Backup- still a little confused

Despite researching the forum and user manual, I am still a little confused about the different methods of backing up DT. My goal is simply to backup the entire DB (including files) and using Time Machine and another third party software to create complete copies for disaster recovery. I need clarification on the following:

  • I have multiple DBs contained in DT, when I running a backup from within DT, does it back them all up or do I need to select them individually?
  • Before backing-up from within DT, I should first close all open DBs?
  • Before backing up the dB with a third party software, I should close DT?
  • I have read that using “tools> back up and optimize” whether automatically or manually, only backs up the files containing metadata and indexes, not the documents themselves. Therefore this would not provide a full backup
  • I am confused about the differences between "File>export.database archive and “scripts>export>daily backup archive”?


Only the current database and only its index/metadata storage is backed up using the command Tools > Backup & Optimize.

DEVONthink can only back up currently opened databases.

Definitely. Or at least close the databases going to be backed up.

The File > Export > Database Archive… command exports a verified, zipped & optimzied copy of the complete database package (index, metadata storage, files) to the choosen destination. The script is similar but stores the archive in the folder ~/Backups and automatically names it using the current date.

cgrunenberg thank you for clearing that up.

So when a third party software ( i.e time machine) is backing up your dtbase2 package, it is backing up everything (except inbox db), including the files that you have imported to DT.

Actually, Time Machine is also backing up the Global Inbox database.

I have a question regarding backups.

Is there anyway to have DTP backup automatically? Or is there a way to have “Daily Backup Archive” run at specific times or events, without having to run the script myself?

Read about the Backup preference in Help, and check out Preferences > Backup.

There are many ways to schedule Applescripts (cron jobs, a keyboard program such as QuicKeys or Keyboard Maestro, Automator). A simple way is to create an iCal event (can be repeating) and use the Run Script option in the alarm settings for that event to have iCal launch the script.

Thanks Bill. I think I phrased my statement/question incorrectly. What I meant to say is: once you have archived your DB using DT and yhen use a third party software to backup the dtbase2, you are actually backing up all you data within that DB( files, index, metafiles). Everything is contained in that package except the global inbox.

Thanks korm for that info. I would be interested in hearing more about the "the Run Script option in the alarm settings’ for ical; I not familiar with mac scripts at all. Question: does ical have to be open/running and likewise DT to execute the file>export>DBarchive?

May I jump in?

I had some really strange experiences with DT Backups and moving files and folders between two databases, resulting in more than 16 000 missing files and a complete unresponsive and unusable iMac G5. I found out that one of these scripts/commands (don’t ask me which one, I’ve been in panic for days restoring my databases) put zipped backups in the global Inbox. Everything could have been my fault I assume, but I would like to know what to do if I want a backup with the current date to an external HD.

These are the options I get via Scripts Menu:

DT Export.png

What is the difference beween ‘Daily Backup Archive’ and ‘Export Daily Backup’?

(I’m using DT Pro 2.0.7)

“Backup Archive” and “Export Daily Backup” might be relicts of older releases, only “Daily Backup Archive” is part of the current releases.

If you didn’t add any scripts to the folder ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Pro 2/Scripts on your own, then just delete this folder and relaunch the application. Afterwards the scripts menu should be up-to-date.

Thank you, Christan, I cleared this folder and have no more different Backup Archive options.

Any idea what might be the reason I’ve had two backups in the Global Inbox? I only remember, I’ve been confused DT didn’t ask where to put the Backup Archive. Might it have been one of those older scripts?

The scripts (neither the current one nor the former ones) shouldn’t add the backup to the global inbox, the backups are either added to a folder choosen by the user or to the folder ~/Backups.

Maybe you’ve indexed the destination folder, attached a folder action to it or choosen the global inbox folder (~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Pro 2/Inbox)?

Finally, did you use “Force Quit” or restart the computer while DEVONthink was creating the backup?

I had and still have this folder, but it hadn’t been used in that case.

I never index(ed) something or attach(ed) a folder action to anything.

This could have happened, I remember I had the computer running over night because I couldn’t use it anymore, hoping DT will heal itself by time after having created this never ending backup … Maybe and likely I used force quit next morning. Anyway, with this day started a long and painful time with my main database(s).

Am I right, that there is no way to write the backup with the current date directly to the external HD? Is it more safe to write the BU to the internal and copy afterwards to the external HD?

You could either use File > Export > Database Archive… or modify the script to use another location.

Just to go for sure I understand what I am doing. :slight_smile:

I want to do a full backup including all files of my databases. Therefore I use the script shown in the screenshot:
(german language, should be “daily backup-archive” in english).

These backups are stored in my Homedir/Backup - and if I got these files stored in a safe place all is fine cause I can restore the full database with all my data including the files of any day I made that backup.

Right? :question:


To be precise, files of any day and time that you make the backup.

As mentioned above, be sure that the database is closed before you make the backup.

Updating myself. The Run Script option in iCal was removed in Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8.x). There are other options for scheduling scripts. See, for example, this discussion.