How to move entire protocol and its files to another disk or folder?

My files have to be moved to another server. Can you suggest a good way to re-link them to Brainstorm? I tried to import a new Protocol by pointing to the new location, but is complains that the Protocol already exists (which it does, on the old server, still visible). Unfortunately, my Protocol is huge since we are doing resting state and I have computed and saved many full inverse time series. Like about 387 gigabytes. So exporting and importing with a ZIP file is problematic. What happens if I rename the main Protocol folder? Will that make it invisible? Is the name of the Protocol folder saved in any of the Mat-files?

Also, I have had difficulties renaming my subjects, with BSt aborting before completion of even one subject. I will try again on a local Mac in case it is something with our Linux server. Could my large database size be a factor?


Hi Jeff,

To move the location of a protocol:

  1. Detach the protocol from your database (File > Delete protocol > Detach)
  2. Move the entire protocol folder
  3. File > Load protocol > Load from folder > Select the new location

If you copy the files and want to keep the original folder available in your database:

  1. Copy the entire protocol folder
  2. Rename the copied protocol folder to something that doesn’t exist in your database yet
  3. File > Load protocol > Load from folder > Select the copied-renamed location
    The main identifier for a protocol folder is its name, you cannot have multiple protocols with the same name, even if they are in different folders.

Renaming a subject implies for some subjects the edition of some variables in the .mat files. For example, a time-frequency file has a link “DataFile” that points to the file from which it was calculated. If you rename “subject_old” to “subject_new”, this link file.DataFile has to be changed from “subject_old/condition/data_target.mat” to “subject_new/condition/data_target.mat”. For this, the file has to be loaded in Matlab, edited, and saved back. If the file is big, it can take a lot of time. If your protocol is 387Gb large, renaming a subject probably has to read and re-write a few tens of Gb.
If the process it halted half-way, you will have half of the files that won’t be updated, causing lots of nodes in the tree to be disconnected from their parents.
Just try to avoid renaming your subjects. In general try to be easy with the file explorer, this is not a very robust database system, you can quickly damage your data…


I should have asked before I attempted it! And I will diligently avoid renaming in the future!

Hi Francois,

I have a similar question, but I am moving to a new computer completely (different country actually so I need to be sure I do this properly because I will not have access to my old computer anymore). I would like to transfer all the work I’ve done on Brainstorm. From what I understand, I can export the protocol (and save in .zip format), and this is all I need to transfer. On my new computer I would just need to Load Protocol > Load from zip file. Is this correct? Or would I also need to transfer the original eeg data (even though it’s already loaded in the protocol).

I am sorry for the simplistic question, I just want to be sure that I’m doing this correctly, because I will not have access after.

Thanks so much for your help,

Hi Jacqueline,

I would recommend you zip your entire brainstorm_db folder (containing all your protocols) using your file explorer.
Using the menu “Export protocol” from Brainstorm would do exactly the same thing, but in a slower way and you’d have to repeat it for each protocol.

Then copy the big .zip file to the new computer, unzip it, it will be your new “brainstorm_db” folder.
When you start Brainstorm for the first time on the new computer, you’re asked where you want to set the “brainstorm database folder”. Just pick the brainstorm_db folder you have copied, it will load automatically all the protocols it contains.

If you have already started Brainstorm on the new computer, it will not ask for the database folder.
You can reset Brainstorm (typing “brainstorm reset” or using the “Reset” button in the Brainstorm preferences window), it will restart and ask for the database folder.


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PS: Always COPY the files instead of moving them, in case something goes wrong in the transfer.

Thank you Francois for your quick response as always