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My Mineral Collection Catalog (MMCC)

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(document last modified on July 22, 2024)


Please read this first

The answers below are intended exclusively for the latest release of MMCC, whose full version is currently
Before going on, you may want to check the version you are using. Don't be afraid to update it if necessary

The most frequent questions

Where can I find my data files on the computer? Question #76
What if all my data is missing after installing an update? Question #60
What's this mess about Administrator and Limited users? Question #74
After installing MMCC, I get a number of error messages... Question #71

Go to Q&A

  1. Is this application really free of charge?
    Yes, My Mineral Collection Catalog (MMCC for short) is free of charge for you to use for an unlimited time, with no ads and some minor restrictions explained in the User license agreement that you must accept before installing the software (and can still read in the Help menu): not for sale, no internal modifications, no warranty, and so on.

  2. How can I run it on my macOS (or on a Linux/Android) system?
    There are two essentially different ways:

    1. By creating an independent virtual machine that insulates a Windows box on your macOS or any Linux distribution (Android is based on the Linux kernel, after all). Within this box, you will be able to run any Windows program on your computer the same way you would do it in the native Microsoft operating system. You can easily have such a virtual machine working by just installing VirtualBox on your system, which is a free product from Sun Microsystems. Please go to the VirtualBox site to get more info and download the software. Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion, designed specifically for macOS at the time of writing this, also create hardware virtualization for running Windows software on your computer.

    2. With the help of Wine or CrossOver, which act as an intermediate layer to encapsulate a Windows environment. Wine is free of charge and works fine but is not perfect yet, so expect to see rather old-fashioned buttons and some odd color tones, and probably the internet links not working. But the application's main functions should operate properly.

  3. How can I get a detailed list of the features added to each version?
    Just by clicking on the What's New menu item.

  4. Will any of my data be lost when installing an update to MMCC?
    Absolutely not. The installation process neither erases nor overwrites the user's files. Several example records included in the pack are only copied when there is no data at all, typically during the first installation. Please also read carefully question #7.

  5. Is there any danger of getting my computer infected after installing the program?
    The pack that is distributed from this site is warranted to be virus, trojan, adware and spyware-free. And if you finally stop using it, you will be able to perform a clean uninstallation.

  6. What are the screen resolution requirements to run the application, and how can I change them if necessary?
    The screen must be able to work with a width of at least 1280 pixels and a height of at least 1024. Smaller sizes may truncate some of the MMCC forms. If you need to change it, close all the applications that may be running, place the mouse pointer near the center of the screen, make a click with the right button to open the Properties dialog, select the Configuration or Settings tab, and set the screen resolution to at least 1280 pixels wide and 1024 pixels high.

  7. What is the best place to make backup copies of my data?
    I strongly recommend performing them on a drive other than the one where the program is installed. It can be either a second local drive (HDD or SSD), internal or external, any network drive, a USB flash memory stick (pen drive), or an SD card, in order to prevent losing your data in case of mechanical or logical failure of the drive where the application and the user files actually are. From time to time, also copy your data files to your smartphone via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi using FTP, on-the-go pen drive, email attachment, or whatever way you prefer. If you don't mind other people snooping on your data, send your backup copy to the cloud. But don't believe that lie. The cloud does not really exist; it is just someone else's computer. Read also the questions #12 and #94.

  8. Can I import to MMCC all my database into MS Access?
    Unfortunately, the answer is no. There is no possibility of importing data from other formats unless you are able to convert it to Paradox with the same field structure that MMCC uses. Not an easy task if you are not an expert in database management and lack the tools to do it. Developing a standard procedure to automatically perform that kind of operation is quite difficult, highly time-consuming, and must be done on an almost case-by-case basis, given the number of existing formats and, above all, the multiplicity of field structures each one can have.

  9. The inflation rates or consumer price indexes (CPI) included in the application are very different from the ones registered in my area.
    You can edit any or all of them by opening the inflation database file (menu item File > Inflation rates) and overwriting the existing values. Then click the Utilities > CPI adjustment menu item for the field Current cost of every specimen to be recalculated. When the rate of a new year has to be added, just open a new record by pressing the down arrow in the last line of the grid, enter the year and the rate, and repeat the recalculation. Go to the website of your local government to get the real inflation data recorded in your area.

  10. What is the purpose of the CPI adjustment function?
    As explained in question #9, this function makes a full recalculation of the field Current cost, on a record-by-record basis, to adjust them for inflation. It only needs to be run once when some change has been made in the inflation database; otherwise, the prices will be recalculated but not changed.

  11. What is the Reindex function for?
    As you surely know, the specimen database file can be ordered by different criteria, and that order is saved in several auxiliary files technically known as index files. In certain circumstances, they can get corrupted, and then the reindex function comes to the rescue by simply rebuilding them. You don't usually need to perform this operation unless you notice some strange behavior when ordering the records or an error message (something like Index is out of date) is shown after opening the database files. You can choose between a regular and a clean reindex (this one works by deleting the preexisting index files). Any reindex operation also rebuilds the index files linked to the species, contacts, and inflation database files. Read also question #57 for more details.

  12. What to do if I ever need to restore the backup copy?
    Firstly, open the Help > About box and write on a piece of paper the name of both the Data and Backup copies folders (or just get a screenshot). Then make sure to close the application and copy all the files from the folder where the Backup copies are to the Data folder (be very careful not to perform this operation in the opposite direction). Allow them to overwrite each other. Open the MMCC again. Everything should work fine.

    Note: Your backed-up files will actually be found within a folder with a name equal to the year, month, and day that they were done, separated by a hyphen, inside another folder called Minerals.back. Copies made on the same day are overwritten. You will typically want to restore the most recent ones, but if this doesn't work, do it with the immediately previous ones, and so on.

  13. Is there any shortcut to change the order of a field?
    Yes, just click the field column title. If the field accepts normal and reverse order, try to click a second time. But if the field cannot be ordered, this operation will do nothing.

  14. How do I move a column or change its width?
    Drag the title with the mouse to move it. To change the width, put the cursor on the title, just over the right border, and drag left or right. The new positions of the columns, if moved, are not persistent after opening the application again, but the new widths are kept for further sessions.

  15. Where are the user's preferences stored, and how can I reset them?
    All these settings, grid column widths included, are written in the configuration file minerals.ini, which can be found in the MMCC folder. To reset them, close the application first and then delete the file. In Windows 7, 8.1, 10 and 11, look for that file in the deep folder \Users\[UserName]\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\Minerals, where [UserName] is, you guessed it, the name of the user on Windows. However, you will need administrator permissions to open it.

  16. What is the difference between the fields Original cost and Current cost?
    The first cost is the amount you paid for the specimen at the moment of purchase. The latter means this same cost has been adjusted for the inflation that has been registered since then. It can be quite useful, specially with pieces bought many years ago, to get an idea of how much money they would be worth today.

  17. I don't want any name to be shown in the header of the Edit form. How can I hide it?
    Go to the Preferences form and leave the Title box empty. The entire panel will become invisible.

  18. How can I customize the report to prevent columns from being overlapped by others or to exclude some fields?
    Before opening the print reports screen, widen or narrow the grid columns you are interested in. You can also move columns out of the screen to get them excluded from the report, and switch their position to get this position also changed in the printed report. Read also question #14 for details on how to move and widen columns. Other options are changing the font size or the printer orientation.

  19. How can I get a printed report of only a subset of the records?
    Just set a filter before opening the print reports function, or select the rows you want to include in the report. Read question #20 for more details.

  20. What is the procedure for selecting multiple rows in a data grid?
    Hold down the Control key and click each of the rows you want to select. If the rows are contiguous, hold down the Shift key with your left hand and press the up or down arrow key with your right hand. Combinations of both procedures can also be used. Just try it and get some practice. The selected rows will be highlighted in blue and will have a dot visible in their left margin. This operation may be useful for having a printed report restricted to only certain records, and for summing up the cost, the mass, and the appraisal value of a number of selected records. Try it out for yourself!

  21. Unexpectedly, I can no longer see the pictures associated with each record.
    Check the Preferences form. The Photos & videos folder may be wrong, or somebody may have renamed it or deleted the files inside.

  22. Sometimes I find the field Country too short. Could it be widened?
    The actual field in the physical file has room for 12 characters. And it seems they are enough. There is no need to write Lao People's Democratic Republic or People's Republic of China if you can write just Lao or China, or United States of America and United Kingdom instead of the more common USA and UK. You can even enter an acronym or abbreviation that you like or find to be more mnemotechnical, since a country may have other meanings. For many people, it must not necessarily be a nation-state because there are territories that can also be considered countries without having that rank.

  23. Would it be possible to add several more fields, like chemical formula and class, Dana and Strunz numbers, crystal system, synonymy, etymology, and the species name in more than one language?
    Given that that information is common to all specimens of a single species, it seems redundant to repeat it in each record. If you owned fifty pyrites, were you going to include in your file such an amount of data multiplied by fifty? This is nowadays an inefficient way of storing information and may even be a waste of time as well. I think that you should never include any detail in your catalog that is already easily found on the net or in any reference book. As you may know, the program puts at your fingertips specific direct links to the major mineral databases on the internet, which can provide you with all of that and much more in a matter of seconds. For free!

  24. Can I define additional fields for my own specific needs?
    Yes, you have three user-definable fields available. Just go to the Utilities > Preferences menu and give them the names you want.

  25. What are the size (or maximum length) and type of each field?
    The maximum length is shown in parentheses after every field name. The fields whose type is string (aka character or alphanumeric) are Number/ID (8), Species 1/ Specimen's name, Species 2, Species 3, Species 4, Species 5, Species 6, Species 7, and Species 8 (25), Description (200), Location (10), Locality (120), Country (14), Provenance (75), Condition (12), Rating (2), Label price (9), Buy price (9), Size (30), Largest crystal (60), minID (7 to 11), Appraisal by (50), Free field 1 (60), Free field 2 (60), Free field 3 (60), Images and videos (64). Acquired and Appraisal date are of date type. Original cost, Current cost and Appraisal value are currency. Mass is numeric (or float) with two decimal places. Marked is logical or Boolean. And the type of Notes is memo, a field that contains plain text (text without formatting), the field size being very large, practically unlimited text length (up to 256 MB)

  26. Could the size of any given field be enlarged?
    No, this is a task that the user cannot do by themselves. Not only would the application have to be internally modified and recompiled, but the structure of the actual file that contains the data (whose name is minerals.db) would have to be changed too on every computer where it resides.

  27. What programming language has been used to develop this application?
    Object Pascal, along with several third-party tools, mainly RX Library (Fedor Koshevnikov, Igor Pavluk, and Serge Korolev), and GLAD Components (Greg Lief).

  28. What are the meanings of the fields Label price and Buy price as opposed to Original cost?
    There are two major differences between them. Label price can be defined as the labeled price, the price at which the specimen was tagged when it formerly had been for sale, and Buy price, the price really paid after the discount, if any. A switch of currency is now frequent, so you can buy, for instance, in euros but your credit card may be finally charged in dollars, which will be the Original cost. And sometimes you negotiate with (and obtain from) the vendor a discount on the requested price. In both cases it may be interesting for many collectors to keep record of what the Label price and Buy price were at the moment of purchase.

  29. What are the user file names? I mean the files where the data I'm entering is actually stored.
    They are named Minerals and Deleted, with the extensions db, mb, px, x??, and y??; Infl, with the extensions db and px; Species, with the extensions db and px; Filter.db; and minerals.ini. But don't worry about the risk of losing them. All these files are included in the backup utility, so every time you execute it, they are copied to the folder you set in the Utilities > Preferences menu.

  30. How can I get the total of the current cost of only a subset of records, not the entire database?
    You can either set a filter by using the File > Filter menu item, or manually select the records you want. To know how to have records selected, please read question #20.

  31. Sometimes I get messages that say Index is out of date when changing the order of the database, or Corrupt file other than header just when opening MMCC. What do they mean?
    There must be some damage to the data, or more likely, to the index files. But they can usually be repaired by performing a Regular reindex, as explained in question #11. If the problem keeps going, do a Clean reindex. If the anomaly persists, however, close the application, open it again, and repeat the reindex operations. As a last resort, you will have to restore the most recent backup copies (see also question #12 for the way to do it).

  32. Is there a quick way to save all the modified data in a single record by using the keyboard?
    This can be done at any moment by pressing the Control+S key.

  33. Can your program take, in its field Number/ID, dots or periods (.) or hyphens or slashes (-/)? Will it take letters as well as numbers?
    Yes, you can type any character, number, uppercase letter, dot, hyphen, slash, even blanks, etc., except lowercase letters.

  34. Can fields that are not used be minimized?
    If you mean hidden, the answer is no in the Edit form (except the field Notes), but yes in the grid or main screen. To hide a field in the grid, drag to the left as much as you can the column's right border by placing the mouse cursor on the title. Do the opposite to make it visible again. This state will be kept for future sessions of the program.

  35. Can MMCC be used to manage two different collections on a single computer, keeping them separate?
    Of course. Just perform two installations of the application in independent folders. But you will not be allowed to have both programs open at the same time to keep from getting the data corrupted or your computer hanging. For your convenience, you can create a shortcut for each installation on the desktop.

  36. When starting the application, I get messages that say either Directory is controlled by other .NET file or Table is busy. Then my data is not shown, everything seems hung, and sometimes even MMCC can't be opened.
    Terminate or close the application the way you can (I suggest Windows Task Manager by pressing the keys Control+Shift+Esc), then search the program folder for files whose name are Pdoxusrs.lck, Paradox.lck and, and delete all of them. Then try to open the application again.

  37. How can I disable the user-definable fields?
    Just go to Utilities > Preferences and leave the free field name(s) blank.

  38. I've found a bug related to the Order by number/ID function, in the sense that if you write 1, 2, ..., 10, ..., 124, etc., the program will misunderstand and order them as follows: 1, 10, 11, 12, ..., 2, 20, 21,... etc.
    That's not a bug. The field Number/ID is not really numeric but alphanumeric. This means you can write in all kinds of characters, digits, uppercase letters, punctuation signs, etc., even spaces, except lowercase letters. Therefore, the digits are considered just as characters, so the number '2' follows the number '11' for the same reason that 'B' follows 'AA'. If you are going to use only digits, you'd better write the Number/ID with leading zeros, for instance, '001', '002', '003' and so on.

  39. What about printing labels? Nothing fancy would be needed, maybe the ability to choose a font, size and alignment for each of the three fields that most people would want on their labels (species/description/locality).
    Please also read question #52 before deciding if having simple labels is enough for you.

    It's not as easy as it seems. Implementing a complete and flexible function to have labels printed is not a matter of a couple of hours because not only the fonts should be controlled. In addition to fonts, there are a lot of other parameters to take into account. Paper size, column number, column width, label height, position of the fields, what fields to include, inserting a graphic logo, drawing frames, and so on. And all of them must be hard-coded. I'm sorry, but currently I don't have enough time to develop such a function. An option might be to export the data in MS Excel format and get the labels from there.

  40. What should I do to keep records of specimens that are no longer in my collection?
    Nothing at all. Just delete one record the usual way, and it will be copied to another file. You will still be able to see and manage them by clicking on the File > Removed menu. If you delete this record, however, then it will be lost forever. But you can also restore the most recent backup copy (if you have one).

  41. I just deleted one record, but then I realized it had been a mistake. How can I revert the operation?
    The application has no function to recover a deleted record. The easiest way is to open the Edit form of the record by clicking on the File > Removed menu. Then click on the Single record report button, and you will get a text file with the content of all the fields. Then manually register the specimen again. It's not a lot of work anyway.

  42. What is the Marked field for?
    It has no predefined function. You can mark the records of the specimens you most prefer, the pieces you plan to remove in the future, and so on. It can also be useful to have two parallel collections. The main (not marked) and the duplicates, or specialized (marked). The marked records will be displayed in a red font in the grid.

  43. I fear I've lost all my data! When opening MMCC, an error message is shown reporting something like an index file being out of date. After making a reindex another message tells me again that the culprit is an outdated index, and I can't see my data on the screen. How can I work it out?
    This is an issue that may arise in rather rare situations. Ignore any error messages and then try a Clean reindex. You will eventually recover all your data. Read also question #31 for more details.

  44. Why a field with two names, such as Species 1/Specimen's name?
    Some collectors prefer to give every specimen a name of their choice that is different from the main species'. So you can use that field to store either the main species or the specimen's name you have assigned to the piece, if any.

  45. It is not easy for me to perform a search of the locality at Mindat. Could you give me some advice?
    Because of the way the Mindat locality database works, if you launch a search with the full locality name, you are not going to get any results most of the time. It is better to highlight (by dragging the mouse) a key piece of text rather than the entire locality. Also, try double-clicking a single word.

  46. Is it possible to link the appraisal to the inflation figure the way the original and current cost do so that you also get a current appraisal figure?
    No, it's not possible. When developing that function, I thought about it for a while, but finally decided it made no sense. If some years ago someone made an appraisal for you, the specimen's adjusted for inflation value is not necessarily equal to the value your specimen has in the market today. Just an example. In 2016, you purchased a good Daoping pyromorphite for $3,000. Given the fact that the mines are now exhausted, the current value of the specimen might be double of the original, no matter what the inflation rate is. The opposite may also be true with other specimens.

  47. I've seen the new Autonumber new records option. How does it work?
    If you activate it, when creating a new record, the application will assign the field Number/ID by incrementing by one the number of the last record added (this applies only when the last character is a digit).

  48. If I delete the mineral photos from my computer, will they also be deleted from the database?
    To track the photos, the database stores only the image file's name. And that string is not updated when you delete (or move) a photo, since this is an operation that has to be performed from outside the program. So the deleted (or moved) images will no longer be displayed in the records because the application will be unable to find them.

  49. After a computer crash [or a power outage] MMCC has stopped working. A message saying something like Exception EDBEngineError... Directory is controlled by other .NET file... is displayed. The application cannot be opened anymore.
    Make sure the program is really closed and open the folder where it is installed. Then delete all the files with the names, pdoxusrs.lck and paradox.lck, and try to open the application again. Sometimes a reindex must be performed.

  50. I'm trying to install a new version of MMCC, but I get a message that says An error occurred while trying to replace the existing file: DeleteFile failed; code 5. Access denied.
    This probably happens because you are installing the program while a previous version is open. Abort the installation operation, be sure to close the application, and start the installation again.

  51. What is the point of the date shown below the specimen pictures in the edit form?
    It is the day when the photo was shot, last modified, or downloaded from the net, the latest of them.

  52. How to print simple labels.
    Try this:

     1. On the main screen, move to the right by dragging the mouse all the grid columns other than Species/Name, Locality, and Country until all of them are placed on the right side of the screen. Read also question #14 for details on how to move and widen columns.
     2. Make the Country column wider than usual with the mouse in order to push to the right the unwanted columns that still remain visible until all of them are hidden.
     3. With a click, select or make active the line of the specimen you want a label from.
     4. Make sure the only visible columns are the ones you want printed.
     5. When you are done, open the menu option File > Reports & Labels, or press Control+R.
     6. Leave Page title and Page numbers unchecked.
     7. Set Number of copies to 1 and Lines separation to 10.
     8. Check Records in Page layout.
     9. Check Current row in Rows.
    10. Check Visible columns in Columns.
    11. Click the button Grid data in Font and select any font you like.
    12. Click the button Print to have the label printed.
    13. Finally, you may want to reset the grid column order, width, and position to the factory settings by clicking on the menu item Utilities > Reset Columns.

    • You will get a printout with two columns. Discard the left one. There will be a simple label for your specimen on the right.
    • Make some tries by setting different line separations and grid data fonts, or changing the columns width and position, until you get the best result.
    • If you don't like the country printed, just hide this column the same way you did with the others.
    • If you want the number, description, or another field included, leave the corresponding column(s) visible.
    • To print more than one label in one single operation, try either to set a filter or to select multiple rows (read also question #20 for details). Or do nothing if you want to print one for every specimen. Then change the setting in step 9 accordingly.
    • If you need more sophisticated labels, however, read question #39.

  53. I can't find the name of the varieties on the species list.
    The species file is intended to contain only approved species names. The variety can be included in the fields Description or Notes. But you can manually add new names to the species file and even translate them into your language if necessary.

  54. Any special advice on how to install and use MMCC on Windows 7, 8.1, 10, 11, or higher?
    Make sure you are logged into Windows as an administrator. If not, log in again in order to have all the administrative permissions. Then open the executable file Properties window (right-click either Minerals - Application file name, or minerals.exe file name, or the program shortcut on the Desktop). Then go to the Compatibility tab and check Execute (or Run) this application as an administrator (this may vary depending on your version of Windows).

    Failing to do so can produce some system errors at startup, or, depending on the Windows version, your data files can be found at the folder \Users\[UserName]\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\Minerals, where [UserName] is the name of the user logged on Windows.

    Please see more details in question #74 and question #76.

  55. When I try to open MMCC, several errors are shown, my data is not visible, and it hangs. What should I do?
    Try to close the program. If you cannot, terminate it through the Windows Task Administrator. Open it again, go to the Utilities > Reindex menu item, and click the Regular reindex button. If the problem keeps going, go for a Clean reindex, even a second time, until everything works fine. If you were not able to solve it this way, the latest backup copy will have to be restored, following the directions in question #12.

  56. What should I do if I ever need to convert my data to another format?
    The user's files are in Paradox 7, which is not a rare format, but a function is available to easily export all your data to an XLS file, that can be read and processed by other known software like MS Excel, MS Access and the free and excellent suites or Important: You must have MS Excel installed on the same computer for the export process to work properly. But if you ever want to directly open the Paradox tables, install a free piece of software named xDBD that you will find at SourceForge. It's very intuitive and easy to use.

  57. What is the difference between a regular reindex and a clean reindex?
    The regular reindex operation just rebuilds the preexisting auxiliary index files. A clean reindex, however, physically deletes all those index files and then builds new ones from scratch. This second operation can be a lifesaver when a regular reindex is not enough to solve the problem because of the poor condition of the index files. Read also question #11 for more details.

  58. How can I quickly find the record linked to an image file?
    Look for a button on the top area of the main screen that shows a magnifying glass, and click it. This is the Search button. Then enter the file name or just a portion of it and click the Next button. For higher efficiency, however, it is recommended to give the image files a name in such a way that the specimen number is included in it, for example, 1234-galena.jpg.

  59. What is the best way to name the picture files?
    There is no general rule for doing that. But it is a good idea to name them by starting with the specimen's Number/ID, followed by a hyphen, and the species name. If you have several photos of the same specimen, add a sequential number. For example, 1234-galena1.jpg, 1234-galena2.jpg...

  60. What if all my data is missing after installing an update?
    The installation program is carefully instructed to never overwrite existing user data files, and I can't imagine any reason for this failing. Your data is neither overwritten nor deleted. If somebody can't see them it's usually because the data is in another folder (not excluding the low probability that the user inadvertently deleted them beforehand).

    Let's see what to do now. Just after finishing the installation of My Mineral Collection Catalog, the app will be executed with administrator rights, since this is required by Windows for the installation program to work. If MMCC had been running until now as a limited user, your data files were moved by Windows to a different folder (typically C:\Users\...), an operation that is known as virtualization. I suggest you close the program and open it again as usual, the installer aside. Your data should be visible now. If not, you can make three operations to go on. (1) Make sure you have installed MMCC in the same folder as before, not in a new one. (2) By using the Windows File Explorer, perform a search on your computer for a file named minerals.db, and a list will be shown displaying the folders that contain it, its size, and the last date it was edited. Look for the one that has the most recent data and a larger size. (3) If there is not such file in a folder different from the one where you installed the program, I fear something very odd has happened. The last resource is restoring the most recent backup copy. See question #12 for more details.

    Check the Help > About menu item to know the kind of Windows user you are working with and your actual data folder.

    If you need more information about the administrator and limited users, please also read question #74.

  61. In the dropdown list to capture localities, I see a name that is no longer valid, but can't find a way to delete it. How should I proceed?
    If such a name is included in the list, it must be because some record still contains it. Set a filter with the sentence Locality contains ... where the points are a specific text fragment from the full locality name you want to delete (File > Filter menu). The grid will now display only the record(s) for that locality. If not, check the filter setting or click on the button Magnifier to search all the database.

  62. What is the dropdown list attached to the Provenance field made of?
    It is actually a consolidation of the Provenance field content of all your active records (not the removed ones).

  63. I'm working on My Mineral Collection Catalog with two computers at different places. How can I take my data from one computer to another and have them always synchronized?
    The best approach would be to install a VPN, or virtual private network, to get both computers linked through the internet. This would allow you to have your data permanently synchronized in real time. If you don't like it, after finishing your work, get a backup copy of your files on a pen drive or an external hard disk and then restore it on the other computer. See question #12 for the way to do it.

  64. The specimen photos I added to the Edit form are shown very slowly in the Carousel. Why?
    This most often happens because the image is too large, it is in PNG or BMP format, your computer is short of memory or CPU speed, or too many programs are open at the same time. You can dramatically increase the opening speed by getting a copy of your photos with a more manageable size, converting them to the JPEG/JPG format, closing the apps that clutter the available memory, or, if all of this fails, by upgrading your computer.

  65. I'd like to calculate the total mass of my specimens. How can I get it?
    Click on the File > Sum up mass menu item or press Control+W. This function is sensitive to filters and selected records set by the user, so you can also get the value of just a subset of your collection.

  66. My new Netbook does not allow me to set a screen resolution over 1280x1024, so I find some of your program screens truncated at the bottom. Any solution?
    There is a solution to that problem in most cases. Try this:

    1. Go to the Windows Start menu and type regedit in the Execute box, then hit Enter.
    2. Scroll up on the left pane to make sure you are at the very top of the tree.
    3. At the top menu, go to Edit, then Find and search for the word Display1_DownScalingSupported. Be patient, the process can take a while.
    4. After right-clicking, change the value of Display1_DownScalingSupported you find from "0" to "1".
    5. Then press the F3 key to make sure you change every found instance, because otherwise the hack won't work. There might be more than 10. So you'll have to repeat steps 4 and 5 a number of times.
    6. Once done, restart the system, and open My Mineral Collection Catalog again. It will produce a message and try to change the resolution to the minimum supported, 1280x1024. If it failed to do so, this may mean your computer does not have that capability. Contact with the manufacturer.

    For advanced users, more details can be gotten by googling the keywords display1_downscalingsupported netbook together and other similar combinations.

  67. How can I operate the Gallery for just one single specimen?
    It's easy. Just set a filter like "Number/ID equals" and enter the specimen number or ID. Then activate the Gallery.

  68. In addition to the acquisition date of a specimen, I also have the date it was field collected. Can I add a column in order to have this information?
    The field Acquired is intended for storing the date you got the specimen, either purchased, from a gift, by exchange, or field collected. So I think you don't really need a specific field to keep track of the date you collected it. If you want to save more details, just use the field Notes or one of the free fields available at Preferences

  69. Can I move a column in the main form? If so, is it permanent?
    Yes, you can move any column by dragging its title. And you can also make it wider or narrower. This is useful for getting printed reports. The new column position is not permanent, but the width is.

  70. I have updated my computer to Windows 10 and installed the program. Then I didn't see any of my records. So I tried a reindex and the error Index is out of date was shown. By the clean reindex the same error appears and nothing happens. Is there a solution for this problem?
    Make sure that you (1) are logged on Windows as an administrator, and (2) explicitly Run (the app) as an administrator. Both. Then repeat the reindex.

  71. After installing MMCC, I get a number of error messages like Index file corrupted, Field ... not found, Index is out of date, Cannot perform this operation on a closed dataset, A component named ... already exists, and what's worse, my data has suddenly vanished.
    This can sometimes happen in certain systems. But don't panic, and try this:

    1. Close MMCC. If you can't, then open the Windows Task Manager (Control+Shift+Esc) and kill the program or end the task.

    2. Open the app folder with Windows Explorer and sort the files by alphabetical order. Then look for a file with the name Minerals.exe or Minerals - Application. Right-click that file and choose Run as administrator. If the program is opened as usual with your data and there are no error messages, you're done. Otherwise, read the following lines to try another solution.

    3. In the app program folder, carefully delete all files with the name minerals except those with extensions DB, MB, and EXE (maybe you will need to set your Windows Explorer to not hide extensions of known file types). In case of a mistake, restore the deleted files from the Recycle bin.

    4. Carefully delete all files with the name deleted, except those with extensions DB and MB.

    5. Open the file minerals.ini with a pure text editor, like Notepad or WordPad, search for two lines that begin with Order=<here a number> and Invers=<here a number>, and delete both.

    6. Save and close.

    7. Open My Mineral Collection Catalog. You'll probably still get some message like No index currently active, but your data should be there now. Dismiss it and jump to the next step.

    8. First of all, go to the Utilities > Reindex menu item and click Regular reindex button.

    9. Then open the menu File and click Removed.

    10. Go to the Utilities > Reindex menu item and click Regular reindex button.

    11. It's done. Just close and open MMCC again. No more errors should be displayed.

    12. If you keep getting error messages, repeat the two reindex operations with the Clean reindex button instead.

    Read also the question #95 for more details.

  72. What versions of Windows are this piece of software compatible with?
    It has been successfully tested on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and Windows 11.

  73. When I open a record by double-clicking on the grid, I always get an Access violation error message. What's that?
    Please follow first the recommendations of the question #87. If the problem persists, try this: Close MMCC, open the folder where it is installed, and delete the configuration file minerals.ini (but do not empty the Recycle bin yet). Then open the application again and try double-clicking. If the problem no longer shows up, check all your settings in the Preferences form. For the minerals.ini file location, see also question #15.

    In some cases, the message Access violation may persist. This is a conflict in Windows searching for a memory position that no longer exists and is sometimes quite difficult to resolve since there is no apparent reason. Try to do a reset of your computer and see if the problem keeps going. If so, create a new temporal folder, download the MMCC installer, and run it in the new folder with the example records that are included. After opening the application, is the error message still showing? If so, it should be triggered by something odd on your PC. If not, then it must be related to your data. Run MMCC as a limited user if you used to do it as an administrator, or the other way around, and see if the issue keeps going.

  74. What's this mess about Administrator and Limited users?
    A primer to the Administrator/Limited rights mess:

    1. As you may already know, according to Windows requirements, there are two kinds of users: Administrator and Limited, with different rights.

    2. If you installed the application in the "\Program Files (x86)" or "\Program Files" folders, which is the default (but can be changed by the user during the installation process), your database files can be either in the program folder (Administrator user) or in a deeper path (Limited user), as may be \Users\[UserName]\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\Minerals, where [UserName] is the name of the Windows user.

    3. Since the user is free to choose between executing the application as Administrator or as Limited and switch it at any time, there is the possibility of unexpectedly finding yourself with a database that is not the real one. But don't panic yet!

    4. To make things worse, the process of installing must be conducted with Administrator rights for it to be able to write in the \Program Files folder. No alternative. Windows rules.

    5. When opening MMCC again, if it had been executed as Limited before, the data you will see may be different from what you expected. That is admittedly very annoying, but there is no data loss, only that you have two sets of database files in different places on your computer.

    6. To prevent this problem from arising, you should have the previous concepts very clear and then decide: (a) Either to execute the application as Administrator or as Limited user, or (b) Either to install it in the folder "\Program Files (x86)" or in another. It's up to you.

    7. In any case, it's crucial that you obtain a backup copy of your valuable data whenever you make changes. The application can perform it for you every time you close it and will keep separate copies of every day at least for one year. Just give the order from the menu Utilities > Preferences. But select (if possible) a different drive from the one where your working data is. For example, in a pen drive or an external HDD or SSD. Or in the cloud, if you prefer, but this may not always be automatically accomplished. (Think also that there is no such thing as cloud computing; it is really sending your data to the computer of someone else.)

    8. In the worst-case scenario of accidentally losing all of your data, you will always be able to recover the most recent files in a matter of minutes.

    9. By opening the Help > About menu item in the application, you will know what kind of Windows user you are and where the real data folder is. If you couldn't see them, you likely have an old version of MMCC, so just update it for free.

    Please see more details in question #54 and question #76. And for more accurate help about this topic, you may want to contact the Microsoft support site.

  75. Why is the field Largest crystal so long?
    It's longer than expected to make room for some details about the crystal. For example, 65 wide, 70 long, 35 on edge, and so on. If the specimen contains several species, you may want to add the size of the largest crystal of each as well.

  76. Where can I find my data files on the computer?
    1. If you are executing MMCC as Administrator (recommended), you will always keep your data files in the same folder where the app is installed.

    2. If you chose to install the program in the \Program Files (x86)\Minerals folder (which is the default for Windows) AND execute it as Limited (also the default), you will find your files in the deeper folder \Users\[UserName]\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\Minerals, where [UserName] is the name of the Windows user.

    3. You can easily find out where your data actually is and whether you are running the application as an Administrator or Limited user by opening the Help > About menu item.

    4. To switch the execution of the program from Limited to Administrator please go to question #54.

  77. I set up a filter with three conditions, and now I need to cancel the first one. The app doesn't allow you to remove this line unless you first remove the others below. A better solution?
    Clear the third box of the condition you want to remove and click the OK button.

  78. What should I do to associate an image with a specimen?
    First, gather all your mineral pictures in one single computer folder. Then open the menu item Utilities > Preferences, go to the frame Folders, fill the box Images with the path of the folder where you put your images, and click the OK button. Then open the Edit form of the specimen, click on any of the boxes named Image, and select the image you want. Read also question #58 for more details.

  79. Is there a way to sort the Species 2, 3, etc.? Sometimes I am looking for all the occurrences of certain rare species, and they may be the second or even third species on a specimen whose primary species is also rare.
    No, at the moment, there is no way to do it. But you can use two ways to meet your need:

    1. On the main form, click the button Search (with a magnifying glass), write the name of the species you want, and then click Next.

    2. If you don't like this, click the button Filter (with a funnel) and define a filter with "Species #" - "contains" - the name of the species you want. Then click OK. You can add as many species as you need, then unmark the All values required checkbox and optionally save the filter conditions for future operations.

  80. When I try to open the application, I see a message that says Blob has been modified.
    Just for you info, Blob stands for Binary Large Object. That said, this issue happens when the Blob pointer of the record in minerals.DB (the main database file) becomes inconsistent with the one in minerals.MB (which stores the field Notes). This could occur when the writing to the DB file was successful but the MB file did not get updated, or vice versa, and produces an asynchrony or mismatch between both files, which can be either caused by an accidental file corruption (computer fault) or an incomplete backup restore (user fault). Possible solutions:

    If MMCC finally opens, go to Utilities > Reindex and try a Regular reindex. If it doesn't work, perform a Clean reindex.

    If the application can't be opened at all, or all that's been said above doesn't work, restore the most recent backup copies; for more details, read question #12.

    If this doesn't work either, I advise you to try a Paradox repair utility, as explained in question #95.

  81. How can I open a website from the field Notes in the Edit form?
    The field Notes only accepts plain text, a data type that does not support any formatting (bold, underline, italics, link, etc.). But to get around this limitation, I have introduced a trick to facilitate such an operation. Just select or highlight the text with the URL (internet address) by dragging your mouse. The pop-up menu will appear immediately with an item to open the site. Something similar is available in the View "Notes" form available in the main data grid.

  82. I find it very annoying to modify the Locality and Provenance fields in the Edit form. When adding any character, the box drops the list, and the application changes the entire field content. Any solution?
    Simply update to version 4.1.5 or higher, where this issue has been fixed.

  83. When I wait for MMCC to perform the backup copies on close, I get this error message: Folder name too long when copying (...) to D:\Bill\Minerals\MyMineralCollection\Minerals.back\Minerals.back\2024-03-13\Infl.db.
    For some reason, the system on your device appears to be unable to recognize a path that is that long or has that name. Try to make the copies either in a less deep folder or with a different name.

  84. What is the Provenance field for?
    A very brief history of the specimen can be noted here. If it was purchased, write down from whom. Note this if it was field-collected by you. Or you could write the names of previous collectors who also owned it, if any. Up to 75 characters; if it is not enough, write the remaining in the field Notes. To keep the locality (the geographical point where the specimen was extracted from), use the Locality field instead. More information about the provenance of minerals can be found in Daniel Trinchillo's articles at The Mineralogical Record, issue 46-2, page 212, and issue 55-2, page 144.

  85. Which is the fastest way to perform a search on this page?
    It depends on your browser but, in most cases, you can press the Control+F key and enter the string or words you want to search for. This works at least with Firefox, Google Chrome and MS Edge.

  86. What about printing this Questions & Answers collection?
    I don't recommend doing it because this document is updated over time often, and is available online 24/7 by just pressing the F1 key from inside MMCC, letting aside ecological issues with paper, energy, and toner (or ink) consumption. But if you believe it is necessary, press the Control+P key here and go ahead. I think it works with almost all browsers.

    An alternative that is more eco-friendly would be printing it as a file, so you can always read it offline. After pressing the print key, the browser will open a dialog where you can select Destination: Microsoft Print to PDF (depending on your browser and operating system).

  87. This is the message I get when trying to open the Edit form: Access violation at address ......... However, after closing the box, the form is normally open.
    This bug has been cleared in version 4.2.3. So just download that release (or higher) and install it. If the message keeps showing, read the question #73.

  88. When opening the Edit form, there is a long delay while the message Populating drop-down fields is displayed at the bottom.
    I'm sorry, but such a delay is necessary. Its duration is directly proportional to the number of records in your database and inversely to the speed of your computer, which depends on a number of elements, some related to hardware and others to software. However, you can suppress the delay right away by unchecking the Autocomplete text in the Preferences form, but then you will lose the function to select from a list the Locality and Provenance among the pre-existent ones.

  89. I am a fossil (or meteorite) collector, and I find your app okay for me. But I don't need the mineral species database that comes by default with the application. How can I quickly empty the file with more than 600 mineral species to enter the ones that I really require?
    Firstly, take note of the Data folder name in the About box. Then close MMCC and open Windows Explorer, go to such a folder, look for files which name is Species with several extensions, and delete carefully all of them (there are typically only two). Finally, open My Mineral Collection Catalog again, and you will find the species database empty, ready for you to add the data you want.

  90. What is the purpose behind the new field minID in MMCC 4.2.7?
    The huge database Mindat is implementing a universal, unique code to be associated with each existing mineral specimen in the collections around the world. The minID format is AAA-AAA, where A is any capital letter or number, but the dash can be omitted. You may know what it is if you have posted at least one photo of your specimen in such a database, but even if that is not the case, you can ask Mindat to create one. For more details about minID, please click here.

  91. Is there any other way to skip records in the Edit form other than using the mouse?
    Press F11 to go to the previous record and F12 to skip to the next on any computer. However, if your computer has a numeric keypad, as most of them do, you may prefer the Subtract or Add keys for the same purpose. Try it.

  92. I don't like to be notified of a new version of MMCC when I open the app.
    This can be solved in only a couple of minutes. Just download the installer and run it. Not only you will get rid of such annoying message, you will enjoy of new functions and fewer bugs too. Don't worry about your data, it is safe provided that you obtain a backup every time you close MMCC. See question #60 for more details.

  93. I've read on the What's New page that I can associate up to 16 images with every specimen record. But I only see eight boxes in the Edit form.
    Look for an arrow with a triangular shape on the right border, next to the eighth image box. Click it, and you will have access to the 8 missing images. That arrow can have two colors: gray when there is no image on the other side, and red when there is at least one.

  94. What is the most important thing to do when I begin using this application?
    It is protecting your data from any accident. MMCC can be reinstalled any time you want, but your data is unique. Go as soon as possible to the Preferences function and fill in the box Backup copies. Then click on the Perform backup on close checkbox. And don't forget to read critical question #7. That's all.

    Think that you, the user, are the only one responsible for keeping your data safe. So back up your files regularly; otherwise, you could lose crucial data if your HD or SS drive ever fails, which is just a matter of time.

  95. Is there any external app that is able to repair corrupted Paradox tables?

    For those who don't know yet, Paradox is the format of the My Mineral Collection Catalog data files. And yes, there are several free utilities that allow you to successfully repair corrupted Paradox tables, including the error that triggers the annoying message Blob has been modified (read question #80). Just open the page AJPDSoft (in Spanish) and download the Borland Utility Dtutil32. Another site where you can also get this kind of applications for free is Qtools Software. Or search the net for TUtility Paradox or something alike.

    Those utilities work well almost of the time, but since I cannot guarantee success, please make sure to run it after getting a backup copy of your files (read question #12) or, if MMCC couldn't be opened, in a folder that is a copy of the original.

  96. How many ways are there to open the Edit form from the application main screen?
    There are a lot of options for you to choose from:

    1. Double-click the line on the main grid (this is my favorite).
    2. Press the Enter key.
    3. Press F2.
    4. Select the menu item File > Edit.
    5. Click on the Edit button in the upper toolbar.

  97. When configuring the grids in Preferences, I made a mess with the two colors, and I would like to return to the default settings but don't know how.
    If you have the version 4.3.0 or higher (you may check it in the About MMCC box), go to Preferences and click on the Default button that is found inside the Grids group box. If you don't have such a version yet, just download the app installer and update it.

  98. I tried to update from version 4.2.9 to 4.3.0 three times, and every time it just updated to 4.2.9. I really enjoy your program and like to keep it always updated.
    This typically happens because of the cache memory of your browser. To save time, it takes the most recent version you downloaded, which keeps hidden somewhere on your computer. In such cases, you should manually clear the browser cache. But in case you don't know how, and since each browser has its own way to clear the cache, you may want to search the net for something like how to clear cache memory in [my browser]. Or try the MMCC update again a few days later to allow the memory cache to be cleared automatically (this happens too 😊).

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