Installing and Running the Windows version of Recollector
on a USB Thumb Drive


The Windows version of Recollector can be installed onto a USB thumb drive and run directly from the thumb drive, without any separate installation required to the hard disk of the computer. With this capability you do not need to carry your computer with you to transport your collection information - you just carry around the thumb drive and plug it into the USB port on any computer that is running MS/Windows.


This page describes how to install Recollector to a thumb drive (also sometimes referred to as a "flash drive"), and how to make sure that your collection data (and images) are also on the thumb drive, so that the program and the data travel together when you move the thumb drive from one computer to another.


Downloading Recollector and installing it onto a USB thumb drive


It is best to start with a new, empty thumb drive, rather than to install onto a thumb drive that already contains other data. Primarily, this is to avoid the unlikely case of having the Recollector installation overwrite some same-named files already on the thumb drive. Once you have completed the installation, as long as there is adequate free space available on the thumb drive, you can safely use the thumb drive to store files other than those related to the Recollector software or your collection data. But for the initial installation of the software, we recommend that you start with a new, empty thumb drive.


Thumb drives come in a variety of sizes. How much space you will need depends on the size of your collection, and, in particular, on the number and size of the image files that you expect to have. The program itself is relatively tiny: 15MB. A 1GB thumb drive will typically be large enough for most collections with up to 1,000 images in JPG format. But larger thumb drives (2GB, 4GB, 8GB or larger) are readily available and quite inexpensive, so it is probably best to start with a thumb drive that has enough capacity so that you can avoid any worry about running out of space.


Once you have plugged a new, empty thumb drive into one of your computer's USB ports, note which drive letter Windows has assigned to the thumb dirve. At this point the process of installing Recollector is basically the same as installing to a hard disk: Go to the download section on the Recollector page and click the Download Recollector (MS/Windows) button. This download is an executable program (Recollector10Setup.exe), which you run to complete the installation. The third step of the installation wizard (after agreeing to the licensing terms) is where you are asked to choose an installation location. At this point you should replace the default location with the following four-character location specification:


For example:


where the first letter (shown as "F" in this example) is the drive letter (either upper-case or lower-case) that your computer has assigned to your USB drive. If you don't know what letter Windows assigned, you may have to click on My Computer - on the desktop or in the control panel, depending upon the version of Windows you are running - to see which drive letter corresponds to your thumb drive. Be sure to specify the installation location with exactly four characters, as shown above: a drive letter, a colon, a backslash, and a period. Once you have specified this installation location, just continue through the installation wizard, accepting all the defaults.


Running Recollector from your thumb drive


When you install Recollector to a thumb drive, no desktop icon is created for starting the program. Instead, there is a batch file, Run_Recollector.bat, at the top level of the the thumb drive. You can run Recollector by double-clicking on this batch file. In addition, depending upon what version of Windows you are running, and how you have your auto-run settings configured, each time you insert the thumb drive into a computer's USB port, the Windows system may start up an auto-run menu that will look like the following image (though the name of USB device will likely be something other than "Recollector" shown in this image). Click on the Open folder to view files option to see the files on the thumb drive.




With Windows 10 you may have auto-run configured to automatically open the File Explorer when you insert a removable drive, in which case the previous prompt will not be shown, and you will be taken directly to the display shown next. Or you may have to manually open a File Explorer window after the drive has been inserted.


Once the File Explorer window is displayed, showing you the top-level folder of your removable drive, you will see that one of those files is Run_Recollector.bat:


Run Recollector


Double-click the Run_Recollector.bat file to start up Recollector. (Note: Depending upon your Windows settings, the file name may not include the .bat extension; it may be displayed simply as Run_Recollector.)


After initial installation, Recollector will be running on your thumb drive in demo mode (maximum of 25 records in any single collection). If you already have a Recollector license key, you can use that key to license the thumb-drive version. You can either find your license key in the email that was sent to you when you purchased it, or you can start up Recollector on your hard drive and choose About Recollector / Product Registration from the Help menu, where the license key is shown. If you do not already have a registration key, you can purchase a registration key at the Recollector web page and install it via the About Recollector / Product Registration menu choice on the Help menu.


Creating a collection database on the thumb drive


Creating a new collection database on the thumb drive is no different from creating a collection database on your hard disk. During the setup steps of creating a new collection, when you are prompted for where to store the collection file, simply navigate to the thumb drive and choose where you want the collection file to reside. During the installation, an empty folder named Collections was created on the thumb drive. We recommend that you use this Collections folder to store your collection file:



Installing Recollector to both your hard disk and a thumb drive


The Recollector license agreement allows you to install the software to both a hard disk and a thumb drive. Simply perform the download and installation twice, once to your computer's hard drive and once to a thumb drive. When you purchase a registration key, the same key should be entered in both copies of the software. If you previously installed the software to your hard disk, and now want to install to a thumb drive, you can use the registration key that you received via email (when you originally purchased it) to unlock the new copy of the software that you install to your thumb drive. If you do not still have the email containing your registration key, open the About Recollector dialog from the Help menu on the previously installed and registered copy of the program. Your license key will be displayed there.


Note: If you are currently running an older version of Recollector on your hard disk, we recommend that when you download and install the program to a thumb drive, that you also download and re-install the software on your hard disk. This will guarantee that your two copies of the software are in sync and compatible with one another.


Moving an already-created collection from your hard disk to your thumb drive


If you have already been using Recollector on your computer's hard disk, and you now want to take advantage of the thumb drive option, you will probably want to copy your collection from the hard disk to the thumb drive. There are two ways to copy your collection to your thumb drive; choose the method that makes most sense for your collection data.


Method #1: Directly copy the collection file and the Image Directory folder: This method should only be used if all your images (and audio/video and associated files, if you have them) are located in your collection's Image Directory folder, and all references to those image files in your data records are by simple file names (e.g. 123.jpg), rather than via full path names (e.g. C:\myphotos\123.jpg). If any of your references to image files (or audio, video or associated files) are by full path names, then you should use Method #2, described later in this section.


Use Windows Explorer to copy the collection file and the collection's Image Directory folder from the hard disk to the Collections folder on the thumb drive. After the copy is complete, the Collections folder on the thumb drive should look like this in Windows Explorer:



(Note that the Images folder is still in the Collections folder, since it was created there when the thumb-drive installation of Recollector was done. However, in this case, that Images folder is not used for the typewriter collection, whose images are all in the MyTypewriters_Images folder that was copied to the thumb drive, along with the MyTypewriters.xml collection file, from the hard disk.)


After the collection file and Image Directory folder have been copied to the thumb drive, start up Recollector on the thumb drive by double-clicking the Run_Recollector.bat batch file that is at the top level of the thumb drive, as described earlier in this document. When the collection comes up, you may or may not see any images that are associated with your collection records. If images are shown, then your collection is ready to use. If images are not shown, then you need to adjust the Image Directory definition for this collection on your thumb drive. Do this by choosing Modify Fields or Image Directory from the Edit menu, and then click the Specify Image Directory button. In the dialog that comes up, make sure that the Specify an existing directory radio button is selected, and click the Choose button. In the directory picker that comes up, navigate to and select the folder on your thumb drive that contains your image files. Using the example shown in the previous illustration, that would mean navigating to and selecting the E:\Collections\MyTypewriters_Images folder. Then click OK to exit from each of the dialogs until you are back at the collection window. At this point, your images should be visible, and your collection should be ready to use.


Method #2: Use Recollector's Backup and Copy capabilities to copy your collection to the thumb drive: To begin, make sure to exit from any running version of Recollection. Next, run the hard disk copy of Recollector. With the collection window open for the collection you want to transfer, choose Backup from the File menu. Select a location on your hard disk to temporarily store the backup copy of your collection. This can simply be the top-level folder of your hard drive (e.g. C:\) or some other folder on your hard drive suitable for holding temporary data (e.g. C:\Windows\temp). Also, select the Back up the collection file and all the image files radio button.


Depending upon the size of your collection (and, in particular, the number and size of your image files), the backup may take a while to complete. A dialog will show the progress of the backup. When completed, the backup will have created a new folder in the specified location. The name of that new folder reflects the name of the collection and the date and time of the backup (e.g.: MyCollection_03JAN2017_13_12).


Next, exit from the hard-drive copy of Recollector and start up the thumb drive copy of the program. (See the instructions, earlier on this page, on how to start the thumb drive copy of Recollector.) After Recollector starts, chose Restore or Copy a Collection from Backup from the File menu. In the file dialog that comes up next, click the Choose Backup Folder button, and navigate to the folder created in the previous step (e.g. C:\Windows\temp\MyCollection_03JAN2017_13_12) and select that folder. In the bottom section of the Restore or Copy a Collection from Backup window, choose the Copy the collection to a new location radio button and click the Browse button. Navigate to the Collections folder on the thumb drive (e.g. E:\Collections), and enter a name for the collection file. You can use the same name as the file had for its hard drive version, or you can choose a different name, but be sure that he filename extension is .xml. The restore may take a while, depending primarily on how many and how large your image files are. A dialog will display the restore's progress. When the dialog completes, the imported collection will be displayed. You now have a fully functioning copy of your collection on the thumb drive.


Important note: The backup/restore process just described, for moving your collection from your hard disk to a thumb drive via Backup and Copy operations, causes, as a side effect, all of the collection's images to be gathered into a single directory on the destination thumb drive. This is true even if the original hard-disk copy of your collection has its images (and audio, video and associated files) spread around in many different places. Both copies of your collection, on the hard disk (with its images possibly spread about in different directories) and on the thumb drive (with all its images gathered into a single Image Directory folder), will work identically, but the relative location of image files will usually be different in the two installations. Also, once you have two copies of your collection, be aware that changes made to one copy will not automatically be propagated to the other. After making changes you may want to repeat the backup/copy process to again get your copies in sync. Alternatively, you may find it easier to simply migrate your use of the collection entirely to the thumb drive, since then you will have only one copy to worry about.


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