Advice recovering a corrupted database? [long; desperate]

First, before I start, I’ve read the other posts on this board about people whose databases are corrupt, and I have a four-level backup strategy (DevonTHINK backups, copies of the DB file, Time Machine, and archives of the Time Machine backup).

I have a DevonTHINK Pro Office 2.0.2 database that’s over 4Gb in size with >6,000 documents, the vast majority PDFs (most scanned & made searchable, many native PDF). The database is hosted on a server that’s backed up via Time Machine. I mount the server’s shared volume on my laptop and use DTP2 there to scan and classify documents.

Saturday the server was responding very slowly on other apps. I quit all apps, unmounted the shared volume, rebooted, and didn’t return to it till this afternoon. On launching DTP2 (set to open my db at launch by default), the first notice I get is

Database 'Household Files.dtBase2' seems to be already in use!

This means it wasn’t closed in an orderly fashion (no other clients are actually using it). OK, continue through that…

Found 11 major file errors. Please restore the last backup or rebuild the database and verify the contents afterwards!

Uh-oh. Don’t want to ignore this, so I Rebuild…

The application will export your contents, create a backup of the database and import the contents into a new database.

Sounds good! OK!

Found 4896 inconsistencies, 2 incorrect checksums and 0 missing files.

Well, could be worse, right? OK again.

EXPORTING   35 items
IMPORTING   3 items

And no database window, no Inbox, no nothing. New Window > Household Files has no items. Aack! Tools > Rebuild Database!

The application will export your contents, create a backup of the database and import the contents into a new database.

Well that’s what you said last time…

This time it’s slightly more successful, but it ends up with the same no result.

I quit DevonTHINK Pro Office 2, toss the Prefs files, restart, reopen the database…and there are 166 files in the Trash. Still nothing in the DB.

Now working on a local copy of the database restored from Time Machine (no server in the equation anymore), I try Restore Backup. There are four listed: 2 at 0 bytes (bad), one at 1.2Kb (also bad), and a biggish one at 6.3Mb. That last one sounds good and is pretty recent. Well, nope, restoring from the backup also gets the “11 major file errors” warning, and when it opens, I see my database with a lock icon, and still, no content.

Let’s toss this database and go to Time Machine. I restore the DB I have from early Saturday. Same process, same warnings, same results. I restore from a 2-week-old version—and DTP2 crashes in

-[_NNT_(PrivateIO) initNeuronsFile:length:]

Complete desperation move: I start a new empty database and import the Files.noindex directory from my broken database. Over 6,000 files come in. Hooray! All unsorted and with the names God gave 'em. I have a lot of work ahead of me…

then I close it and reopen it and guess what? “Major file errors.” I have 3 top-level folders and 66 files.

The good news is that I have several backup copies of all the scanned PDFs, so the raw data is safe. But I no longer have use of DevonTHINK Pro Office 2. I’m completely dead in the water, despite having two separate backup strategies and having used three different recovery techniques.

I am open to suggestions as to how to resume using DevonTHINK Pro Office 2.

Was the new database also located on the server?

It’s hard to tell what’s wrong with your backups but at least the initial problem was caused by the server and therefore it might be a good idea to use only local databases.


Nowhere in your materials does it warn against storing databases on a file server. File servers aren’t exactly a new idea; I’ve been developing and testing apps against file-server-based documents since 1987. So saying “you should only use local databases” isn’t really helpful. Nether is telling me what I should have done.

I have an apparently corrupted database, and neither the “restore from backup,” the “verify and repair,” nor the “rebuild database” functions of your program are working. Short of rolling back to a three-month-old backup that I hope doesn’t have the corruption that recent backups do, what do you advise I do to continue using DevonTHINK Pro Office 2?

Could you provide some information about your server setup/configuration (hardware, etc.)?

Although I’m not competent to comment, I’ve seen in other forums discussions of pros/cons and issues with various server networks. Perhaps a bit of information might trigger suggestions.