named database a blank shell

I recently wanted to return to a database that I had left dormant for four or five months. When I opened it, it appeared as a blank shell. It had the project name, but there was nothing there at all. The same thing happened with a one-month old file recovered from Time Machine. Eventually I found a Time Machine backup from May that seemed to have most of my data in it, so disaster was averted. But I’m wondering what happened. Does anyone have any idea? I don’t want it to happen again. Thanks.

Don’t know if this had anything to do with the problem, but I’ll repeat a cautionary note: Never make a Finder copy of an open database while it is open, as the copy will likely be incomplete and contain errors. And never move a database in the Finder while it’s open.

I’m glad you had an old Time Machine backup of the database. You indicated that you hadn’t made changes for some time.

Another approach might have been to use Tools > Restore Backup, choosing the most recent internal Backup folder. And while I’m talking “belt and suspenders” precautions, whenever you have expended significant time and effort in modifying a database, don’t wait for a scheduled backup. Manually run Tools > Verify & repair, then Tools > Backup & Optimize. For Pro an Pro Office users, Scripts > Export > Backup Archive is a convenient way to do this, with the added value of a compressed and dated archive file than can be saved on another computer or other external medium in case your hard drive were to die.