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Read this first before reporting a problem!

Anti-virus software can pose a threat to the stability of SkyTools. Those affected report more of less random malfunctions, from not being able to access the built-in list of eyepieces, to apparently losing all of their observing lists.

There appears to be is a push to protect your computer from Ransomware. If Microsoft's approach is any indication, the idea is to protect your personal folders, such as Documents, Pictures, etc., from being accessed by potentially malicious apps. Unfortunately, what "potentially malicious app" apparently translates to is any app not developed by Microsoft or one of its large corporate partners.

Windows Defender now has a Ransomware feature. If enabled, it will block the access of SkyTools to its own files, causing it to stop working correctly. So if you enable it, be sure to also add SkyTools to the list of trusted apps.

This article explains how to do this:

It seems to me that it is only a matter of time before this Ransomware feature in Windows Defender is enabled by default, which will wreak havoc with SkyTools.This also explains the new attention that is being given to files in your Documents folder by other anti-virus apps. 

OneDrive can be a blessing or a curse. The default behavior of OneDrive is to back up all of the data in your Documents folder to the cloud. With this feature enabled, a OneDrive version of your Documents folder is created and your SkyTools files are stored there. This is done seamlessly for the user. As a result, your custom SkyTools files are backed up to the cloud. They can also be shared between computers.

For SkyTools 3, one problem that can occur is if you have a large number of logs. The SkyTools 3 log files are large and this can fill your OneDrive past its quota. If this happens it is easy to purchase more cloud space from Microsoft, but very difficult to disable OneDrive and keep using your files.

Another issue is the delay in copying files from one device to another. If SkyTools is started on a second computer and some of the files from the first have been updated, but not all, this could potentially cause random problems and could even result in data corruption.

SkyTools stores its custom user files in Documents so that people can find the files easily when they are needed for support purposes. I would have placed them into the AppData folder instead, but that folder is hidden from users in basic versions of the OS, making it a pain to explain how to enable access to it.

I am considering moving the SkyTools folder from Documents to AppData in order to avoid the heightened scrutiny of the Documents folder. If you have comment or concerns about this, please share them.
Clear skies,

SkyTools Developer
Moving the ST data to AppData is probably an easier solution than what I've done. I edited the registry to point ST to a location of my choosing outside of Onedrive. I was seeing exactly the same behavior Greg describes above with incomplete syncing. I now prefer to simply do frequent backups of my Win 10 install and then restore to my other ST installs on a laptop and on a Linux partition. If I add anything to ST in the field (on the laptop) I back it up and then restore to the PC at home. I can understand that this approach might be tedious for some. I also do daily imaging of my systems and these images are mountable so I can recover ST data from them if needed but I've never had to. I have ST store its backups locally and on Onedrive so they are more easily accessed by all of my systems when a restore is done.

Adding to Greg's explanation of Onedrive woes--The ST folder (and any backup) contains thousands and thousands of files. Almost all of them are very small but that doesn't matter when uploading or downloading to a cloud service. Each file must be processed individually for transfer. It's actually faster to transfer one large file than many small ones meaning that even if the ST folder has a modest total disk size it will take a while to upload/download to the cloud. Unless we monitor the upload/download progress it is entirely possible to shutdown our system before the sync completes. If we then launch ST on another system it will be accessing the ST folder before the sync was completed. And if we modify anything on the second system and allow it to sync then we'll likely have even more frustrations. I have to also pay attention to the upload progress of my ST backups to Onedrive so that I can be sure to have the complete backup folder available for restore on other systems.

Thanks, Greg, for the Windows Defender warning. I'll keep an eye out for the day they make it default. I'm already seeing warnings when I install a non-Windows Store app which is virtually every app I install. How ridiculous is that? Are they really concerned about my system or just trying to suck me in to the Windows Store?


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