Moving DEVONthink 3 to a new computer - fresh install of everything

Thanks Hens, will give that a try.

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Is this still the procedure to follow to move DT3 from my 2013 MacBook Pro (on Mojave) to my new (Intel) MacBook Pro on Big Sur?

I do have a lot of indexed files, which I understand I must copy from old Mac to new. I have a couple of questions about that:

  • Is there a rule, script, or other tool to identify all the indexed files and import them as a batch before moving?
  • If I just copy the indexed files to the new Mac, what does it take for DT to find them? If I copy the whole directory structure from old to new, will that suffice?

Thanks so much.

DT3 uses relative file paths to index the files (i.e., from ~/), so as long as you set up the same file structure, even if you change the name of your computer, DT3 will find the indexed files.

In other words, if the old DT3 indexes /Users/OldName/Documents/stuff, and you put your “stuff” folder on the new system in Documents (/Users/NewName/Documents/stuff), DT3 will find it because it is looking at ~/Documents/stuff.

In my log on the new install, I’m getting this every minute (e.g., 1:37:54 PM, 1:38:54 PM, etc.):

File/Action: The operation couldn’t be completed. No such file or directory
Info: No such file or directory (NSPOSIXErrorDomain 2)

No other information provided.

I have no idea what it is referring to. Any ideas?

Repeating log entries can be suggestive of a sync problem; have you set up sync?

Are you using a local sync store?

Ah, that’s probably it. I haven’t looked at sync yet; I didn’t copy the files over so that’s probably it. Will follow up (edit) once I get a chance to look that over.

Edit: Yes, that was it. Thanks!

Hi Jim, I did this migration 2 days ago following your instructions. Everything seemed to work except I noticed that the Date Modified attribute of several hundreds files was set to a same point of time, which was probably after the time I opened all databases in DT.

I noticed this change because when I re-enabled iCloud Sync in preferences, there were a large number of upload to iCloud which got me suspicious, since there shouldn’t have been any local changes to upload, only download changes from iCloud was expected (I’ve saved new items to DTTG from iPad that needed downloading.)

I’ve made a smart group selecting files from all databases whose Date Modified was set to the mentioned time, the number of which is 293 (screenshot below). As you can see, those files have various Date Created and Date Added, but all the same Date Modified. I’ve also checked a sample of items for the real modified time of the underlying files. It turned out the modified time as recorded by the file system looked plausible, untouched, and in line with the Date Created.

Any thought on this?

What if I don’t have the old machine with me?

I synched everything to my Dropbox. And everything there should be up to date.

For my new machine, I am looking to import, and not index, my files (old machine was also import, not index).

New machine is MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021, running on macOS Monterey.

Thank you for your help.

If you transferred your databases you’re all set
Your files are stored within the databases

  • Set up the Dropbox sync location exactly as you set it up on the first machine.
  • If you’ve done it correctly, you should see any importable databases in the Remote section of the Databases list on the right when the sync location is selected.
  • Double-click one and save it to the local machine, ideally the Databases folder in your home directory,
  • Repeat the import process with the other databases as needed.

Then get your proper, primary backups going, either via Time Machine or other snapshot-style backup process - Arq online is good; Carbon Copy Cloner is a great local option.

I just made such a move and the instructions were very helpful.

For all those, like me, who don’t have an USB stick etc at hand, AirDrop works for this as well. For all folders referred to, I went to the sharing menu and clicked on my new Mac, which appeared in the menus.

My databases are between 2 and 6 GB large and I was surprised that the transfer to the new machine was in the order of 30-60 seconds :slight_smile:

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Glad they were helpful and AirDrop is an underrated and underutilized feature of the Apple ecosystem. Having five Macs (four active) and three mobile devices, I use it a ton!

My new Macbook Pro will be delivered this week. I am not satisfied with the way my DT3 databases are set up (more or less imported everything) and I want to set the databases up again anyway. I did not delete any of the files when I imported them into DT3. So would it be fine for me to download, install and set up DT3 on the new machine and then build my database from scratch?

Yes, of course if that’s what you want to do.
You can create, delete, and reorganize your databases at your whim or need.

Thanks. This will also solve my problem with the phantom nested folders.

You’re welcome.

Hi there,

I also have the issue that I want to move my databases to a new Mac, but with the extra complication that I want to move from DT2 (on my old Mac) to DT3 on my new Mac.

What would be the recommended way? It seems I don’t have the necessary system requirements to install DT3 on my old Mac. So should I install a legacy version of DT2 on my new Mac first, then move the databases over and then open (my already installed) DT3 on my new Mac? Or will that mess things up?

Just want to make sure I don’t make any mistakes.


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