Cross platform sharing keychain

I have been using 1Password for a year or so on OS X and just bought the license for Windows as well, which I am running via Parallels on my Mac. I managed to sync the data using DropBox so that it automatically worked the first time I started 1Password in Windows.

On the Mac I have 1Password set to backup the keychain data once a day and keep 50 copies. Now looking inside the Windows version it has the same setting, backing up to the same folder that is stored in the Mac part. Is there any risk of duplicating information or creating problems here? If I disable it on the Windows side will that automatically disable the Mac side as well via dropbox? I'm hoping you guys have thought of this so there are no conflicts, especially if both systems are running at the same time.

With all the keychain data now being stored in the DropBox folder isn't there a greater risk of file corruption with all the uploading and downloading of data?

For all the other points like saving & sharing login details across different platforms I'm assuming we are safe and that login data stored in one OS will automatically be available in the other OS. I think Agile have said before that using DropBox is safe for storing and transmitting our keychain data.

Thanks

Ashley

Comments

  • DBrownDBrown 1Password Alumni 1Password Alumni
    edited August 2011
    Hi, Ashley!

    The backup preferences of 1Password for Mac and 1Password or Windows are independent—preference settings are not sync'ed. You could set up 1Password for Windows to create backups every week and retain only 10; it wouldn't affect the settings you've specified in 1Password for Mac.

    That said, here are a couple of important ingredients of a successful configuration:
    • You should not select a folder in the Dropbox file hierarchy for storage of your backups. Dropbox automatically retains multiple versions of your 1Password data, in case you need to "go back" to an earlier version. Your backups are just added security, but they're big and will use up your allotted space on Dropbox wa-a-ay too fast. We recommend accepting the default location on each machine for 1Password backups.
    • You also should not use the "shared folders" option in Parallels or VMware to have your Mac's Documents folder and your PC's My Documents folder be the same physical location. Instead, install Dropbox in your Parallels virtual machine as if it were a distinct and separate physical machine with a My Documents\My Dropbox folder structure that is completely independent of the Documents and Dropbox folders on your Mac.

    We are aware of no issues with file corruption related to Dropbox sync'ing. Dropbox is very good at what it does.
  • ashleykashleyk
    edited August 2011
    Hi David,
    That's good advice and I think I have it all worked out now. Actually I wonder if I need to have the Windows side perform backups at all given that the Mac is already doing so on a daily basis, while both sides are making any changes automatically available through DropBox.

    As an alternative though what about if the Mac stores backups in \documents\1Password\backups and then I create an additional sub directory called PC for example in the main backups folder where the Windows versions are kept?

    Thanks

    Ashley
  • ashleyk wrote:

    On the Mac I have 1Password set to backup the keychain data once a day and keep 50 copies. Now looking inside the Windows version it has the same setting, backing up to the same folder that is stored in the Mac part.


    By default, the Mac and Windows versions do NOT back up to the same folder.

    ashleyk wrote:

    With all the keychain data now being stored in the DropBox folder isn't there a greater risk of file corruption with all the uploading and downloading of data?


    Our data format is designed to handle this. That is why your keychain is actually a folder with every item in a separate file, instead of one big-ass file with everything in it.

    ashleyk wrote:

    For all the other points like saving & sharing login details across different platforms I'm assuming we are safe and that login data stored in one OS will automatically be available in the other OS. I think Agile have said before that using DropBox is safe for storing and transmitting our keychain data.


    Correct.
  • DBrownDBrown 1Password Alumni 1Password Alumni
    ashleyk wrote:

    ...I wonder if I need to have the Windows side perform backups at all given that the Mac is already doing so on a daily basis, while both sides are making any changes automatically available through DropBox.

    Each 1Password backup is a snapshot of your entire 1Password data set at a given moment. As such, it is the best format from which to restore an earlier version of your data, if you should need to do that for some reason.

    Even with Dropbox sync'ing that data, I can't think of a good reason—unless you're extremely low on disk space on one machine—not to let 1Password create backups on every machine on which it's installed. You can never have too many copies of your data.

    Note that is not a good use of your limited Dropbox space to store your 1Password backups anywhere in the Dropbox folder hierarchy. You could quickly run out of space to store your current 1Password data.

    ...what about if the Mac stores backups in \documents\1Password\backups and then I create an additional sub directory called PC for example in the main backups folder where the Windows versions are kept?

    Again, we strongly urge you not to use the "file sharing" feature in Parallels or VMware to have your Mac's Documents folder and your PC's My Documents folder occupy the same physical location.

    Your best bet is to allow 1Password for Mac to store its backups in Users/(yourname)/Library/Application Support/1Password/Backups and to allow 1Password for Windows to store its backups in C:\Documents and Settings\(yourname)\My Documents\1Password\Backups (XP) or C:\Users\(yourname)\Documents\1Password\Backups (7) in the PC's own file system.
  • ashleykashleyk
    edited August 2011
    Hi David,
    I have just seen what is happening now. The Windows version of 1Password is storing the backup files in my user's document folder on the Mac part by default as you can see in the screenshot, so I guess I should change that.

    40.gif

    The Mac version is storing them in user/my name/library/application support/1Password/Backups, so yes they are entirely separate but still not a good idea if I have understood properly.

    I am definitely not uploading backups to DropBox and there is plenty of space there even with the free account. I have noticed that the Mac accesses the keychain information instantly, whereas Windows requires a couple of seconds but I guess it's having to pull the information off the server.

    Thanks

    Ashley

    Edit: I've copied the backup path for Windows 7 that you illustrated and checked this is working.
  • DBrownDBrown 1Password Alumni 1Password Alumni
    edited August 2011
    Hi, Ashley.

    I don't know where \\psf is, but I'm glad to hear backups are being stored locally, not on the Mac and not on Dropbox. :)

    1Password (either Mac or Windows) doesn't pull information off the Dropbox server. It uses the 1Password data stored locally—you can see exactly where by checking the General tab of 1Password preferences on each platform. Dropbox handles the movement of files up and down between your computers and your private Dropbox web site.

    You'll want to make sure your 1Password data is in the correct location on both platforms:

    Mac OS X
    • Users > your-name > Dropbox > ... > 1Password.agilekeychain

    Windows XP
    • C:\Documents and Settings\your-name\My Documents\My Dropbox\...\1Password.agilekeychain

    Windows 7
    • C:\Users\your-name\Documents\My Dropbox\...\1Password.agilekeychain
  • I have my settings as you suggested. \\psf appears to represent the virtual version of Windows and it's path created by Parallels. When I first started 1Password on Windows the backups were following that path to my user documents folder on OS X.
  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    Ahh, thanks for clarifying, Ashley. I believe this is related to Parallels' Configure > Sharing options, which allow the VM and the Mac host to use the same data. I personally turn this off, since I mainly use my VMs for testing, and I don't need to be messing up my host inadvertently. ;)
  • DBrownDBrown 1Password Alumni 1Password Alumni
    edited August 2011
    The main reason to avoid these "shared folders" features in the case of your 1Password data is the potential for conflict when Dropbox on your Mac and Dropbox on your PC simultaneously see a file as needing to be updated, but they're actually the same file in the same physical location.

    (shiver)
  • DBrown wrote:

    I don't know where \\psf is


    Parallels has this feature where Mac user folders are shared with Windows. My advise is to disable this feature.
  • DBrownDBrown 1Password Alumni 1Password Alumni

    Parallels has this feature where Mac user folders are shared with Windows. My advise is to disable this feature.

    Mine, too, as mentioned in several posts, above.
  • I had quite a few Windows programs that were storing items in the Mac documents folder for my user and also downloading to the Mac downloads folder etc, so it took a while to separate everything and have it all working properly. It's done now and Windows is effectively completely separate, however I can still drag & drop or copy & paste from the Mac to Windows and operate both systems at the same time.

    One the great selling points used by Parallels is that everything can be shared but from all the feedback here it sounds like that is not a good idea. Once every few days I've been seeing a blue screen at start up of Windows spelling out all kinds of impending doom and wanting to repair everything. I can't know for sure but I wonder now if the sharing of information was contributing to this because I never see it on a Windows laptop I have here that is also running Windows 7.
  • DBrownDBrown 1Password Alumni 1Password Alumni
    edited August 2011
    I don't think know that the "shared folders" feature is to blame for the blue-screen problems, but there's a little too much fancy footwork involved in sharing folders.

    As you say, it's so easy to drag and drop, or copy and paste, that I haven't been tempted to bring on the potential headache of using shared folders on my own system.

    I do know there's a greater potential for trouble when you have Dropbox on the Mac and Dropbox on the PC both trying to synchronize a folder with itself, because Dropbox doesn't know anything about this kind of folder sharing. I guess you could do is tell Dropbox on one machine or the other NOT to sync the Dropbox data folder, but what would be the point? It's easier just to let Dropbox do its job.
  • ashleykashleyk
    edited August 2011
    I was just going through the preferences in 1Password for Windows and noticed under the warnings tab there is an option that says "1Password Data has been detected in your DropBox" but there is no similar option in the Mac version and I couldn't find an explanation for this in the manual. Can you tell me what this is about? At the moment it isn't ticked.

    42.gif

    BTW I am not receiving any email notifications when messages are posted even though I am following this topic. Edit - forget that, I've just found the relevant options in the control panel but for some reason I thought it was automatic before.
  • DBrownDBrown 1Password Alumni 1Password Alumni
    That tab is for re-enabling messages that you've previously seen at least once and asked 1Password not to display again.

    Edit your forum account profile's My Settings page to make sure you have e-mail notifications enabled. I believe people's preferences got whacked when the forum manager updated the look, a couple of weeks ago. (sigh)
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