Import: Database on External Hard Drive or Index: Files/Folder on External Hard Drive

As I have limited space on my MacBook Air, I want to keep files that are older than 1 year in an External Hard Drive. Will connect it when I need the files.

I think that there are two methods:

  1. Import: Create the Database on External Hard Drive, Import the files/folder
  2. Index: The Files/Folder kept in External Hard Drive, Index the files/folder

For Method 1: Import, external database, thus files/folder on external hdd

  • if the External hdd is not connected, thus database cannot be opened
  • Metadata not available
  • not searchable

For Method 2: Index, internal database, files/folder on external hdd

  • if the external hdd is not connected, the database can be opened
  • metadata is available
  • searchable
  • full file/document is not available until external hdd is connected/mounted

I want the ability to search for the files, to know if it is available, externally. Will retrieve/download the file when I connect/mount the external hdd.

While I prefer to use Import method for DT, it seems that Method 2: Index is the only way for me to achieve search ability, when external hdd is not connected. Correct? Or I missed something in Method 1: Import?

The essence is correct bit you’re not going to download/retrieve a file on demand. That’s not how it works. You will have access to all the files located in their indexed location in the Finder.

And you should not commit to indexing until you’ve read and understood the In & Out > Importing & Indexing section of the built-in Help and manual.

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I discovered that you can actually download/retrieve a file on demand in DTTG, with Method 2.

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Actually, that’s incorrect. DEVONthink To Go does not support indexed files. It always has a copy of the files on the device.

  • Are you using a Bonjour sync?
    • If not, using a shallow sync, i.e., Download Files: On demand, does not pull the contents from the external hard drive. It pulls the contents from the sync location – contents uploaded by the Mac, in this case.

No, I am using WebDAV sync. I understand that Download Files: On demand , does not pull the contents from the external hard drive. It pulls from the sync store.

But it does not matter where it pulls from (assuming they are in sync). As long as I am able to download/retrieve the file, easily, even without the external hdd connected.

This behavior is unrelated to whether the files are indexed or imported.