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Backup, Restore, and Synchronize
I used to use The Bat several years and versions ago, and I'm considering switching back to it now. However, while running the evaluation version, I've come across some funny behavior. What I really would like to be able to do is run it on both my desktop and laptop, and keep my full message store on each one, synchronized, using one when I am at home, the other when I am traveling. But I can't seem to get the backup, restore, and synchronize functions to work reliably. I'm wondering if there is something I'm missing regarding how to use them, or if they simply don't work reliably. The help topic (as many of the help topics) is at least two whole versions behind, as the synchronize function in the software bears only a little resemblance to the one described in the help.

Here's what I've done. I installed on two computers on the same network. I first thought maybe I could actually keep the accounts lists in synch, but that didn't really work at all, so instead I added identical accounts on each computer. I then downloaded some messages into each, sent a few test messages, so that the two computers would have different messages. I mapped a drive fr om one computer to the other, and ran the synchronization tool. At first, it appeared to work. But then I found that it behaved strangely once I started moving messages around, deleting them, changing their properties, and so on. Certain changes would get copied over, others wouldn't. For instance, the memo field was occasionally copied over, but usually not. It didn't seem to do anything with messages whose properties had changed on both computers, but didn't warn me that there were collisions, either. Even just moving a message from one folder to another didn't always seem to reliably get transferred.

So then I thought well, this synchronization function would be extremely handy, but maybe it just doesn't work well-- not something I can use on a message store wh ere losing messages is unacceptable. Part of the reason I was hoping to get an actual message-by-message synchronization was that I have tens of thousands of messages that I would be storing, and most of them are archived and don't change, and I don't really want to sit and wait for gigabytes and gigabytes of data to copy from one computer to the other every time, when only a few megabytes likely actually changed or got added or deleted. The other benefit of a true synchronization is the possibility of using both sides, and then synchronizing, rather than having to be very diligent about copying data from one computer to the other before switching to using the other (or else lose data or have permanantly out-of-synch installations with messages on one but not the other).

But if that wouldn't work, I supposed I could use backup and restore instead. Much to my surprise, this didn't even work on the simplest test imaginable: I put two messages in a folder, backed up, deleted the two messages, then restored, and it didn't bring them back. This is a bad sign.

Are these functions just hopelessly broken, or is there some way to make them useful?

If not, exactly what would I have to copy by other means in order to make sure two message stores are identical? Just the folder I have specified as the data folder? Or is there another location that contains more data (or even registry values)? I want to ensure that the second computer gets all the same accounts, folders, virtual folders, common folders, common virtual folders, all the same account options, all the same messages, and all the same message meta-data (like memos, which I don't think are stored in the messages themselves), and do this in a way wh ere I can reliably copy them back and forth regularly and repeatedly without any fear of losing anything I do. The only thing I want different between the two computers are certain application-wide settings, like the window view mode, since one computer has a nice, wide monitor allowing three vertical columns, and the other is a laptop wh ere that would not be the best display configuration.

Anybody have experience with using The Bat this way?

I guess one additional question is why, when messages appear in a folder, the message counts don't always update. I don't just mean in virtual folders, this happens with regular folders, as well. I have to click on each folder in turn to make it update the message counts, which seems very odd.
The last time I tried the backup/restore with TB v5 it worked just fine. Though i've only tried it with pop3 and I can imagine why imap would give less satisfactory results.
The last time I tried the synch option was with v3 and it changed with v4, so I cannot comment on that.
My folder counters upd ate as they should, though I've got one folder that tells me sometimes it has -1 unread messages.

Unless you get the synch option to function properly I don't see any real options to keep them both configs identical when you're using both.
When it's only one computer you're using then you could copy the complete mail directory from one system to the other, that would take care of everything apart from some registry stuff like window sizes etc.

Another option to get all messages on both systems is by configuring all of your pop3 accounts to keep all messages on server for x days and take care that both of your computers check their mail every x days. The way to get your own sent mail on both systems would be to bcc all of your outgoing messages to yourself. (You can automate that by adding a bcc macro to your templates.)
However this way you wouldn't get new folders etc from one se tup to another.
I'm just a user of The Bat! I don't work for Ritlabs.
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I suppose I will have to simply copy the complete mail directory. It doesn't even look to me like common folders are restored properly, so I can't rely on that. It would have been nice to be able to synchronize individual messages, rather than copying an entire multi-gigabyte mail directory every time I switch computers. But the mail directory copying method presents a different question. Is there a way to run Voyager without using an encrypted store? It doesn't seem to me that I can. But I'd like to be able to run the program without installation when away, and on my own computer run a version against a non-encrypted message store. I'm fine with it being unencrypted everywhere, in fact, because I'm perfectly happy to manage my own encryption by saving the messages in a TrueCrypt volume. But the main thing I'm trying to accomplish is to do all of:

1) Run with a non-encrypted message store on my home computer (either Pro or Home version, I'm willing to pay for either).
2) Run a portable version, from a flash drive, without installation, when on another computer.
3) Copy the message store back and forth between my flash drive and my home computer, in order to keep the portable version and the home desktop version perfectly in synch.

The issue, if I haven't made it quite clear, is that Voyager seems to insist on an encrypted message store, which means I can't easily copy it to and from a Pro installation that doesn't use encryption.
Why don't you just use TB on both machines.
OK you will get duplicated emails but hey. Maybe use one machine as the primary and backup / restore to the secondary..
Hi Trajan

I had the same problem with The Bat. To synchronize the mail base in two or more computers is a nightmare.

The backup/restore function, when works, just copy a multi megabytes set of files. The same, of course, if you have to copy the whole mail folder to another PC.

I've not tested in version 5 but the synchronization function doesn't works as well. It is a multistep process that creates (for what I've understood) a small difference file but, it needs to transfer a big file from both installation to compute the differences. It is a very long process.

The only solution is Voyager. It want the data encrypted. But I use it on all my PC. I've stored on an usb HD (the flash cards are too slow) that bring around with me (I have to do anyway for other reason). No installation of The Bat on any computer.

Anyway, you can use the encrypted mail base of Voyager in The Bat. Copy it in The Bat mail folder and it will see it. Of course it will ask the password at the start.
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