Move A Bento Database to a New Computer

A recent visitor came to this site looking for directions on how to move a Bento database to a new server. While I had related articles none covered this in one place. Now I have it in one article.

I haven’t written a post in awhile so I was looking through my analytics to see what searches brought people here. I  found “How to move bento to a new computer” and figured that would be a good topic. I’ve written a few Bento related articles but none dealt with this directly.

Being a Mac program it’s not unusual that the inner workings are hidden from the user. But moving the file is pretty simple.

Move to a New Mac

The operative word here is “move” which means we don’t need Bento on the old computer.

Pre-Move Checklist:

  1. Install Bento on the new computer. Make sure it’s the exact same version as the original computer. From the menu you can select bento –> About Bento to get the version.
  2. Be sure that Bento on the new computer doesn’t have any data. We’ll do a backup but the data won’t be merged.

The Move:

By default Bento saves the database to [UserHome]/Library/Application Support/Bento where [UserHome] is your home directory. This is also shown as ~/Library where the tilde indicates the home directory.

OS X Lion hides the library folder by default. To open the folder on Lion start Finder and hold the “Option” key while selecting the “Go” menu. The ~/Library folder will be opened. Macworld  has 18 other ways of opening the Library so you can pick your favorite.

  1. On the new computer browse to ~/Library/Application Support/Bento in Finder and rename bento.bentodb to bento.bentodb.backup.
  2. Copy ~/Library/Application Support/Bento/bento.bentodb from the old computer to ~/Library/Application Support/Bentoon the new computer.You can do this any way your comfortable with such as connecting over the network or using a USB drive and sneaker net.
  3. Start Bento on the new computer. You’re done.

The bento.bentodb file is actually a OS X package file which is actually a collection of files with the right attributes so OS X presents it to us as a single file unless we select “open package contents”. If you use a Windows file system in a interim step the file will appear as a directory. Be sure to copy the entire directory and do not change any contents.

Bonus Tip – Open A Different Bento Database

You can run multiple copies of Bento or share the same Bento database from multiple computers. I save my Bento database on Windows Home Server and access the same file from all my PCs. Actually I also have multiple databases on the Windows Home Server. One word of warning – Bento is not a multi-user database so be careful not to open the file from two PCs at the same time.

Start Bento while holding down the option key. The following dialog will appear and you can select the database you want to open. I select the “Show this dialog” option so I don’t have to hold the option key and the dialog always appears.

Bento File Open dialog

Select database you want to open and any other options you want.

Syncing Bento

I no longer sync Bento but at one time I did use Dropbox to Sync Bento Databases between Macs.