Migrate to new database file

I made the maximum size of my initial database too small (started as a “test” database and ended up using it!) I want to move to a new database with a more appropriate size while preserving completely my existing database structure, tags and x-links.

From my testing so far it appears I can just drag-move all of the items to the new database, but I’m not sure what caveats there may be?

I tried searching for a relevant topic but after 20 minutes haven’t found this specific scenario. If this has already been addressed please point me in the right direction!

Yes, it’s possible to drag and drop between databases.

However in order to move large numbers of files between databases, it is often a wise idea to use File > Export > Files and Folders to a newly created folder in your Home Directory. (In Open / Save dialogs or the Finder, you can get to your Home Directory quickly by pressing Command-H .)

  1. Select the records to move in the source database.
  2. Choose File > Export > Files and Folders and choose (or create) a folder on your Desktop. This is important as it keeps any ungrouped files from being mixed in with other files accidentally.
  3. After the export is finished, switch to the destination database and choose File > Import > Files and Folders. Select the contents of the folder from Step 2, not the folder itself.

Except for the Date Added attribute, this should maintain the metadata for the files. When the process is finished (and a quick visual inspection is not a bad idea) , you can do a Tools > Verify & Repair to ensure the destination database’s integrity.

PS: Don’t use an encrypted database if you don’t actually need them. There’s no reason to create a space-limited database structure unless the encryption is actually needed.

From my previous reading, is it not true that using the File > Export and Import method creates new x-links? This would remove the structure in my database as I’ve done a lot of work linking items to each other using their links.

Encryption is needed in this case.

is it not true that using the File > Export and Import method creates new x-links?

That would be correct since the exports are new files.

OK good to know. Maintaining the structure of links is a requirement for me as it’s a simple migration to overcome a technical limitation.

Any caveats to watch out for when dragging and dropping? Or any other recommended methods that maintain the x-link backlinks structure?

I would drag and drop in smaller batches instead of trying to move everything at once.

Reporting back on this - I used the recommended drag and drop method, and the migration appears to have gone smoothly for the most part. One caveat that I’ll note for anyone trying this in the future:

When moving replicated items, the replication links will break if the replicated version is not also moved at the same time.

In my case, I moved one top-level group at a time, as was recommended. I use the P.A.R.A. system and had a number of archived project folders/groups replicated from an “Archives” top-level folder to a “Resources” top-level folder. Moving one top-level group at a time broke these links (as well as a number of item replication links across these groups).

Just to be aware!

Why/how is an encrypted database space-limited?

An encrypted database is a DEVONthink database stored on an encrypted sparse disk image. Disk images have to be defined with a total size, so you have to define the size based on the the maximum expected size of the database. We also suggest giving yourself a small margin over that, e.g., a maximum size of 10GB could be defined as 12GB.

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