Databases are gone

Well. I never got around to buying an external hard drive…

All of my databases have disappeared. Just, gone. They are not in the trash. I am not sure where to find them. They just seem to be gone.


  • Disappeared from… where?

  • Why would they be in the Trash?

  • Have you looked in the Databases folder in your Home directory?

  • Have you done a Spotlight search for kind:database name:dtBase2?

Well. I never got around to buying an external hard drive…

It’s unclear why this makes a difference in the situation. However, if it was for having proper local backups, I would hope you run out and get one tonight.


hahah yep, getting one!
I just checked trash because I didn’t know what else to do.
I did search for dbase2, and nothing shows up.

Did you check the Databases folder?

In the Finder, select the ​Go ​menu while holding the ​Option key​, then choose ​Library​.
Go into Application Support/DEVONthink 3. Did you unintentionally store them there (excluding the Inbox.dtBase2 which lives there)?

Yes I checked it and it’s empty. I have NO idea why that would be. That is why I checked the trash, although I would remember throwing away something like that. It’s all pretty confusing.

I’m at dinner right now but hold the Option key in DEVONthink and choose Help > Report bug to start a support ticket.

ok thanks. Enjoy your dinner!

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Here’s another way to look. Open up a terminal window and run this command:

mdfind dtbase2

Mdfind stands for metadata find, and it will search your disk for files related to the term you enter. Dtbase2 is the file extension of Devonthink databases.

You’ll find things other than databases, too, but any existing databases should appear in the list of files located by mdfind.

Good luck.

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How unfortunate. I hope you can recover it. Just a thought. When one right-clicks a database in the left side Navigate sidebar, the “Delete” database option is nearby the “Close”. Sometimes when I’m in a hurry I mis-select, but if “Delete” is picked by accident there is a warning screen where one has to confirm the deletion and unless confirmed DEVONthink won’t delete. That usually wakes me up, but perhaps an inadvertent deletion occurred?

PS. I’ve often thought of putting in a change request to DEVONthink to move this Delete option all the way down to the bottom of the selection box, or even remove it since there is a Menu:File → Delete Database … available.

Since version 3.0 there’s a checkbox in this alert that has to be checked first, therefore deleting databases accidentally is quite difficult. And afterwards the databases should be in the Finder’s trash.

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Agreed “difficult”. And recovery from Trash is possible if before Trash cleared. Lots of things have to deliberately happen.

For me, recovery would be from my backups; local/cloud
I also have a sync datastore (cloud)


Everyone thanks for your input! Jim worked me through it. Seems it was all sloppy db management on my part…I think I accidentally threw away my databases!! Jim walked me through restoring from cloud. I think I have it all. Thanks again.


We all do it, I didn’t interfere I knew Jim would get you there. We have all been there, me especially. Backups backup backup. I do it on hard disks, backblaze and two thumb drives too. One is always a newbie and can make mistakes. I mashed all my data bases a year or two ago making a careless smart rule for example. I can’t remember exact details and I tried to repair it and made it worse of course. What had you done out of interest? Might forewarn some of us.


That is very useful by the way. I make and delete databases quite a lot and that serves as a helpful check.

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Indeed! It’s darn near impossible to accidentally delete an entire database.

And for those who haven’t seen it… when you select File > Delete Database, you are presented with this…

The Delete button remains inactive until/unless you check the checkbox to confirm you want to delete it.


What if you delete it in Finder, though? Will DT attempt to yank it out of the system Trash and warn you that it’s doing so?

Nope. That’s on the user. :slight_smile:

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No, but if you still have it, and haven’t removed from DT itself, it shows you a popup asking you “WTF is this Database in the Bin?”. Well, not that exact words, but with that meaning.

Why do I know that? Because happened to me. :sweat_smile:


We all do silly things occasionally. Absolutely zero judgement from me since I’m the user who accidentally imported their entire Mac library into a database. DT has various failsafes, but it can’t always protect against the brain controlling the keyboard. That’s what @BLUEFROG is for :grimacing:

@gpauley Time Machine or similar is a good backup idea generally, but I also do manual backups of my databases which I find reassures me more and means if disaster ever strikes I have zipped copies of my databases ready to fire up at a moment’s notice.