OFSL AQ Standard

Ogden FamilySearch Library AQ Standard

This posting is specific to the Ogden (Utah, USA) FamilySearch Library.

The Ogden FamilySearch Library now has a standard approach to Disk and Flash Drive assignments for the Ancestral Quest program.

The Windows operating systems assign drive letters to devices which are attached to the computer. Drives A: and B: are reserved for the, now obsolete, floppy disk drives. Some manufacturers insert memory card readers in their place. The C: drive is assigned to the hard drive which typically holds the operating system. Other drive letters are assigned by the operating system, usually in alphabetical order, as it finds other devices attached to the computer.

When you attach the first flash drive to a computer here at the FamilySearch Library, it will be assigned to drive D:, E: or F:, depending upon what other equipment is attached to that particular computer. Subsequent flash drives will receive the next available drive letter.

In the past this has caused confusion for some patrons. Since the flash drive could be assigned any of three drive letters, the Ancestral Quest program was installed here without having a path defined for the Backup: files in Tools -> Preferences. The path to the AQ data file was also left unassigned because the path to the My Documents folder included  the room number and the machine number to show the location of each computer. (Yes, we use Windows XP.)

That has all changed.

Now when you use Ancestral Quest at the OFSL, you insert the flash drive and wait for it to be recognized by the operating system. Run Ancestral Quest. Click the Restore button to retrieve your backup from the \AQ Backups folder on your flash drive. Select the backup file from the list of backup files on your flash drive. Accept the offered path for the data file, and start working.

Here is why it works.

Each computer at the OFSL now contains a folder called P:\AQ Data. This is now the default folder for all AQ data files. This folder contains a folder called \Images. Ancestral Quest is designed to look in the current folder, for another folder containing images. Keeping the \Images folder here allows you to attach photos in your scrapbook and in sources the same way you do at home.

At home, create a folder somewhere on your C: drive, where you will open your .aq or .paf files. Here at the OFSL we use the name \AQ Data for that folder, but the name of this folder isn’t important because it will not appear in the path statement you use to attach images. You could use the My Documents  (or Documents) folder. It would make things a little cleaner if you separated Genealogy files from other files like word processor and spreadsheet files. You could do this by creating a sub folder in your documents folder to hold these files. We called ours \AQ Data. The important thing is that if you want to show your photos and documents here at the OSFL, you need to have them in a folder located where you open your data files.

When you run Ancestral Quest here at the OFSL, your data file doesn’t “know” that it is on a different machine. It expects to find your images just where you told it they would be.

When you attach a photo to your scrapbook in Ancestral Quest, you tell AQ the path and file name of the image. You can do this by typing the information or by clicking the Browse button. If the first part of that path name is the name of a folder contained in the folder where you opened your data file, AQ doesn’t include the drive letter in the path name. Look at the path and file name in the Location box below.

Since the \Images folder is visible to AQ, because \Images and the data reside in the same folder, AQ doesn’t need to keep track of the drive letter. This makes it possible for you to have your pictures in a folder called \Images in your Documents folder on your C: drive at home, and in a folder called P:\AQ Data\Images here at OFSL. Just copy your images to your flash drive and then copy them to the \Images folder here at OFSL. If you have images in sub folders at home, they will have to be in the same sub folders here too. The path name must be the same.

If you currently have images attached in AQ and you don’t keep them in a folder inside the folder where you open your data files, then when you attached those images, you forced AQ to include the drive letter and the full path name it uses to find an image. You may want to consider moving the folder containing your images and re-assigning the pictures in AQ. This could be a big, time consuming job, so you be the judge.

For those of you who have not attached any (or maybe just a few) images, it would be wise to put them in a folder inside the folder where you open your .aq or .paf data files.

We used the name \Images, and placed it on all the computers as P:\AQ Data\Images for teaching purposes.  If your images folder has a different name, just copy that folder to your flash drive then copy it into the P:\AQ Data folder.

REMEMBER that there is limited space on the P: drive, and that others will also be using these machines. If you value your privacy, remove your data files and your images when you finish using them! If you don’t, others will.


Since the drive letter assigned to flash drives here at the OFSL changes from machine to machine, we have not, in the past, assigned a path for the Backup: file in Tools -> Preferences -> Files and Folders.

We now configure Ancestral Quest to expect backup files in the drive letter assigned to the first flash drive attached to each machine. We defaulted our backup path as ~:\AQ Backups, where the ~ is the drive letter assigned by that machine. If you will keep your backup files on your flash drive in a folder called \AQ Backups, then all of our computers here at the OFSL will find your backups without any need for you to browse for them.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a comment.

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