Data loss when write problems

I have my main databases on a SD-Card in the SD Card Slot of my MAcBook Pro.
The classical Inbox is on the internal SSD of the MacBookPro

Problem: SOmetimes, Devon has write problems on the SD. When i close database, all data that i have entered has disappeared.

The 1. problem is that Devon doesn’t inform about the write problem, it siletly looses data.
The 2. problem: in most cases, data has been moved (classified) from the SSD Inbox to the database on the SD. And there seem no way to recover the moved PDFs and Notes. Or am i wrong? I think DTP should write immediately the new data to the database, and in case that it cannot write, inform the user. I have lost hundreds of PDF and notes. If at least moved data could be recovered from the Inbox of the SSD after the move.

All this is showing too that one main issue of DTP is still not solved for years now: DTP does too much things silently.

Example: Verify database. When there is no problem , DTPO says … nothing. You have to open manually the JOurnal to be sure that everything is fine. There should be a status window, always visible, where such kind of info should be visible. And of course, DTP should acknowledge when database written is OK… or not!

To be honest, my estimate is you use a workflow most people don’t use. When I read/write SD cards I have seen failures simply when copying files in Finder. And I’ve had several random cards fail after a couple of years, but this might be brand dependent of course.

I also presume the actual read/write process is handled by the macOS kernel, although DT might somehow try and verify the integrity of files moved between databases, comparable to the verification you can activate when writing to a remote sync store.

So my questions boils down to:

  • why do you use an SD card to hold your databases in the first place?
  • do you create versioned backups of your databases?

I haven’t searched the forum, but I wouldn’t be surprised there were users who were annoyed by an activity window popping up frequently, might it have done so in the past.

The difficulty with user feedback, is that there isn’t a one-size fits all solution. Your request might be perfectly reasonable to you, but others might not understand why on earth DEVONtechnology throws the activity window at them to report back a correctly performed verification.

Personally speaking, I would prefer DT to perform automatic verification in the background and report back with a dialog only when it has found errors. You have a point though, that user activated actions (buttons or menu items) are logically followed by visible feedback.

Please choose Help > Report Bug while pressing the Alt modifier key and send the result to cgrunenberg - at - - thanks!

I have my main databases on a SD-Card in the SD Card Slot of my MAcBook Pro.

This is not a good choice for housing your DEVONthink databases. The best option for external storage is a connected external hard drive, not a flash drive, not an NAS, and not an SD card.

The problem: the 250 GB SSD inside the MacBook is too full , i cannot put my 100 GB Devon databases on it! The 250 GB SD Card in the SD Card Slot is “invisible”, it fits perfectly and cannot be removed by accident. So this is a better choice than an external USB which could be removed by accident!

I did so, thank you very much

I cannot believe that i am the only user who thinks that it is not ergonomic that

  • triggers a database verify/repair
  • has to wait for performing on big databases
    -wonders if it is ready or not
    -click on journal

It would be perfect if the little status window on the bottom left would stay open and report activuty…

The size of the Activity pane in the sidebar is limited but you could use the Activity panel (see Windows menu) instead.

The information that the database xyz has been succesfully verified disappears in the activit monitor. So you have to open the “journal” manually, in any case. Is it not possible to dock the Journal Window alays visible?

Did you enable the option to automatically open the Log panel? But it’s not really necessary to check the log, in case of a failure there will be an alert.

just an idea - are you quite sure your SD card is not a fake? I ask, because data being written without error but then being lost is a classic symptom of a fake SD card. You might want to check the card (and might find additional information here, or if you speak German look up “heise gefälschte SD Karten”, they have written numerous articles over the years).

THank you. Not, it is not a fake, it is a SD card specially designed for fitting exacty the Slot in the MAcBookPro.

So this is a better choice than an external USB which could be removed by accident!

Technologically speaking, no this is not a better choice. I would suggest you explore a more robust and reliable option.

Due the frequent and numerous issues according to the logs I wonder whether the card does not fit very well, e.g. whether the connection gets lost every then and now. But the reliability and durability of SD cards is also limited, how old is the card?

I agree with the consensus here that SD cards are a poor choice for dynamic file system uses like DEVONthink.

I suggest that you swap some not-often-changed files from archives on your SSD to the SD to free up space on your SSD, and then move your DT database to the SSD.

An alternate solution would be to upgrade your SSD to 500 GB — you should be able to do so for $50-$100. Running macOS with nearly full volumes is just asking for trouble.

One more suggestion — try running Disk First Aid on the SD. You may be able to fix (temporarily at least?) the read/write problems.

Welcome @eYeToEyeRob

Running macOS with nearly full volumes is just asking for trouble.


With nearly full SSDs the performance of the disk goes to crawl mode. You need at least 15% or more free space.

This is been already stated multiple times, but it almost seems as if the message has not come through yet: Putting a DB on an SD card or USB stick is the worst thing one can do. No ifs and buts! If there is not enough space, then: (1) upgrade to a bigger internal disk. If for some reason that is not an option, see whether there are some large media files (movies etc) that could be offloaded to a card (in other words, “write once, then read” type of files, but always make at least one additional backup). But never put files/DBs on there that require frequent rewrites.

I used velcro to stick a SAMSUNG T5 on the back of my macbook pro and the same thing to stick a VectorTech on the back of my iMac. This way I can attach and detach it as needed.

Not saying you should do that though.

EDIT: but one thing you really ought to think about is a backup strategy.

T5 SSDs are great. I use one for my laptop to offload huge I/O operations, such as compiling files or recording/mixing audio. I still do not trust the algorithms that remap SSD segments to use the disk space as those are needed for each write operation… Maybe it’s based on the nasty short lifetimes of early SSD units we had.