Confused on the correct way to backup all my devonthink data, advice appreciate :)

Hi again

It seems that there are multiple backup strategies on the “correct” way to backup all my devonthink data.

I do use time machine and understand that’s that one way. Was wondering of other approaches people use to supplement that.

any advise appreciated



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In addition to other comments people may have…
We strongly advocate proper primary backups using TimeMachine (or similar snapshot-style backup applications) and external drives. Also, you should read the recent series of articles we posted:​


thx again!

based on the posts at devonthink it says:

For an online backup, you can use a cloud backup service that uses a snapshot-style backup, ie. not “continuous backups”. Arq is one such service.
DEVONtechnologies | Where does DEVONthink backup my databases?

I use Arq so that’s great. So what do I add to are? A folder, separate dtBase2 files? How do I approach this?

thx again


We don’t do active support for Arq, so @eboehnisch or others using Arq would need to comment on this.

Here’s an extra layer of backup to consider. You can export an entire database into a zip file with the menu bar > Scripts > Export script. This has to be done manually, so I’ve set a reminder in my task manager (Things 3) to remind me once a week. Running this script creates the zip file of the Db in the Backups folder and I’ve set Hazel to watch it for new files, which will the zip file to an external drive. Hazel will also remove older backups in both locations.

The backup to ZIP script coming with DEVONthink indeed needs to be run manually but with very few and simple modifications it can be activated by a Reminder. Then DEVONthink only has to run and the zipping (and prior optimizing) works automatically.

The ZIP file can be save everywhere, local drive, network drive, or cloud service.

I too use Hazel to maintain the ZIP backups folder. I have set it to remove all ZIP files from the backup folder which are older than six weeks and which don’t have a “keep” marker (like a specified colour tag or maybe even the word “keep” in the ZIP’s file name.

thx @suavito and @RobH!

the hazel tricks sounds great. I use hazel only at a beginner level. Would you guys mind sharing your hazel rules?

also @suavito, what do you mean activated by a reminder? I was actually thinking of creating a keyboard maestro rules to do this!

thx again guys


I must admit that I’m very simple here: I backup my whole Documents folder via Arq to S3 and to a local Synology.

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That’s a great idea. What happens when the reminder document is synched to another computer?

Also, when I try to point the reminder to an external script, all I can do is ‘choose’ Open Document, but I’m not able to actually open any file with that. Is this a bug or am I not getting what’s supposed to happen here?

@RobH and @suavito

just to be clear when you both refer to backup script you refer to this:

because when I run this I don’t get asked where to save the file to and im not sure if and where it actually saves the file to

am I missing something?


That script does not prompt you for a save location.
As noted in the Help > Documentation > Appendix > Scripts

File > Export > Database Archive does allow you to specify the save location, though the script could be edited, if desired.

haha dunno how I missed it, thx @BLUEFROG!


You’re welcome

Keyboard Maestro could be used to actually do the clicking to create the backup zip…

Regarding Arq, I have it run once a day in the middle of the night on the folder where all my DBs are stored. The databases are never in use in the middle of the night and Arq is pretty quick.

But why would you need KM for this?

Eric @eboehnisch, just to make sure I am getting this right: you let Arq manage all your backups for you?

In the past I used a shell script to periodically copying the files locally to the Synology but later I moved to Arq because it has all the scheduling etc. built-in. Disadvantage: All files on the Synology are also encrypted and in Arq’s filing structure. Or that is an advantage when you feel like someone could break into your house or office and steal the disk array.

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I would think that whatever your backup strategy is for the rest of your data, it would naturally include your Devonthink Database. In my case I have TimeMachine running for its hourly backups. Each night I have Carbon Copy Cloner clone my hard drive to an external drive. And then for offsite backup, all of my data is being continuously backed up to the cloud by CrashPlan. All of this happens without any action by me.


+1 for Arq.