[GNC] Migrating and updating version 2 to 3, originally RE: Migrating and updating version 2 to 4 (Geert Janssens)

rmomxtx at gmail.com rmomxtx at gmail.com
Tue May 11 07:38:36 EDT 2021

Thanks Geert,

Sending this again after I saw that my subject line was not specific. Sorry.

Just now getting around to the steps you suggested to migrate and update
version 2 to 3 and then to 4. I'm being treated for cancer so don't have the
usual energy plus I am doing this at a distance with friends in Mexico via
Zoom. Some answers to your questions and some questions of our own plus a
problem showing the sub-accounts on the chart of accounts.

1. "Saved custom reports is slightly ambiguous..." To clear that up, we are
talking existing report configurations that we have tweaked and saved to
"saved report configurations." 

2. You mentioned a migration tool. Is that a separate program or part of the
installation program? 

3. We chose the second approach, copying the data and metadata to the new PC
and doing the updates there. Stuck on upgrading from 2.6.21 to 3.11 on the
Windows 10 computer. Not sure we did the metadata part correctly.

4. Does metadata mean the entire .gnucash file found in
USERS/username/.gnucash? We did copy that entire file from the Windows 7
computer to the Windows 10 computer in the same place. We created a GnuCash
file in Documents on the new computer and copied over the data file there
from the Windows 7 computer. Then we installed the program, clicked "finish"
opened the program and opened the data file from the file in

5. All the customer accounts were there and the chart of accounts was
complete. Didn't take much to remember how to add columns to the chart of
accounts page and sort on the account code. 

On the chart of accounts page, all of the parent accounts were closed with
the arrow to the left. Assets opened and showed all of the sub-accounts but
none of the other parent accounts would open. We have a further division
between cash and bank accounts and at least one of the sub-parent accounts
would not open. There are 3 levels of sub-accounts: banks and cash. Under
cash, there are several second level accounts plus about 4 cash reserve sub

We ran Action>Check and repair>Check and repair all. That seemed to work at
first as the rest of the asset sub-accounts and the liabilities sub-accounts
opened. But before the process finished the program crashed. We opened it
again and got the message that the program had closed abnormally. We opened
it normally to see if it worked and it had, at least as far as the cash
accounts were concerned. So we ran the Check and repair all option and the
asset and liability sub-accounts opened and the sub-account journals showed
transactions and had the correct balances. The rest of the parent accounts
still did not open correctly to show sub-accounts so we ran Check and repair
again. Got a little further this time but the program crashed again. 

We opened the program again with the same message that the program closed
abnormally. Chose open normally. This time the liabilities sub-accounts were
opened but none of the rest of the parent accounts opened. We tried another
idea, selected assets and ran Check and repair sub-accounts. That brought
back the asset sub-accounts to the second level. 

When we were running the Check and repair programs, we noticed that the
icons and menus were grayed out and accessible but did not see any other
indication that the program was running or when it would be finished. We may
have jumped the gun and tried to open some of the other parent accounts to
see the sub accounts before the process finished so we tried again and let
it alone to see if the icons and menus would come back as an indicator that
the process was complete.

We ran out of time and energy and decided to try again another day. We had
to go back to the Windows 7 computer to do a couple of accounting tasks that
needed to be done so we will have to start over but from where? 

The tweaked and saved reports did not migrate. 

Thanks again,

-----Original Message-----
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Today's Topics:

   1. Re:  Migrating and updating version 2 to 4 (Geert Janssens)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 10:48:44 +0200
From: Geert Janssens <geert.gnucash at kobaltwit.be>
To: Gnucash <gnucash-user at gnucash.org>
Cc: Roger Oliver <rmomxtx at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [GNC] Migrating and updating version 2 to 4
Message-ID: <1711197.TLkxdtWsSY at legolas.kobaltwit.lan>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Op woensdag 7 april 2021 02:30:30 CEST schreef Roger Oliver:
> I'm running GnuCash 2.6.21 on a Windows 7 computer. I need to migrate 
> the system to a Windows 10 computer. Just need to be sure I understand 
> any complications I may encounter. Some questions.
> 1. Will I have any problems updating to version 4?

Depends on how you will go about the update. I would certainly  suggest to
make a test conversion using a copy of your datafile (or have a backup of
that data file just in case).

The general procedure is to migrate from one major version to the next and
not skipping one. 
As you are coming from 2.6, you should first update to the last 3.x version
(3.11), and only then update to 4.5. Your situation is slightly more
complicated because you also switch computers at the same time.

> 2. Reading about version 4 on the GnuCash website, I think the only 
> thing we won't be able to migrate will be the saved customized reports 
> and preferences. Is that correct?

"Saved customized reports" is slightly ambiguous to me. It can refer to
reports you have written yourself in the scheme language (perhaps starting
from a pre-existing report), or it can refer to the report configurations
you have tweaked while using the program and saved there via "Saved report

For the former, you can just copy over the scheme files (*.scm). You may
have to tweak them as our scheme interface has had a few changes from 2.6.x
to 4.5.

For the latter, the migration could take care of them. The tricky part is
you are migrating from one computer to another so you have to make sure the
migration runs in an environment that has the old data available. Our
migration tool is also quite picky so the order in which you do things

Preferences can be copied over but it requires some advanced Windows
registry manipulation (that is, you'll have to export part of a registry
tree and import it in the registry on the new PC). Depending on your skills
it may be easier to just reconfigure your preferences manually on the new

The preferences aside there are two possible ways forward to arrive with
GnuCash 4 on your new PC:
1. You do the updates via 3 to 4 on your Windows 7 PC and once that's to
your  satisfaction you copy over all data and metadata.
2. You start by copying your data and metadata to the new PC and do the
updates there.

The latter has the advantage your original data and GnuCash program on the
Windows 7 PC remain untouched. That way you are sure you have a working
backup. I'll write steps for this second approach later.

> 3. Am I reading the manual correctly that all we need to migrate our 
> data is to copy the current data file to the location where version 4 
> keeps these files. Is that still Documents/GunCash?

Yes and no. GnuCash doesn't "keep" data files anywhere in particular.  You
can store your data file anywhere you like and then use "File->Open..."
within gnucash to use it. Just like you would in a word processor or a

There is a bit more to it though, so I'll summarize here, describing the
steps for method 2:

0. Important! Under no circumstance open gnucash on the new PC before you
have copied data and metadata from your Windows 7 PC to the appropriate
locations on the Windows 10 PC. If you did, you'll have to manually remove
the following directory from the Windows 10 PC for the migration to kick in:
Replace <yourusername> with the appropriate name. Also note AppData may be a
hidden directory on your system. Use whatever tricks available to make it
visible. The easiest I have found so far for me is to enter "%APPDATA%" in
the location bar.
It may be useful to check beforehand anyway whether that directory already
exists or not and remove it if so. Removing or renaming this directory is
also the way to reset any previous metadata migration. If this directory
doesn't exist, the migration tool will run the next time you start gnucash.

1. For your accounting data, you can copy the data file to somewhere you
find convenient on your new PC. You will later be able to locate it using
"File->Open" as written above.

2. For your metadata (as you're still on GnuCash 2.6.x) copy the directory
C:\Users\<yourusername>\.gnucash from your Windows 7 PC to your Windows 10
PC. Note this directory starts with a '.'. That dot is important so be sure
the directory name on the new PC has that as well (Windows may complain
about extensions).

3. If you feel like it you can use the RegEdit tool to export the registry
tree HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/GSettings
from your old PC and import it in the new PC. That will take care of your

4. Optionally, if you're an Online banking user you can also copy your
Online banking settings by copying the directory


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