of interest:

  1. From RM's File >Database Properties, the number of items in its Media Gallery.
  2. From CCleaner's analysis, the ballpark number of duplicate files in your database's media folder.


Drag'n'Drop breaking TreeShare links to Ancestry Sources

11 January 2019 - 10:06 PM

Warning TreeShare users: do not drag'n'drop from a TreeShare database to a new database if you intend to continue using TreeShare on the new database and will edit source/citations.

Editing certain fields such as the Research Note now triggers a change detection that it does not in the original; updating to the Ancestry Tree results in what was an Ancestry Source also becoming an Other Source.

Why? RM7580 (and maybe some prior updates) no longer copy the Ancestry Source links via drag'n'drop to the new database which then cannot transmit it to Ancestry so that Ancestry recognises the source as an Ancestry Source.