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What to do with conflicted copies?

Level 2

Our office has two desktop computers. Both of them access the same Dropbox. No mobile devices or other computers are involved.

In the Dropbox there is a database.

The database is _never_ used from both computers simultaneously.

The idea by our arrangement is that two different people should be able to edit the database on different computers. We were assuming that changes made from one computer would appear when the file was opened on the other one.

But we are getting "conflicted copies".

Now we are all confused because we don't know which of the files contains the most recent changes. That's the file we want.

We are also confused because "conflicted copies" should not appear unless two people worked on the database at the same time. So why does this happen?

 

21 Replies
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Re: What to do with conflicted copies?

Super User II

Åke E. wrote:

We are also confused because "conflicted copies" should not appear unless two people worked on the database at the same time. So why does this happen?


A conflicted copy occurs when a file has been changed from multiple locations. Something has to have the file open in multiple locations for the conflict to occur. A file doesn't necessarily need to change for a conflict to occur. Simply opening it can cause it, especially in Microsoft products which modify a file simply by opening it, even if you don't save it.

 

The only way to know which one contains the correct data is to open both and compare them. Also note that it's not recommended to use database files within Dropbox specifically for this very reason.

 

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Re: What to do with conflicted copies?

Level 2

I use drop box from three machines at the same time. However I only change a file on one machine at a time. I do not have simultaneous access to a single file. You can read a file at the same time, but you may not write to a file from two or more devices at the same time. This is a conflict, what version of the file is the correct version. It is like me interrupting your conversion with some one else. We humans have the same problem in this case.

 

A work around may be to close the programme or app on one computer when done leaving the other computer to work with the shared file.  Thus only one instance of the programme is running on any of the machines at any one time.

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Re: What to do with conflicted copies?

Level 2

I have an idea use one computer only. Have two keyboards (allowed) and have two monitors in duplicate mode. also have two mouses. that works here as I have two keyboards and two mouses connected one on my left and one on my right. I just turn to face the staionI am using. It saves me twisting anturning around all the time. Oh, and I have three screens side by side, I declined a forth screen as my eyes and space are not that wide. I have a "L" shaped desk.

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Re: What to do with conflicted copies?

Super User II
The issue with opening the files is that, unfortunately it DOES change the file. Especially in Office files. This is because it updates the files to the last place the cursor was or the last selected cell etc. It also updates the 'last modified' dates on the properties tabs.

 


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Re: What to do with conflicted copies?

It seems from my experience that this can happen even with the program open only on one computer if you don't allow Dropbox to sync completely before closing the program on your computer (or shutting your computer down).  I use dropbox for a large inventory Excel sheet, and if I hit save, get distracted and start shutting things down before checking whether it has finished syncing, I'll end up with a conflicted file next time I access it.

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Betreff: What to do with conflicted copies?

wbC
Level 4

If you are in the same location you should use a little Network attached storage device... you dont need the dropbox... If its an ACCESS database you can even use the database simultaneous.

While dropbox doesnt recommend that it works perfectly if you stick to some basic rules (we are doing that since longtime from different locations).

- close the databae before you log out from the computer

- always wait until the upload is finished (DB says its up to date)

- before you open the database - be sure that the dropbox is online and up to date

 

one of these points created your problem  - this is the only way to create a conflict copy under the circumstances you described (apart from the possibility that your Internet connection was down while logging out or launching the database).
I let the database create a logfile on the dropbox - when another user violates the rules, it refuses to let him launch the database (this works only if you have split the database and only the datafile is on the dropbox).

slightly smiling face

WB

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Re: What to do with conflicted copies?

Level 2

If you want to see what changes were made (if any) to each of the copies of the conflicted document in a Microsoft file, go into the program (for example, Microsoft Word). You can do this from within one of the conflicted files, or from a blank document (I believe). Go to the REVIEW command on the top bar, and then find the COMPARE option. You put the names of each of the files, and give another name (like "changes") to specify a location where changes might go. Click OK, and then you will see highlights of what is different in each file. There are helpful videos that show how to do this too. Hope this helps.

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Re: What to do with conflicted copies?

Level 2

Hi all

First - this is not a solution suitable to your d/b problem but is a 'quick and non-technical' suggestion should you also share other Office applications (eg Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher) on Dropbox.  I have found it useful with a team of non-technical users.

 

Create and save a file in the application you are sharing (Word, Excel etc) that contains a Text Box' that says in LARGE font

"This file is being used by <name>"

This is preparation.

 

When wanting to work on the shared file . . .

Open the file with the Text Box notice and copy the Text Box object to clipboard

Now open the shared file and straight away paste the Text Box and immediately save the shared file (don't need to close the file).

 

Any other user that now opens the shared file sees the Text Box notice and knows who to contact.

Assuming they don't ignore it (ie. they ARE genuine team-players) you can simply delete the Text Box, make your changes and on re-saving you replace the version that was saved with the Text Box notice.

Absence of notice = freedom to edit.

 

Sure if two (more) users open the shared file before you can paste the Text Box and save (a couple of seconds !!) you may still get the occasional conflicted copy.

 

Rgds

 

 

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Betreff: CONFLICTING COPIES OF ACCESS DB

Level 3

 

Hello,

I quote part of your suggestions:

"I let the database create a logfile on the dropbox - when another user violates the rules, it refuses to let him launch the database (this works only if you have split the database and only the datafile is on the dropbox). WB"

 

How do you let de db create a logfile on the dropbox?

 

Many thanks in advance

Helen

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What to do with conflicted copies?
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