Database seems to be already in use

After a day when I had to shut down and unplug my MacBookPro, after I turned everything back on I get the following error popup for DT3:

“Database [NAME] seems to be already in use! The database you are trying to open seems to be either in use by another instance of DEVONthink 3 or has not been closed properly the last time it was used. Press ‘Continue’ to open the database anyway if you are sure it is not in use by another copy of DEVONthink 3.”

How do I get this unknown other copy of DT3 to close? I always close all apps before powering off my laptop.

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I see this frequently too. Don’t know the cause, happened on DT2 as well as on DT3 now. I just press Continue and everything works OK.

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I have seen this on a couple of occasions and have then, out of an abundance of caution, rebooted—following which the error seems to disappear. Like others, I invariably quit DT3 using command Q before shutting down my machine.


This should usually only happen if the databases were not properly closed, e.g. after a crash, force quit, power outage, kernel panic etc.

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I think I had it happen a couple of times after I had to force quit. I am not sure why, in turn, I had to do that though. It hasn’t happened to me for a while.

This has happened to me a number of times, and looking in the forums it seems not infrequent. I hope the developers are looking into ways to handle such contingencies a little more gracefully.

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There’s an option in the alert to disable them.

I just received my new 16" MacBookPro M1 Max and am revisiting dozens of databases I’ve created from 2007 to 2021. Until now, I’ve never seen this problem. Several databases will no longer open at all. I’m not on a network with any other computers. Many of these databases haven’t been opened in years, and those computers are long long gone.

So, since the databases are not in use on another computer, and Devonthink will not open them, can we assume this is a bug?

Thank you,

What exactly happens?


I double click the database to open it in finder. The message pops up and I have the option to continue, or cancel. Either option I choose will result in the database not opening in Devonthink.

I’ll add that the log would often say “skipped.” After attempts to open some databases, the log doesn’t say anything. It is empty.


In some cases the Devonthink database is in an old dropbox folder copied from an old user folder (from 2019, or 2012). When opening the file from that location the Cancel or Continue prompt shows up. If I move the Devonthink Database to another location out of the old user folder, finder makes a copy (instead of moving it). The new files seem to be opening without problem.

Welcome @The_Sicilian

No, I wouldn’t assume this is a bug in DEVONthink.

Note: Databases should never be (or have been) stored in any cloud-synced location or they could be irreparably damaged.

I’ll add that the log would often say “skipped.”

What is it saying is skipped?