Database Archives -- a question for Bill DeVille and others

I very much appreciated Bill DeVille’s recent post on 11 Stupid Backup Strategies.

Over the years and especially this month I’ve had problems with the Dropbox Sync of DTO databases – corrupted files that then refuse to sync and are difficult or impossible to fix.

So I’m thinking about using Database Archives uploaded to Dropbox instead. In his post DeVille notes: “I’ve never had a problem with storing a Database Archive file, which is a zipped file, on a cloud host. That seems a safe way to do cloud backups, if that’s desired.”

Strangely, I found nothing in the forums about Database Archives and nothing in the DTO manual other than: “Database Archive: Creates a clean copy of the frontmost database and compresses it as a .Zip archive. Back up the copy to any medium or server to keep your data safe from hardware or software failures.”

When I’ve tried it the Database that comes out when the zip file is expanded is smaller than the database that was used to create it. Is that a problem or was it just cleaned up? Is there anything else unexpected that a user might encounter using Database Archives?

My situation is that I have an IMac and a Laptop that I synch together when I go or return from a trip. I can do that with a direct sync. And I have a external hard drive on the IMac that I use with Time Machine, so the IMac DTO Database files are backed up on that. However, I would like copies of critical databases in the cloud in case all the computing equipment is lost because of fire or theft.

Do you have suggestions for a workflow that might accomplish this and give me confidence that all is well? I’m thinking of creating Database Archives for each of my DTO databases each week and adding a date to the file name as I do this. I would test to make sure they open, and then keep several versions of the Zip files in my Dropbox folder on my Imac.

Will I confuse/corrupt DTO if after using Example.dtBase2 I make a Database Archive (to a different directory than the original), close Example.dtBase2, unzip the Database Archive, and then open the copy of Example.dtBase2 that was unzipped? (The result is I have the unzipped copy of Example.dtBase2 as an open database and the original version of Example.dtBase2 as a Recent Database.)

And finally, will I confuse/corrupt DTO if I forget to close the open original copy of Example.dtBase2 and open the unzipped one from the Database Archive of Example.dtBase2. (I recently did this by mistake and DTO showed two different instances of Example under Open Databases (from the two different locations). I closed both without making any changes and things seem to be ok.)

Many thanks for your help with backup strategies. I am grateful for Devonthink and this Forum.

Warm wishes,


It’s a clean, optimized database without any additional internal backups and therefore slightly smaller.

hi. i do a lot of traveling as well, and i index files in spideroak. it solves the problems of having a backup, having access to my files on the ipad, and having the files secured (encrypted).