Move Birder’s Diary to a new Computer

Moving Birder’s Diary to a new computer involves the following short and quick tasks.


  1. Move backup/copy of your database from your old computer to your new computer.
  2. Move a copy of your Sightings Attachment files (if you attach photos, etc. to your sightings) from your old computer to your new computer.
  3. Install Birder’s Diary from onto your new computer.
  4. Start Birder’s Diary on new computer and restore database from #1.
  5. Start Birder’s Diary (run as admin…) again and activate your user license.


  1. Perform a Birder’s Diary Backup on your old computer and move that backup file from your old computer to your new computer. This database contains all of your data and installed taxonomic lists. Alternately, you can simply copy your database file (C:\Birder’s Diary\data\database.mdb) from your old computer to your new computer.
    1. For information on copying files between systems, please see Windows Help. You will typically use Windows Explorer (e.g. My Computer) to move the backup file onto removable media (e.g. USB drive, memory stick, CD/DVD, etc.) and then move that media to your new computer and again use Windows Explorer to move it off that media and onto your local hard drive.
    2. In v4.0.116 and later, be sure to select the option for backing up your Sighting attachments (e.g. photos, etc.) if you have any. All of your attachments will be put in a sub-directory under your backup file location that you specified.
  2. In v4.0 and later, If you attach photos, videos, audio files, etc. to your sightings, then these files are stored in your Sightings’ Attached Documents Location.
    This location is specified under View | Options  More/Special  TAB.
    1. If you did step #1.2 above, ZIP/compress the files created in a subdirectory of your backup location over to your new computer. If you didn’t, then ZIP your Sightings Attachments directory and move that over to your new computer.
    2. Unzip the compressed folder to the location on your new computer where you want to store your Sightings’ Documents.
  3. For v5.0 or later, install your licensed version of Birder’s Diary onto your new computer by going to the Downloads page at
  4. Start Birder’s Diary and use the Restore operation (File | Backup/Restore) to restore the backup file from your old system that you created in #1 above. This will replace the demo database created during the installation above with your actual database. Note: always Exit and Restart Birder’s Diary after any restore operation. Or, if you just copied over your database file from your old computer, then
    1. Rename “\Birder’s Diary\data\database.mdb” created during the installation to “database_demo.mdb” or simply delete it.
    2. Copy your old database into “\Birder’s Diary\data\”, and
    3. Make sure it is named “database.mdb”.
  5. Start Birder’s Diary (Run as admin“)  and you will be presented with the “License Information” window (Ctrl+L to open it manually). Use the Activate License button to enter your user license; this is your latest Birder’s Diary license only. For complete instructions on this step see here.
    1. For v3.7 or later, it is not necessary to reactivate your taxonomic list licenses usually.
  6. Exit and restart Birder’s Diary normally!
  7. If you have Sighting Attachments/Documents that you moved over in step #2 above, then be sure to open View | Options … More/Special TAB and set the attachments directory to where you unzipped your sighting attachments above in #2.

There is no need to download/install/import your taxonomic lists. These all exist in your database and will be available after you move your database to your new computer and perform the Restore operation.

 If you receive a message during license activation indicating that you have exceeded your activations, please send e-Mail to indicating this and we will be happy to reset your activation count.

 Moving the backup from one computer to the other can be done any number of ways and is beyond the scope of this topic. For example, if your computers are connected via a network, you might use Windows Explorer to move the file from one computer to the other. Other common methods may be to use Windows Explorer to copy the backup file from your local hard drive to a flash drive or memory stick, or to put the backup file onto a CDrom/DVD disc. In this case, you would take the device you placed the backup on and place it in your second computer for the restore operation. For help on using Windows Explorer or copying files over a network, please see Windows Help.

 If you have no backup file or no access to your older database then you must download and re-import all of your taxonomic lists which are not included in the Demo database installed above in #1. The web site only contains the latest versions of taxonomic lists – if you do not find your licensed version, please contact and inform them of what you are doing and which tax lists you need.