Documents just vanished - just dead thumbs

Hello to all,

I have recently realized that some of my documents are listed in my database, but they are are in fact vanished when searching them in the database’s package-file. What remains are dead thumbnails, which is very, very annoying, because it seems that hundreds of pdf-files are affected and seemingly lost.

Does anyone know what went wrong? Why they have been accidentely deleted in the package file? This does actually not support the purpose of DevonThink. :confused:

And does anyone additionaly know, how I can find all the dead thumbs?


Please check the Path of one of those PDFs. Does it show the location of the PDF file as in the Files folder, inside the database package file? Or outside the database?

If the Path points to the Files folder inside the database, in the Finder select the database package file and choose the contextual menu option Show Package Contents. Is that PDF actually inside the Files folder?

Thanks for the quick response.

No, these files are completely gone and lost, as it seems. This is sad and I have to restore it all (if I find them again on the web and my computer as well as know exactly what files are affected).

The question is “why” they have gone and how I can identify the lost files? I can’t remember having done anything wrong importing those files and I don’t want this to happen again causing more damage.


If the PDFs were Index-captured rather than Import-captured, and then the original PDFs in the Finder were deleted, the database would have lost essential information and only thumbnails of the PDFs would remain. That’s why I asked the question about the Path. Also, Index-captured files have a characteristic symbol (blue circle with white “lightning bolt” inside it).

Import-captured PDFs are copied into the internal Files folder of the database package file. Index-captured PDFs are not copied, but remain in the Finder; if the Finder copies are deleted, the corresponding PDFs in the database are no longer readable.

Files that have been copied into that internal Files folder are generally very safe, as they are actually stored in the Finder. But a flaky computer can cause problems. I check the disk directory periodically (Disk Utility > Verify Disk). I also avoid third-party hacks of the operating system, some of which can cause all sorts of problems. ShapeShifter, in particular, causes all sorts of problems and has been tied to problems with PDFs among other problems.

I’m running Leopard and have no Input Manager components at all on my computer. I run an almost completely stock OS X 10.5.1 operating system – no Safari add-ons, for example. I’m suspicious of hacks that modify OS X.

Have you run Tools > Verify & Repair on your database to check for errors? This is something else that I do periodically, although I haven’t had an error report for a very long time.

I use Scripts > Export > Backup Archive (available in DT Pro and DT Pro Office) to verify, optimize and create current internal and external backups. When I’ve been making significant changes to a database, at break time I’ll invoke Backup Archive. When I return from break the database is ready to go, and I’ve got current backups should anything go wrong. I also use Time Machine. I’ve only had one corrupted database problem in the last three years, but nothing was lost.

If you wish, run System Profiler and copy the list of extensions that are installed on your computer to a message to Support.