Losing data? constantly "missing file" reported in the "Log"

Dear all,
Perhaps because DT is a “powerful resource,” which often means that it is not necessarily user-friendly or intuitive, requiring the user to invest lots of time and energy in learning and tweaking it, I can’t yet figure out the cause of my constant loss of data (or what it seems as such). My log is regularly reporting that files are missing even when I have not deleted them.

Several times I have searched for these files inside and outside of DT, to make sure that I still have a copy of them, but they are, indeed, lost. Luckily, many of them are also on my Zotero and I can retrieve them from there and place them back into the DT. But this is not right.

Have others experienced a similar data-loss? Or is this another problem?


Missing documents happen most often, if not always, on document that are indexed in the database rather than imported. If the user then moves the documents in the Finder, or moves/renames the containing Finder folder, then the connection to these indexed documents in DEVONthink is lost. Could this be the case for your situation?

This could also come from putting your DEVONthink database in an automatically cloud-synced folder (Dropbox, etc.) These mechanisms are not made for syncing a database file like ours and will result in database damage.

Dear Greg_Jones
Thanks for your reply. :smiley: I don’t think this is the case, though. I see all kinds of “missing file” in the log, including those that you mentioned (index, but outside of DT and moved around), and also those that were on the trash and were eventually deleted. But the ones that I am worried about are those that I inserted directly in specific DT folders/groups and suddenly, for no specific reason, are now “missing.” They are, in fact, nowhere to be found, which means I have to retrieve it from another database (i.e., Zotero or external DB) and insert it back.

I suppose that the next question is if I am having a HD problem, and that is a legitimate query. How would I know and what could I do about it? :question:



Yes, you can lose data due to a hardware failure.

At a minimum you can do use Disk Utility to do a check and repair disk function. I would read this first: support.apple.com/en-us/HT203176

Thanks! I think this hit the nail in the head. I have always been running Google Drive on the DT folders hoping I would have a constant and reliable backup. I am stopping it now.

How in the world I would be losing files in this way?

Thanks again!

We strongly advocate TimeMachine (or similar application) and local external drives as a proper primary backup.

If you want to use a cloud service (as a secondary), use File > Export > Database Archive or Script icon menu > Export > Daily Database Archive and put the ZIP files in the syncing locations. Other than that, keep your DEVONthink databases away from these cloud services.

Thanks. Good suggestions. :smiley:

No problem. :smiley:

In my experience, Google Drive is NOT a reliable backup method, especially for complex data structures like a DevonThink database. It’s fine for single documents, and excellent for collaboration, but the various optimizations that it does are seriously bad news for other applications.

I’m not an expert, but I expect the issue has to do with the version control and de-duplicate mechanisms. I think it thinks two files are the same and “helpfully” removes the duplicate, causing database damage that DTP can’t repair.

(Not just DTP either. There are similar issues with Google Drive and Scrivener.)

FWIW, I use CrashPlan as my offsite “cloud” backup. Unlike Dropbox, Google Drive, and so on, all it does is back up files. It doesn’t sync across devices, it doesn’t allow editing, it doesn’t track changes, it just stores things. Think of it as an off-site version of Time Machine. Dumb as a post, but solid as a tank.


Wow! Beautifully said Katherine. Especially of note is the mention of Scrivener (another app with a package-based file format), as these mechanisms aren’t just unfriendly to DEVONthink databases.

Also, thanks for the info about CrashPlan (though we hope it’s in concert with local backups too. :smiley: )

Scrivener is actually reasonably safe to use with Dropbox, but still runs into problems with Google Drive.

Yes, I also have a local Time Machine backup. :slight_smile:


As a general rule, I opt for “package file = no auto-Synced locations”. :smiley: We have a lot more going on under-the-hood in our packages too.

Thanks again.