Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Last month, the hard drive which powers my bot chain decided to physically fail.  As you might expect, this was not a fun experience for me.  Fortunately for me, I run my bots in a virtual machine and had recently taken a backup.  So while it was time-consuming to create a host machine and configure the virtual machine host, the bots themselves were unaffected.

This got me thinking… what if I had not had a recent backup?  Not only would I have had to install a host machine, I would also have had to install each and every bot.  This is not the most exciting task to be doing.

Even if one starts from a Master Bot virtual machine, one must go inside each virtual machine and configure each one individually.  Yes, Library makes this task a little easier.  The server holds the advertising messages so I can retrieve them.  Library also makes a backup of its settings which is very useful, just not so useful in cases where the hard drive physically fails.  How could I use the backups that Library creates so that I can retrieve them when I need to?

If one is willing to spend a little time tweaking and has a little bit of programming skills, one can solve this problem using the Cloud.  For purposes of this discussion, the cloud refers to online storage.

Many companies offers a base level, typically five (5) gigabytes from Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Dropbox, and a lesser amount, but more than enough for our purposes, from a plethora of smaller companies.  So how do you do it?

You choose a service you like and sign up.
Install their drive synchronization program.
Select the MTGO directory and configure as needed.

Once this is done, the synchronization program will update whenever there is a change, be it from Library itself or whenever you change Library’s settings, like prices or number of cards to collect.

So once you have a backup, how do you restore?   After all, a backup is useless if you can not do a proper restore.

Restore the Windows Library runs on, be it a virtual machine or a physical machine.   Make certain to include MTGO.
Install the drive synchronization program.
Copy the files from the Cloud drive to your local drive.
Launch Library as normal and you’ll be back online.


  1. step1: if u run on SSD make sure VM's dont have virtual memory (pagefile) Superfetch, auto defrag, etc.

  2. I remember the "old times"... I wrote my own sofware to back up my data :) Now it's 100% useless!

  3. Thanks, Thrillski! Great advice. I find that, when dealing with computers, the best thing one can do is BE PARANOID.

    To that end, I not only use dropbox to backup ALL of my settings and files, but I also do the following:

    * Keep time-stamped, descriptive screen captures of all my MTGOLibrary tabs in dropbox (for each bot). This way I can refer easily to what settings were being run during what dates and/or times a trade occurred.

    * Power down VMware each Wednesday during downtime and have each VM directory (1 for each bot and one 'Master Copy' for cloning to create new bots) archived in .tar files. These are created no larger then 700MB and then transfered to a RAID 1, 2TB NAS.