can't create new database in Dropbox folder

Has anyone encountered this? I’m trying to create a new database, but when I name it and click Create, I get a system error beep. Also, when I try to navigate to subfolders within my Dropbox folder, I see that all folders are greyed out. However, I am still able to create and save new databases in other non-Dropbox folders, which do not appear as greyed out.

Any thoughts? I can confirm that I am able to create and save new files to the Dropbox folder using other applications.

I didn’t know this was a feature, but I would guess it’s there as a protection measure. Storing databases on Dropbox is not supported due to the potential for data corruption. A search here will turn up many discussions of this over the years, one such post is Bill DeVille’s post at the top of this forum on backup strategies for DEVONthink databases.

Link to 11 Stupid Backup Strategies

I think this was introduced a while ago, but I haven’t tried it, and I didn’t know this is how it would work. I guess an error message of some kind is needed to explain what is happening. But, the end result is the same – don’t do what you are trying to do because you will cause problems for your database. Index the files in Dropbox or use the Dropbox sync support that is built into the app.

@korm has reminded me that this was introduced in version 2.8.6. From the 2.8.6 release notes:

Creating databases in iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive folders or inside other databases is no longer possible.

@petersalazar: Yes, this is explicitly disallowed and for good reason. You should not be doing this and if you have databases in your Dropbox folder, relocate them. Thanks.

Perhaps you could expand on this for those of us who have been stupid enough to create our databases in a dropbox folder for years.

    • how do we move existing databases?
    • what should we be doing to backup instead?

[I already know how to use dropbox to sync with my phone - but this is just part of one database and I no longer use deveonthink to go]

I’ll write my own answers if they come to me before you get a chance to…


In the 11 stupid backup stratedies mentioned in the thread above I see this:

“While a Sync store via Dropbox or WebDAV does contain database content offsite, please don’t think of that as an adequate backup system! It’s not.”

…reading further down there are some further explanations:

  1. you could be backing up a messed up database - the built in utility sorts all that out first
  2. sometimes the databases are stored in the wrong format on the remote drive - which really messes things up.

I’ve not run into either problem in a number of years of use, but I take the point.

There’s no problem storing the backups on dropbox - cool - although these are only as current as the last one created - since I use the app all through my working day this is not so very helpful.

Personally I use arq backup which does an excellent job but I always want a rapid method of accessing files in case of emergency - hence the use of dropbox as well.

So on the policy of not allowing us to save to drop box - :frowning: .

How to move existing databases…

I can see no utility/menu option for this but here are some guesses:

  1. Move the physical file and then change the location listed in the file > database properties window - although that is only available for open databases and I’m not sure how that would work…

  2. create a backup, delete the old, create a new and restore the backup…

Or much more simply (from a previous answer by advocate Bill_DeVille:

This is not a good reason to continue a behavior we KNOW will finally result in problems.

We don’t issue this warning idly. We say it, because it is the truth. That is why we were force to explicitly disallow the practice. TO KEEP YOUR DATA SAFE.

PS: Dropbox is not a backup, and if it is, it should be a secondary one. We strongly advocate observing proper primary backups using TimeMachine (or similar application) and local external drives.