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Troubleshooting Sync in FTM 2017 for Windows

How do I troubleshoot problems with syncing in Family Tree Maker 2017?

Note: When Ancestry is experiencing a high volume of website traffic, syncing may go more slowly or encounter errors. If you experience difficulty viewing or accessing your online tree, chances are that you will have difficulties in syncing your trees as well. We appreciate your patience if you have encountered this issue; please try back a little while later since most website traffic spikes are temporary in nature.

The suggestions below are intended to help you troubleshoot an issue you are already experiencing with syncing. However, prevention is always better than cure. So after you have found an answer to your current problem, please click here and take a few minutes to look through the top tips we have gathered together in our Best Practices article. Hopefully the recommendations you'll find there will help you avoid difficulties in future. Thanks!

This article discusses the following:


Internet Connection Related Issues

Due to variations in internet connection speeds from different internet service providers and differences in overall reliability and stability of connections, you may encounter a sync error when nothing is actually wrong. We recommend waiting and trying again either in a few hours or the next day. Dial-up connections will be the slowest, satellite connections may vary greatly in speed, and cable connections - although fast overall - can slow down during peak usage hours, usually in the evenings.

If you are on a wireless internet connection, move closer to your router and try the sync again. It’s possible that your computer was too far away to get a good enough signal to complete the sync. You may also want to try plugging your computer directly into your modem, whether your router connection is wired or wireless. This troubleshooting step lets you know if the sync issue is due to a setting on your router. If you are able to successfully sync your tree when plugged directly into your modem, you may wish to call the manufacturer of your router for help changing its settings to allow Family Tree Maker (FTM.exe) access.

There are also multiple computer settings that can interfere with tree sync if not set up correctly. Please click here for information and instructions on ensuring your system is properly set up to allow synchronization to occur.


Restart Family Tree Maker or your computer

If you can't sync your tree, are getting messages about sync failure, or have received a lot of sync errors, it really can be helpful to simply close and reopen Family Tree Maker or restart your computer before you try syncing again. Please note that this should not be done while syncing is in progress.


Trouble Syncing a Family Tree Maker tree to Ancestry

If you are able to sync information down into Family Tree Maker but not back up to Ancestry, or if you aren’t able to upload and link your tree from within Family Tree Maker, it’s possible that your file needs to be repaired. Please click here for steps to repair your Family Tree Maker file.

To verify that your file is causing the issue, you can create a new test tree and attempt to sync that. If your test tree syncs without a problem, proceed with the file repair steps at the end of the instructions in the above link.


Sync Change Log Issue

If you are seeing a very large number of changes (which you didn't make) in the Sync Change Log window, please click here for information.


Troubleshooting Other Software

Some programs (antivirus, firewall, and security software, although others may come into play) can interfere with tree sync. Due to the simultaneous uploading and downloading of the sync process, it can look like nefarious activity even though it is completely safe and will not harm your system. You may wish to contact the manufacturer of your antivirus, firewall, and security software if you need assistance in adding Family Tree Maker (FTM.exe) as an exception.

To test to make sure that nothing external to Family Tree Maker is causing your problem, please click here for instructions on starting your computer in a clean boot environment.  When your computer has started up in clean boot, please open Family Tree Maker and attempt to sync your tree. If the sync is successful, that means that it was another program on your computer that was causing the sync issue.


Media Sync Issues

The media (stories, pictures, etc.) in your family tree syncs separately from the majority of your tree data. Additionally, the more media you have in your tree, the longer it will take to complete synchronization. Even if you are no longer seeing the Media Processing status bar at the top of Family Tree Maker, your media still may be in the process of syncing.

- Checking media downloading progress 

You can also check the media downloading progress to see if it is completed.

There are three places where you can see the media downloading progress:

1. The Media processing progress bar:

2. The Media workspace, where the number of media items will gradually increase as the download progresses.

3. The tree's media folder, in which more and more media files should appear during downloading. By default, a tree's media folder is named <Tree Name> Media and is located in the same folder as the family tree file (Users/<Username>/Documents/Software MacKiev/Family Tree Maker/<Tree Name> on a Windows computer; or Users/<Username>/Documents/Family Tree Maker/<Tree Name> on a Mac). 

If there is a problem with the downloading process, all those places show that it's stuck. Since it can be hard to tell if the progress bar is moving or not, particularly when syncing a lot of data, it's a good idea to check the Media workspace and the media folder as well. 

- Using the Find Missing Media tool 

For detailed instructions on how to use the Find Missing Media tool, click here.

- Compacting files 

Compacting your tree file before syncing can help to avoid media sync issues. You can compact a file by choosing Compact File from the Tools menu. For more detailed instructions please click here

- Live Chat

If you've followed these steps and are still having problems related to media syncing, please come to live chat so we can investigate.


Restore your latest backup

We strongly recommend as a good general best practice that you keep frequent, full backups of your family trees.  If you are consistently having trouble syncing your tree, one option is to restore the most recent full backup you made of it.  Click through these links to learn more about backing up and restoring your tree.


Re-download your tree

If you don't have a recent backup of your tree, another option is to re-download your Ancestry tree as a new tree in Family Tree Maker.  You would follow the same steps as if you were syncing your tree for the first time - click here for instructions.

Note: You may find yourself in a situation where there is information in your FTM tree that has not synced to Ancestry, but you've had to re-download your Ancestry tree as a new FTM tree in order to troubleshooting sync.  In this case, you can merge duplicate trees together in order to add the information from your existing FTM tree to your newly synced tree.


Still Unable to Sync?

If you have tried all the troubleshooting ideas in this article and are still getting errors or having difficulties with sync, more in-depth troubleshooting may be necessary.  We're glad to help you in Live Chat, available 24/7 - click here to come to live chat so we can investigate.

Our Tech Support Team may ask you to send in a Sync Error Report manually, which will help us to determine exactly what is causing the issue. Please click here for instructions.

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