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Please Help - I can't access MS Money Data any more - original or back up files RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi

    Are there any experts that can talk me through getting access to my MS Money data again, please?

    It all went wrong today and I am incredibly stressed about the implications of not being able to access the data. I have a back up version.

    I can't believe that this is happening - I don't think that I did anything wrong.

    Please help me - I'm cracking up under the stress. I am happy to pay if we get a result.

    Thanks

    Monday, January 12, 2015 3:18 PM

Answers

  • Glad to hear that you are up and running!  Re the location of your .mny file:

      - You said that you opened your "back up data file".  If this was a .bak file, Money should have asked you where to save the recovered file, which is a .mny file.  You should be able to search and find it.  Presumably it will be the newest .mny file that you find.

      - If your "back up file"was .mny file that you had stored in a different location, Money will continue to save it in that location.  You can see the location by using File>Open which will pop up a window with the folder that Money most recently accessed.

    In either case, make a note of where the file is, close Money, and then verify that Money will open when you double-click on that file.  If it's not in your "My Documents" folder, move it there.  Then you should be able to open it without having to log in as an administrator.

    A couple of clarifications:

      - The name "Money 2003.mny" is the name that you or the program chose when you first created the file.  If you upgraded to Money 2005 at some point, the file data format would change but the file name would not change unless you changed it.

      - Since you are in the UK, Money 2005 UK is the latest version available.  It is possible to export your data from UK Money 2005 and then import it into US Money Sunset, but it's a complicated process and you will loose your customized reports, scheduled bills, and some data fields.  I believe that most users have concluded that the few additional features of US Money Sunset aren't worth the trouble.

      - My experience with Money (since Money 99) is that it is reliable and very robust against most computer "glitches".  But nothing is 100% so you need to have multiple backups to be sure that you can recover for a hardware or software problem.

     Recommendations:

      - Set up money so that it creates a backup every time you close it.  Go to Tools>Settings>Backup Settings and choose or create a folder in your "My Documents" folder to hold these backups.  Don't put the folder in the c:\Program Files(x86)\Money 2005 folder.  Tell Money to keep at least a dozen backups so that you can recover if, for example, you discover that you had a problem a week ago.

      - I believe that Money 2005 UK also allows a second, scheduled backup.  Using the same Tools>Settings>Backup Settings, set up Money to ask you to create a Scheduled Backup once a day.  Select the backup location as some type of external media such as a flash drive or CD/DVD.  Have at least two such backup drives or CD/DVDs and swap them occasionally.   Again, keep multiple backup files.  Storage is cheap!  Keep these backups in a safe location separate from your laptop.  If you know how to safely encrypt and upload files you can alternately use an online storage system such as Carbonite or Google Drive.

      - If Money 2005 UK doesn't offer the scheduled backup capability, you must manually copy your backups periodically to external media as described above.


    Bill Becker

    • Proposed as answer by Bill Becker Wednesday, January 28, 2015 3:43 AM
    • Marked as answer by Peter JA Barrett Wednesday, January 28, 2015 6:36 AM
    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 3:48 AM

All replies

  • Please provide more detail:

      - what version of Money? (US, UK, Sunset?)

      - what operating system? (Windows XP, 7, 8?)

    What happens when you double-click on your Money.mny file?


    Bill Becker

    Monday, January 12, 2015 5:44 PM
  • Bill Thanks for responding. I have Microsoft Money 2003 - though I think it was "upgraded" online to Microsoft 2005 a while back. I still have the original Microsoft Money 2003 installation disks. I am operating Windows Vista Home Premium - with Service Pack 2. When I press on the .mny file, MS Money opens - but I get the message about not being able to open the file because of access rights etc. Whilst in MS Money, when I try to open the back up file, it does a lot of whirring and then says the same. I have uninstalled MS Money 2003 (2005 as indicated above) and installed the MS Money Sunset Deluxe version. I thought the problem might be that in trying to fix the original problem, when I reinstalled MS Money 2003 today I wiped out the upgrade to 2005 - so the program wouldn't read the files created by the program previously when it was upgraded to 2005. This didn't work - so I uninstalled MS Money 2003 and installed the file called USMoneyDlxSunset.exe. I downloaded this from the English version of Microsoft's site today. I didn't obsess with the file name indicating US even though I based in the UK - especially when I opened it and it used the £ rather than the $ symbol. I hoped that because this was a later version than MS Money 2005 (the version I think created the main and the data and back up files), then it would open the files without any problem. No such joy! I'm stumped now - hence my plea for help. I'm certainly not tech savvy but neither am I, IMHO, an idiot. I am just overwhelmed by the amount of information on the forum and just want to step through the analysis of the problem and the resolution one step at at time. Hope this information helps you to help me! Sincere thanks for your time . Peter
    Monday, January 12, 2015 7:04 PM
  • First, let's get you back to a version that will open your existing Money file.  You are correct that Money 2003 won't open a Money 2005 file.  And, in addition, Money US versions won't open a file created by Money UK.  Assuming that you are in the UK, the version you need to install is Money 2005 - QFE2 which can be downloaded from the link in the second "sticky" post in this forum:

    https://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/479281b2-90f9-42ca-85f7-644fc6e1e5c3/download-microsoft-money-installation-files-solve-activation-and-some-other-errors?forum=money

    Once you have uninstalled Money 2003 and installed the downloaded Money 2005 UK, try doubling-clicking on your Money.mny file.  If still no joy, report exactly what the error message is.


    Bill Becker

    Monday, January 12, 2015 8:09 PM
  • Bill I uninstalled the version of Money on my laptop (the US Sunset Deluxe one) and installed the Money 2005 UK - QFE2 one indicated on the laptop. When I double click on the data file (c.f. Backup file), it all works OK until I get to the "About updating your Money file". This runs but finishes with the Money cannot locate ...... Or cannot open it, possibly because it is a read-only file or you do not have permission to change it, or your disk-drive is write protected. Etc." Does this help with the diagnosis of the problem? Thanks Peter
    Monday, January 12, 2015 9:05 PM
  • OK, so you are seeing the same problem even though you have done a fresh install of Money 2005 UK.  This suggests that the problem is with the .mny file or its permissions.  

    Did you make any changes to your computer just before this began happening?  Any crashes or recent updates?

    If not, here a a few thing to try:

      - find the Sample.mny file (probably in Program Files>Microsoft Money) and see if that will open

      - sign on to your computer as an administrator and see if your normal .mny file will open

      - look for a recent backup (.mbf) file and see if you can open that


    Bill Becker


    • Edited by Bill Becker Tuesday, January 13, 2015 4:03 PM typo
    Monday, January 12, 2015 9:41 PM
  • Hi Bill I tried to open they sample.mny file found in c:\program files (x86)\microsoft money 2005. The same error message occured as when I tried to open my data file. I then started MS Money 2005 by right clicking and selecting "Run as administrator". I was then able to open the sample.mny file. I then tied to open my data file (money 2003.mny) - but the same old error message occured. I then tried to open my back up data file - and it worked! OMG as the kids say! I am so pleased! I daren't turn the lap top off - I'm concerned that it might all go wrong again. Whilst MS Money is open (it shows "money 2003" in the top left hand corner - even though I thought I had "upgraded" it to MS Money 2005 using the patch - maybe this is just taken from the file name for the data), is there any way that I can see where the data fille and back up file will be saved? I think I might have avoided an absolute nightmare couple of weeks thanks to your help - if you could just bear with me yo get me on a safer footing it would be much appreciated. Thanks. Peter
    Monday, January 12, 2015 10:30 PM
  • You can choose a backup location with File>Backup.  I have to run out to a meeting but will post more detail later.

    Bill Becker

    Monday, January 12, 2015 10:35 PM
  • Bill Thanks. I've done that. I chose a new file name. Any thoughts on how I check where the main data file for this version will be stored. Dare I log off and try to log in again as my normal user (c.f. administrator)? Having created safe data and back up files, should is ever consider going to the a Sunset version of MS Money - or is that just looking for trouble without any real benefit? Thanks sincerely for your time and advise - I had pretty much given up hope of getting my data back. I'm still feeling pretty sceptical about the program - but hopefully my faith in it can be restored over the next few days. Once again - thanks so much. Peter
    Monday, January 12, 2015 10:56 PM
  • Glad to hear that you are up and running!  Re the location of your .mny file:

      - You said that you opened your "back up data file".  If this was a .bak file, Money should have asked you where to save the recovered file, which is a .mny file.  You should be able to search and find it.  Presumably it will be the newest .mny file that you find.

      - If your "back up file"was .mny file that you had stored in a different location, Money will continue to save it in that location.  You can see the location by using File>Open which will pop up a window with the folder that Money most recently accessed.

    In either case, make a note of where the file is, close Money, and then verify that Money will open when you double-click on that file.  If it's not in your "My Documents" folder, move it there.  Then you should be able to open it without having to log in as an administrator.

    A couple of clarifications:

      - The name "Money 2003.mny" is the name that you or the program chose when you first created the file.  If you upgraded to Money 2005 at some point, the file data format would change but the file name would not change unless you changed it.

      - Since you are in the UK, Money 2005 UK is the latest version available.  It is possible to export your data from UK Money 2005 and then import it into US Money Sunset, but it's a complicated process and you will loose your customized reports, scheduled bills, and some data fields.  I believe that most users have concluded that the few additional features of US Money Sunset aren't worth the trouble.

      - My experience with Money (since Money 99) is that it is reliable and very robust against most computer "glitches".  But nothing is 100% so you need to have multiple backups to be sure that you can recover for a hardware or software problem.

     Recommendations:

      - Set up money so that it creates a backup every time you close it.  Go to Tools>Settings>Backup Settings and choose or create a folder in your "My Documents" folder to hold these backups.  Don't put the folder in the c:\Program Files(x86)\Money 2005 folder.  Tell Money to keep at least a dozen backups so that you can recover if, for example, you discover that you had a problem a week ago.

      - I believe that Money 2005 UK also allows a second, scheduled backup.  Using the same Tools>Settings>Backup Settings, set up Money to ask you to create a Scheduled Backup once a day.  Select the backup location as some type of external media such as a flash drive or CD/DVD.  Have at least two such backup drives or CD/DVDs and swap them occasionally.   Again, keep multiple backup files.  Storage is cheap!  Keep these backups in a safe location separate from your laptop.  If you know how to safely encrypt and upload files you can alternately use an online storage system such as Carbonite or Google Drive.

      - If Money 2005 UK doesn't offer the scheduled backup capability, you must manually copy your backups periodically to external media as described above.


    Bill Becker

    • Proposed as answer by Bill Becker Wednesday, January 28, 2015 3:43 AM
    • Marked as answer by Peter JA Barrett Wednesday, January 28, 2015 6:36 AM
    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 3:48 AM
  • Hi Bill I've got a massive day at work today so won't be able to work through your answers - probably until Friday. It is all much appreciated though - hopefully I can get MS Money back on a secure footing. When I restored the back up file, it was called "Money 2003 Backup ii.mbf". Is there any significance to the file extension - it wasn't a ".bak" file that you mentioned? Thanks again for your continued support. All the best Peter
    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 3:48 PM
  • Thanks for catching this.  You are correct.  The backups for Money files are, in fact, .mbf files.  I've edited my posting.

    Bill Becker

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 4:06 PM
  • Bill I just wanted to say thanks for all your help two weeks ago. When I first had the problem I was completely stressed out - as you could no doubt tell! I really appreciate the way that you helped me unravel the mess - it was very good of you. Sincere thanks Peter
    Tuesday, January 27, 2015 7:04 PM
  • Hi Bill Unable to start a new thread - but hopefully this will get through to you. Do you know of any way of creating a report in MS Money that shows only those transactions that have not been accepted? I have tried for years without success - mainly because I can't access the field that shows whether a transaction is accepted or not when using any of the MS Money reports or searches. Any thoughts? Irritating to struggle like this when I know that the data is held! Thanks
    Saturday, April 30, 2016 12:19 PM
  • Yes, the Accepted/Unaccepted flag is definitely in the database, but I also can't see a way to use it in the reports interface.

    You can use that flag in the Account Register.  Go to the "View:" field and select "Unaccepted Transactions" from the dropdown menu.  Then the account register will just show those and you can, if nothing else, print a screen shot.

    Maybe someone who has been digging into the Money database will have a more clever suggestion.


    Bill Becker

    Saturday, April 30, 2016 2:59 PM
  • Hi Bill Thanks for that. I currently use that method to identify Unaccepted transactions. Any suggestions from anyone as to how to identify all the Unaccepted transactions across all the accounts at once would be greatly appreciated. A report would be great - particularly if it could be exported to Excel. Thanks as ever to all who read this. Peter
    Saturday, April 30, 2016 7:45 PM
  • If by "unaccepted" you mean transactions that are not reconciled, you can make that selection in the Account Transactions report. The option is under the details tab in the customization dialog. However, I see that there is a separate selection on the account view for "unaccepted", which is not the same as unreconciled.

    Bob - MSN Mobile

    Sunday, May 1, 2016 1:54 AM
  • Bob Thanks for that. I do mean "Unaccepted" as opposed to "Unreconciled". Thanks though. All the best Peter
    Sunday, May 1, 2016 11:39 AM
  • In the Account List, the "To Review" column should say "Transactions to read: 1" if there is one unaccepted transaction in the account.

    Click on  "Transactions to read: " to process the transaction(s).

    I used the Shortcuts icon at the top of Money to make the Account List have its own icon. I also have the Account List set to display when Money opens:
    Tools->Settings->ProgramSettings and set the
    (GeneralDisplay:)StartMoneyWithThisPageOpen:AccountList.



    Sunday, May 1, 2016 3:42 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Cal Thanks for that. I use that screen pretty much as you do - but what I'm trying to do is generate a report showing the transactions on any accounts that are Unaccepted - I can use the screen to work out how many there are but I can't as yet work out how to run a report showing JUST the unaccepted transactions. Basically, the report that I generate showing the U accepted transactions would be my To Do list. I need to find paperwork to support the transactions before accepting them. I want to be able to share this list with other people who don't have access to MS Money. Weird that it is so difficult to access the relevant flag. I'm sure that there will be a way in the end. Thanks for sticking with it!
    Sunday, May 1, 2016 5:01 PM
  • When you customize the report, on the Details tab, there should be an option to specify Reconciled, Unreconciled, or both.
    Sunday, May 1, 2016 5:52 PM
  • Hi Cal Thanks for that. I use that screen pretty much as you do - but what I'm trying to do is generate a report showing the transactions on any accounts that are Unaccepted - I can use the screen to work out how many there are but I can't as yet work out how to run a report showing JUST the unaccepted transactions. Basically, the report that I generate showing the U accepted transactions would be my To Do list. I need to find paperwork to support the transactions before accepting them. I want to be able to share this list with other people who don't have access to MS Money. Weird that it is so difficult to access the relevant flag. I'm sure that there will be a way in the end. Thanks for sticking with it!

    The Barry-Schwarz idea of using Reconciled for this purpose is interesting, but that is usually used for balancing against a bank statement.

    If you did not use the Business version of Money, you could accept transactions with no category. So you would use the "no category" to indicate more info needed.  You could generate a report of those with no category. To do that, Clear All categories, and tick "Include unassigned expense transactions " and "Include unassigned income transactions ". Then assign a category when the justifications or whatever are supplied. Also, Money can be set to fill in the category for a given payee, so that method would not work in that case.

    A more general way would be to could create a new NeedsInfo  or TBD category. Generate a report of transactions with this category. Maybe call the category _WhatIsThis to make it appear at the top of the alphabetical order list.

    A category that you want to be able to enter quickly can be given an Abbreviation in the Category details. You can make the abbreviation w and by typing "w" tab, the category will be filled in. You can even use a single question mark as the abbreviation? I just tried it!

    Sunday, May 1, 2016 7:44 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Cal Some interesting ideas that you put forward about creating and assigning a "TBD" type category - that is certainly worth trying. As you recognise though, it will involve a fair bit of manual intervention (each transaction - one at a time). It is "better" in my view than the Reconciled / Unreconciled flag though. Anyone know how to get to the underlying Accepted flag though?! Thanks
    Tuesday, May 3, 2016 8:29 AM
  • Hi Cal Some interesting ideas that you put forward about creating and assigning a "TBD" type category - that is certainly worth trying. As you recognise though, it will involve a fair bit of manual intervention (each transaction - one at a time). It is "better" in my view than the Reconciled / Unreconciled flag though. Anyone know how to get to the underlying Accepted flag though?! Thanks

    I opened a Money file, with some unaccepted transactions, in Sunriise. I don't know how I could use the info, but the "rt" column = 0 may be unaccepted and =-1 may be accepted. I don't know how this could be turned into a report, but maybe hleOFXquotes, the author, would know.

    It seems easy enough to me to go to an account register, select View: unaccepted transactions. Then File->Print.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2016 6:59 PM
    Moderator
  • And if you are a big spender ($199!) there is a utility that claims to be able to import print jobs into Excel:

    https://www.print2excel.com/

    Disclaimer:  I know nothing about this utility and so pursue at your own risk!


    Bill Becker

    Tuesday, May 3, 2016 10:19 PM
  • Hi Bill Interesting idea - thanks. Risking total ridicule - what is Sunriise and how do I get hold of it, please? Thanks. Peter
    Wednesday, May 4, 2016 6:54 AM
  • You can read a bit about it here:

    http://sunriise.sourceforge.net/

    The project doesn't seem to be active.  A more recent effort to understand the structure of the Money file and extract data is one by Dick Watson:

    http://littlegreengecko.com/MSMstuff/money_reverse_engineering.html

    Both of these projects are focused on getting data out of the Money data file.  In principle, that information, coupled with a good bit of programming, could allow using data from a Money file in a different program.  In addition, understanding the data structure should give insights into how to modify the Money program code to add new functionality.  The latter is likely to require a lot of additional effort.


    Bill Becker


    • Edited by Bill Becker Thursday, May 5, 2016 4:36 PM typo
    Wednesday, May 4, 2016 1:24 PM
  • Yes, cs == 0 is unaccepted.

    The good news is that it will be straightforward to write up a small java program to scan the transaction table to pull out the matching  row.

    The bad news is that if you will need to set up the Eclipse build env and know java.

    No promise, but if I can find some times this week-end, I can write something up that will read the *.mny file and save the matching row to a *.csv file.

    Best,

    Thursday, May 5, 2016 3:54 AM
  • Hi Cal Thanks for the reply. Your suggestion about printing unaccepted transactions is certainly useful. Ideally though, I would like one report that contains the unaccepted transactions across ALL accounts rather than one account at a time. If I could somehow capture the print output as a .CSV file I could no doubt manipulate several files to generate the data that I would like. Thanks for the suggestion though - I didn't know about the File Print functionality in the Account Register view. All the best Peter
    Thursday, May 5, 2016 8:11 AM
  • Bill Thanks for expanding on the earlier post. I've looked at the websites and though I can just about grasp what they are talking about, trying to get involved myself is a non starter! Amazing what some people are able to achieve though. Thanks Peter
    Thursday, May 5, 2016 8:13 AM
  • Hi HLEOFXQUOTES2 Wow - it would be really great if you could write a program to extract the details (account name, date, payee, amount, memo, category etc.) of Unaccepted transactions! I am assuming that the comments about "Eclipse" etc. would be relevant if I was doing the coding of the extract / report? Hopefully, if you are able t do this I will somehow be able to run the program that you create against my .mny file. I have Java 8 Update 91 installed on my laptop. Really appreciate any help you can provide. Given that the Accepted / Unaccepted flag is definitely stored, it has be me a bit of a mission to gain access to it. It seems that doing so is outside of the functionality of MS Money - which is where you have kindly indicated that you may be able to help. All the best Peter
    Thursday, May 5, 2016 8:22 AM
  • See new thread: sunriise2: Tool to search all accounts for unaccepted transaction

    I had a typo on on one of the reply (apology to Cal who did the initial investigation). It is NOT column 'cs', rather column 'rt' (-1 is accepted, unaccepted otherwise: I've seen value of 0, 1, 3 ...)

    Friday, May 6, 2016 7:49 AM