Links are breaking

I use Devonthink links prodigiously.

I am finding that many of them are broken, and if I relink the same document with a broken link it has a new x-devonthink-item://8A5…(eg) reference.

The document has not been moved or renamed. It is inside the database (ie. not a file indexed).

The only thought I have as to why this may be happening (and only a theory) as follows:

I have desktop Macs at two locations. A third Mac (portable) sync with Mac 1 and when it gets close to Mac 2 syncs with it. I carefully ensure everything is synced when I move between locations (several times a year).

It may be that some links are created on Mac 1 and some on Mac2. Could it be that a link created on Mac 1 does not work when clicked on Mac 2?

If so, is this because a links do not sync and a new reference is created on each computer?

The problem I am experiencing renders linking useless for me. Unless I can rely on the the ongoing effectiveness of the links it is pointless me using them.

Thanks for any help in identifying what is going wrong.

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Syncing does not change or generate new item links.

Tell us more about what you’re typically doing with your files and databases.

I link documents in DT3 to a transaction register (a program called Banktivity). This is done by right-clicking on the name of the document in the document listing in DT3 and selecting Copy Item Link. I then move to Banktivity and copy that link into a note field in Banktivity.

The note field in Banktivity does not recognise the link as a link, just as text. To open the linked document I highlight the link text in Banktivity and copy it. I open a launcher (currently using Raycast) and paste the text into the launcher field. I press enter and in most cases the related document opens in DT3 - perfect!

However in some cases for some reason when I hit enter (having pasted the link text into the launcher) the Mac beeps and nothing happens. Today I retested the process and it worked for the first 10 odd links I selected, then I hit one that didn’t work. I repeated the process for that failed link to ensure I correctly copied the link into the launcher (it would be easy to not copy the full string or copy excess characters but in testing I ensured this did not happen).

I have now attempted to locate the file I believe the errant link was supposed to be linking to - and it is not where I expected it to be: there is a new group called Orphaned Files in the database and the file is in there. I right clicked on the file, selected Copy Item Link, pasted it and compared it to the link text in Banktivity. It’s a different link.

So my questions are:

  • why would a folder Orphaned Files created with 48 files appearing there?
  • would the shift of those files to Orphaned Files reset their link references?
  • how do I fix the Orphaned Files?

I think I now recall getting a warning about the Orphaned Files and may have created a todo to address it but forgot to do so!

I close and re-open my databases weekly or at least fortnightly, and ahead of shutdown do some checks to ensure that syncing to my other computer is in order, do a verify and repair database (though with these orphaned files the repair part was deferred (though if just one or two files I normally address it on the spot)) and do an optimise database (for each database open including Inbox). This is my standard shut down routine.

Appreciate any help on the questions or hints on better practices. Thanks

Orphaned files are covered on page 190 of the user guide (also available through the in-app Help) with explanations of how they may occur. Have you looked at that? It may be helpful.


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Thank you Stephen_C. I hadn’t looked at that section of the user guide but have now done so.

I don’t recognise the suggested causes of orphaned files as something that may have happened, but I am not so concerned with isolating the cause. I have now run Check File Integrity on all files in the database and ‘successfully verified integrity of files’.

I guess I can now just relocate the files from the Orphaned Files group to where I want them to reside and relink them.

It would be good to find out whether events that result in orphaning of files might also result in a new item link being associated with such files.

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