Baby steps for migrating data to DEVONthink from a backup HD

After a disastrous update from Mojave to Big Sur on my iMac, after which I had to reset the Fusion drive and therefore erase everything on it, I have now installed DEVONthink 3 and want to migrate into it the data from a backup external HD with DEVONnote 2.
I’ve searched through the discussions here but I’m still confused about what to do. I know how to find my user Library and Application Support files but that’s about the extent of my technical prowess. Can someone supply me with baby steps, please? :slight_smile:

You do not say enough to describe the backup disk, what it contains, how created, etc. So without knowing more cannot yet say. For example, a TimeMachine backup? copy of your old disk? DEVONthink backup Zip files?

Focus your attention on finding the DEVONthink database files. These will actually be Apple’s OS “packages” containing thousands of subfolders and files only DEVONthink can make sense of. Hopefully if you can find them, you just drag them across (as packages) to your new setup. Suggested places are in ~/Documents/DEVONthink or ~/DEVONthink. If backup DEVONthink *.zip files (using DEVONthink’s built-in backup process), then copy across to new setup and then unzip into these locations (using Finder).

I’m only speculating though.

Thanks for your reply. The backup is a USB external hard drive, a complete bootable copy of the iMac’s original drive running Mojave. I don’t have DEVONthink backup Zip files, only the original app on this external drive and, of course, anything I can find there in the way of support files. Basically I don’t know what I’m looking for - a folder containing the ‘metadata’ files, or something different?

Sorry, to be accurate, this was DEVONnote, not ‘think’, but I gather that wouldn’t be important.

Ignore all my advice, please. I do not know what DEVONnote is or anything about it. I thought it an erroneous autocorrect or something.

Were your databases encrypted? If not, the would be called .dtSparse; find you database(s) on the backup disk, copy them to a pertinent location on the hard drive in your Mac (e.g. /users/yourusername/databases or /users/yourusername/documents/databases) and simply open them. They will load in DEVONthink 3. No need to migrate, import or anything.

Ah, I made the same mistake, overlooking that you wrote note rather than think; I don’t know whether the databases were called .dtSparse in the day, and I’d guess not. @BLUEFROG would know, though.

I believe it’s just a subset of DEVONthink, now discontinued.

this post suggests where you might find the DEVONnote database: Your database is the folder named DEVONnote at ~/Library/Application Support/

The rest of the entries in the forum suggest that you will not be able to open the database with DT3; the posts all suggest exporting from DN2 and importing into DT3. If that is the case (simply try and see), and if you don’t have the installation file for DN2, it may be available for download in you DEVONtech user account. It might not work on Big Sur however - I’m not sure from what I’ve read.

Ah, that sounds hopeful. But a quick try brought up a new gotcha (for me) - how do I open ~/Library/Application Support/ on the external hard drive? Option > Go opens it on the iMac, not the external drive.

If you use CMD + Shift + . then hidden files will become visible (same to hide them again); that way you’ll be able to see the ~/library folder in Finder

~/library is a subfolder under your user home folder. /library is a system folder under the root. two different places. take care.

once found on the external drive you can drag and drop where you want on the new set up. i suggest you do this with two Finder windows.

Okay, I can now see my home folder library! Progress. In Application Support > DEVONnote 2 there’s a series of files called DEVONnote-1.dtMeta, up to number 10. (There are also have some Backup folders in there but they would be earlier.)

In that case I don’t think you’ll be able to import directly. It might be easiest to boot from your bootable external drive, run DEVONnote, and export the files as suggested e.g. here, then boot your Mac from its internal drive and import the files into DT3.

From what I can find in the forum dtMeta files are the metadata, not the data itself.

1 Like

I’ll try that. Maybe not tonight (I’m in the Canary Islands and it’s getting a bit late here) but tomorrow. Many thanks to both for the help so far. I’ll report back.

19:16 sounds like a great time for another glass of wine, starting a Mac from an external drive, another glass of wine, exporting some data, another glass of wine, copying data, a brief walk, a day dream at the ocean front, another glass of wine and - well, after that much wine, who knows?

1 Like

…and who cares?!! But I’ve just had a terrible time with my update to Big Sur (don’t ask) and I’m nervous of making mistakes. Glass of wine, though, yes. Cheers.

:wine_glass: :wine_glass: enjoy :slight_smile:

Sorry to hear things have been playing up for you; I’m sure together we’ll get you up and running DEVONthink 3 though :slight_smile:

:+1: :+1: :wine_glass: :wine_glass:

As the helpful others have been suggesting, yes the ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONnote directory is the entire DEVONnote database. The Backup folders in there are internal metadata backups, not file backups.

There isn’t a direct import but yes you can do the File > Export > Files & Folders and import those files into DEVONthink.

Long ago, I had written a script to convert a DEVONnote database to a DEVONthink database. I wonder if it still works…

1 Like

Many thanks for your response. I have now successfully imported my data into DEVONthink! This is obviously a diminishing need but still, in case anyone else might find it useful, this is what I did in step-by-step detail.

Stage 1: if necessary, import your original data into a new installation of DEVONnote
1 Install DEVONnote 2.11.2 on the Mac if it’s not there already – legacy software but still available for download. (This may not be essential – see note 1 below.)
2 Plug into the Mac the USB hard drive carrying your backup.
3 On this backup hard drive find the folder ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONnote 2 and copy it to a convenient location on the Mac – in my case, the Desktop. (For how to find the ~/Library/ folder see note 2 below.)
4 On the Mac, find the equivalent folder from the new installation of DEVONnote 2 (~/Library/Application Support/DEVONnote 2) and delete it, then replace it with the one just copied from the backup HD. (Make sure to quit DEVONnote 2 before you do this.)
5 Launch DEVONnote 2 on the Mac, which will now show your data.

Stage 2: export the data from DEVONnote 2
6 In the sidebar of DEVONnote 2, select a folder or an individual file (see note 3 below).
7 File menu > Export > Files & Folders to the Desktop or any other folder.
8 Export the other folders and files in the same way.

Stage 3: import the database into DEVONthink 3
9 Launch DEVONthink 3 then File menu > Import > Files & Folders to import those you’ve just exported from DEVONnote 2.

Note 1: If you have a bootable backup hard drive with DEVONnote 2 already there, you could start up the Mac from this drive (Option-start) and save the database folder to another external device.
Note 2: Useful tip I learned during this exercise: Command-Shift-[.] reveals the hidden files including your user Library. So easy when you know…
Note 3: You can’t export the whole lot in one go, only individual folders or files.