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Is there a backup option for layouts?

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Traxan
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Joined: June 13th, 2014, 5:18 pm

Is there a backup option for layouts?

Traxan » August 16th, 2019, 8:18 pm

I had an unfortunate incident where installing a skin completely broke RM on me. I had to uninstall the app AND the skins library to get the app working again.

Fortunately I had manually copied the RM skins folder to the D: drive ages ago and it was still there. A tad out of date but it saved me hours.

The question I have is is there a feature in RM to not just save the layout, which I have done, but then export or copy the layout and associated skins to another drive? Given the massive capacity of hard drives, and more and more people using a SSD C: for Windows and apps and HDD D: for storage, it would not be unreasonable to copy the layout to a non-C: drive for faster restoration.

Thoughts?
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jsmorley
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Re: Is there a backup option for layouts?

jsmorley » August 16th, 2019, 9:03 pm

There is no such mechanism in Rainmeter nor one envisioned for it. Backing up your personal folders, Documents and AppData, is something you should be doing on a regular, probably nightly, basis in any case, or you are a disaster waiting to happen. To be perfectly honest, I fear for people who don't have and use an automatic, periodic, backup strategy. Rainmeter is going to be the least of your problems. Backup to a second internal HDD, an external HDD, the "cloud", whatever floats your boat. Just backup.

I have an automated complete-image backup with Acronis True Image Home to an external HDD that happens every single night at 2am, and I can, with some satisfaction, and no little relief, honestly state that I have never lost a single file on my constantly evolving computing environment in over 20 years. I have had numerous crashes, disastrous dumbass mistakes, changes and replacement of every single bit of hardware, many versions of Windows, you name it, dozens and dozens of times in those 20 years. Never lost a single file. My backup has saved me every time. There is nothing more important you can do on a computer.

It's actually closer to 35 years, and I actually still have files created on my very first IBM PC in 1985, but I confess that while I have always backed up, the software and strategy was a bit different and more time consuming in the earliest days. (Think FastBack and a tons of floppy's) It's all automatic and seamless now.

Just as an aside, your very first paragraph just cannot be true. There is no possible way that installing a skin in Rainmeter can so irrevocably "break" Rainmeter that the application, (which Rainmeter itself has no ability to touch in the protected Program Files folder), nor the entire Documents\Rainmeter\Skins folder can in any way be compromised. The very, very worst that can happen is that you need to delete Rainmeter.ini in AppData\Roaming\Rainmeter, and that is in effect exactly the same as re-installing the app and starting from fresh.
Traxan
Posts: 13
Joined: June 13th, 2014, 5:18 pm

Re: Is there a backup option for layouts?

Traxan » August 17th, 2019, 6:29 am

All right I won't go into the backup arguement. Much of that problem was my backup program, iDrive, just plain sucks. I selected a restore of my Rainmeter skins and 4 hours later it was still preparing the restoration. I tried a manual download through the Web and it wouldn't let me. So I ditched that piece of shit and am giving Mega a chance.

But I can tell you without hesitation that installing a skin DID hose my Rainmeter install. I had just installed 4.3 and was going through the collection of skins here since my setup is so old. I downloaded a rmskin and installed it and RM was dead. Double clicking did nothing. Right clicking on the icon did nothing. I uninstalled and reinstalled, it did nothing. It wasn't until I removed the skins that the reinstall worked. I'll remember to delete the ini (hopefully) should it happen again but I know what I experienced last night and that was a first.
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CyberTheWorm
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Re: Is there a backup option for layouts?

CyberTheWorm » August 17th, 2019, 6:48 am

Take a USB stick install Rainmeter portable version and them copy your skins and layouts to it.
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dudebaker
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Re: Is there a backup option for layouts?

dudebaker » August 18th, 2019, 8:02 am

Small note on that crashing-part of Rainmeter:
You've complained this in my suite-thread that after installing your Rainmeter installation was broken.
The only thing my suite loads on startup (if you've left the checkbox "load included skin" been ticked in the installation wizard) is the launcher skin which uses the ConfigActive plugin but I've never heard of any issues with it. It only takes some CPU time in my suite cause of the many skins checked.

Since my suite includes some styles there are two other plugins which are loaded in all of my skins: FrostestGlass, SysColor.
But even these two never created any issues.

As jsmorley said, the easiest way would be to delete the Rainmeter.ini file or remove the entries of the last installed skin.
By removing skin by skin in this file you would find the real issue what you had.
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jsmorley
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Re: Is there a backup option for layouts?

jsmorley » August 18th, 2019, 12:48 pm

The way Rainmeter works is:

When Rainmeter is first installed, the application files are put in C:\Program Files\Rainmeter. This will require answering "yes" to a UAC prompt. After the initial install, Rainmeter, nor any skin or plugin you create or download for Rainmeter, can ever touch this folder. It is a protected Windows folder.

When Rainmeter is run the very first time, it will create the default skins in C:\Users\YourName\Documents\Rainmeter\Skins. This is in effect the "pool" of skins available to Rainmeter. When Rainmeter is run thereafter, it will scan this folder to determine what skins you have that it can offer for loading in the Manage dialog, but NOTHING in this folder is in any way loaded or executed unless YOU tell it to load a particular skin.

When Rainmeter is run the very first time, it will create a folder C:\Users\YourName\AppData\Roaming\Rainmeter. This is the "settings" location for Rainmeter, and the most important thing it will create in there is the file Rainmeter.ini. This is the master controller for Rainmeter. It tells Rainmeter which skins to load when you start it up, and things like where on the screens you want the skins and other attributes like that.

If Rainmeter.ini ever does not exist when Rainmeter is started, it will automatically be recreated using the default values that load ONLY the illustro skins that come with Rainmeter.

So if you ever have serious problems with Rainmeter, the simplest fix is to delete Rainmeter.ini, and let it be recreated. That is in effect the same as completely uninstalling and reinstalling the entire program, while not causing you to lose any skins you created or downloaded and installed in C:\Users\YourName\Documents\Rainmeter\Skins. Since they are not in any way loaded with a default Rainmeter.ini, there is no harm in them being there, even if one of them has an issue that hangs or crashes Rainmeter when loaded. It won't be loaded...

Then you can use Manage to start loading the skins you have, one at a time, until you find the one that is giving you trouble. Then fix it or get rid of it.



As far as backing up, if you simply backup the two folders:

C:\Users\YourName\Documents\Rainmeter\Skins
C:\Users\YourName\AppData\Roaming\Rainmeter

You have everything you need to get back to where you were in the event of some calamity. There is no particular point in backing up the program itself, as it is just as easy to download and reinstall it as it is to restore it from a backup.