File Missing

Searching hard for a file I was sure was in Devonthink, I finally found it, but when I try to open it I get “File Missing” followed by the file’s path. I’m perplexed. How could a file I haven’t thought about in years go missing? I haven’t been working with it or making big changes in the DT database in which it lives. It’s kind of unnerving to think stuff inside Devonthink could go missing. Anyone have any idea how I might figure this out and recover the file?


I now see this is a general catastrophe – a huge group full of files gathered years ago is now largely File Missing. How could this have happened? What can I do? I can find these files by typing in pieces of content into Spotlight – IOW, some parts of the system are not treating the files as missing, because they are indexed.

This is a terrible development that really shakes my confidence in Devonthink. Does anyone have any thoughts?


The ‘File Missing’ error that you see is consistent with what happens when you have indexed documents in the database and then later move or delete them in the Finder. DEVONthink does not maintain a link to indexed documents that have been moved. The file path that you see in DEVONthink is where the documents were originally located when indexed.

Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense.

But I’m pretty certain I never moved these docs in the finder. Perhaps they somehow failed to transfer from an old computer when I Migrated, but I don’t understand why that would happen to just these items.

They were kept on a sync’d Google Drive for a while, but so were many files that still show up.

Fortunately the files are so old I may well have a copy on an old computer. If not, I have lost many, many hours of work, even though I religiously back up my disc (because my backup will presumably have the same flaw as my drive, precisely because the backup is up to date).


It’s pretty easy to determine if the documents were lost out of the database, or if the documents were indexed and then later moved or deleted. If the documents were lost out of the database, the missing file path will link to a Files.noindex folder inside the database package, like this:

If the documents were indexed, and then later moved or deleted, the missing file path will point to the original Finder location, like this:

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