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Using Legacy on your main computer and your laptop - how to exchange information and multimedia

Question from Ron:

"My Legacy family file is on my home computer, but I want to take it with me on a laptop. Is it possible to copy my data AND my pictures to my laptop?"

Our answer:

Yes Ron, this is certainly possible. First, be sure that Legacy is installed on both your computer and your laptop. (Note: you do not have to purchase Legacy twice to do this.) Here are the step-by-step instructions:

1. With Legacy open on your main computer, go to File > Backup Family File. On the "Customize Backup" screen, make sure that there are checkmarks next to "Data Files" and "Multimedia Files".


2. Click on the "Select Name and Location for Data Backup" button and change the backup's location to the location of your removable media (USB drive, CD, etc.). After changing the location for the Data Files, Legacy will ask you if you want to set the Multimedia backup folder to be the same. Click "Yes".

The name of the backup file consists of three parts:


In this case, the family file's backup name is "Sample 2010-02-11 9.25.30 AM.zip". If you do not want the date and time as part of the backup's file name, turn off these options by clicking on the Options button.

3. Click on the "Backup" button. Legacy now compresses the data files and multimedia files. In the end, you will have two backup files that have ".zip" at the end of their file name.

4. Now we need to restore/extract these files on your laptop. With Legacy open on your laptop, and after inserting your portable media (USB drive, CD, etc.) into your laptop, go to File > Restore Family File and navigate to the drive where you saved the backups. Click on the backup file (the one without the word "multimedia" and click "Open". When asked to "Enter a name to restore the family file as" just leave everything as it is and click "Save".

Your Legacy family file has now been "restored" to your laptop.

5. If you want the multimedia to also appear on your laptop you need to "extract" them. In Step 3, Legacy gathered all of the multimedia that you had linked to your family file and compressed them into a ".zip" file.

Using Windows Explorer or "My Computer" we'll extract these images. Go to Start > Computer > and select the drive where the backup resides. Double-click the backup file (the one with the word 'multimedia' in the file name). On the next screen, click on the "Extract All Files" button (this is what it is called in Windows 7. In Windows Vista I think it's the same think. In Windows XP, it might just say "Extract". Earlier versions of Windows probably require an UnZip program like WinZip.)

Now you need to tell Windows where you will extract the pictures.


If you've kept everything in c:\Legacy\Data, then just navigate to c:\ as shown in the image above and click "Extract".

All done! Everything should now be on your laptop. 

Now you bring your laptop to the library, courthouse, or cemetery and hopefully add lots of new information. When you get home, follow all of the above steps to backup and restore the family file from the laptop to your main computer.

There are other ways of keeping multiple computers in sync. I'd love to hear from those with these other methods in the comments below....


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Just as another option - Microsoft has a free syncing program - Live Sync. I use this on my netbook and desktop to keep my database the same on both computers. I simply install the program on both computers and then set up Live Sync to syncronise the Legacy program folder between the 2 computers. Best of all - IT'S FREE!

I've taken the plunge and installed Dropbox. I've shifted all my data to the My Dropbox folder and everything seems to be working fine. I can now use my Legacy on 2 pc's.

Except I've just come across a problem that was previously asked about by Kent Robinson.
I too use XP on my pc and W7 on my laptop. The directory structure is slightly different between both OS and so the locations directory structure changes within the Legacy program when I use one or the other. I've posted a message to the Dropbox forum if there is a work around. Keep you posted.

@ Kent Robinson
I've sorted out my minor problem with Dropbox.
Dropbox installs to My Documents which has a different directory structure between XP and Windows 7. The trick is to right click on the Dropbox icon on the systray (bottom-right), click on Preferences and move the Dropbox folder to c:\... simple really.
Oh, BTW. I'm still sendinf the backups to the default directory of Legacy. Just in case...

I'd recommend Dropbox to anyone.

@C Knight:
Why not just add a D partition to your laptop so that your computer drives are structured alike?

My desktop is no longer connected to the internet. As I cannot therefore update legacy I will not be able to restore from my laptop as legacy won't open newer versions. Any way this can be updated perhaps by copying files to usb keys?

I'm a fan of Dropbox. The reason being that I needed to use Dropbox to allow me to make the most of Legacy7. I often visit libraries and Archives and collect data, process it on my laptop and then need to synchronise it with my deskop when I get home. Dropbox is perfect for this. As one contrubtor noted, wait a few moments between closing Legacy7 and shutting down the computer: give Dropbox time to synchronise. For home network users, Dropbox also has an option to synchronise over your LAN rather than the Internet.

@Al Jensen

That would be ideal to have a D partition on the laptop but I think I would have to rebuild my system to do that(reload Windows, etc.). Maybe there is some software that allows you to create a new partition without wiping out everything. For now, I've just moved my multimedia files to drive C on the home PC and that is working fine when I switch to the laptop.

In order to keep everything synced on my PC and laptop I use Microsoft Live Sync. A free program that syncs over the internet. I just select the entire Legacy program folder and everything is transfered. Just be sure you don't make a change on one then make a change on the other before you sync it - you will loose data!

I have tried the way suggested and find this to be the very easiest way.

Open window Explorer by right clicking the start button. Find the Legacy file on your C drive, and copy the whole file by right clicking. Then right click the drive you want to save it to and select copy. By doing it this way you are not installing Legacy again, so do not need to reset all your Legacy settings again. Additionally, many lap tops do not have a disk drive or are netbooks which means they do not have a hard drive to install the Legacy program on. So you run the program from your portable drive regarless of which computer you are using.


Is there any way to access Legacy on Apple IPad?

Alta - hopefully within a week or so the "Families" application will allow you to run Legacy Family Tree from an iPhone or iPad.

Will this work. Get a sync program. I use one called Allway Sync to sync My desktop and my Laptop. The basic version is free for moderate personal use. You can sync it in more then one direction if you need it. Legacy is installed on both computers. I set a schedule daily and sync my Folder called Legacy from my desktop Legacy folder on my laptop in a oneway sync. All my work is done on the desktop. I use the laptop to take on trips to show my trees (8), and as a backup in case of one computer fails. This method copies everything and I have not had a problem. PS I also backup to a USB 3 hardrive once a week my Legacy folder and another folder called Gen that contains all my Census and image files of documents. Doing this for a few years without problems.

Thanks for the DropBox information. I have been looking for a way to get relatives to easily view and keep in sync with my master files. I think I can perhaps have them automatically sync my drop box location (which is not in Legacy) directly to their C:\Legacy\Data and C:\Legacy\Pictures folders. It seems most of my relatives cannot handle file copy and paste instructions, perhaps they can't handle DropBox either but certainly some of them can. Thanks again. GJW

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