Opening Database in DT takes a long time

I using the lastest version of DT Prof Office. I created a Database for all my working and professional documents (in total around 42000 files).
Everytime when I open DT and the Database it takes me around 10 minutes to start. DT is always doing INDEXING and CHECKING.
Can I speed it up ?

DEVONthink is initializing (necessary) the database and verifying the basic structure of the database (doesn’t require any additional time). How many items/words (see Database Properties panel) does the database contain? E.g. I’m able to open a database containing almost 29.000 items in approx. 3 seconds over here.

Maybe you’re just running out of real memory?

Hi, thx for your impressing quick reply.
Actualy I have 92.000 different words / 2.200.000 total in my Database
checking DB-Property.DB size is 4,5 GB.
And I am using a MAC Pro with 2.5 GHz Dual Processor with 4 GB Memory - and I am not running out of memory, believe me.
And why does it alway needs to make the initialisation and checking - for example if I do not add or change anything ?

That’s actually a quite small database and a fast computer and opening shouldn’t last longer than 1-2 seconds. Could you create a sample of DEVONthink (while opening the database) with Apple’s Activity Monitor and send it to cgrunenberg - at - ? Thanks.

Where’s the database located? On a local drive?

you are totaly wright, it is quite small one. But I made a mistake when ich checked the properities of the DB. I took the smaller one. The bigger one which cause this long opening session is actually
41000 Files - 63 GB
3.2 Mio Words - Total Words 132 Mio

But anyway, I think you are wright with your first comment regarding the Memory. When I start DT as one of the first applications, than it takes me around 1 up to 2 minutes. When I open DT later than it could be that I need 10 minutes sometimes.

So I believe we can close this issue. Many thx for your good and fast help.


Those differences in speed of loading a database indicate that there are times when you’ve run out of free physical RAM and are using Virtual Memory, with lots of data swaps between RAM and the hard drive. Because reading and writing data to your hard drive is very much slower than reading and writing data to RAM, a procedure that has to swap data between RAM and disk will slow down. You will probably also see responsiveness decrease in many actions within the database.

Installing more RAM (if possible) will reduce the likelihood of such slowdowns.

Another alternative is to split a large database into topically or time-sequence designed databases.

That’s what I do. I’m spoiled. I like most of my single-term searches to take 50 milliseconds or less, and I like See Also lists to pop up very quickly.

I find it pretty easy to design topical databases. My main database is devoted to a large collection of references that I use very frequently. Those materials actually cover a number of disciplines, scientific, legal and policy, but have a common thread about environmental issues I’ve got another database that holds lots of financial information – banking, investments and tax records. There’s really no reason to have disparate contents in a single database, and there are advantages in separating them.

By designing databases for a particular interest or need, I keep them small enough to be very responsive on my ModBook, which has 4 GB RAM. And because there are relationships among the items in a database, searches and See Also suggestions are more focused.

My main database currently contains more than 25,000 documents with a total word count of about 36 million words. It’s fast and responsive on my computer, with plenty of headroom to grow. My next Mac, when the time comes, will have 6 or 8 GB RAM. And it doesn’t hurt that I’ve got a 256 GB SSD (very snappy) instead of a conventional hard drive.

At times I need to search across databases. No problem. I can assemble a set of open databases like Lego blocks of information.

How baaad is that?
You’ve got more in an SSD that I have with a mechanical drive!1130.gif

I’m thinking of getting a SSD as well. Do you mind sharing some experiences (especially in connection with DTP) or recommendations on that matter, Bill?


The Crucial SSD I’ve installed is significantly faster than any 2.5-inch HDD for a laptop, although it will be beaten by a fast RAID setup on a Mac Pro.

The faster read/write speeds are noticeable in DT Pro Office as they are in other applications. Databases open more quickly. Documents pop up immediately. Saving an edited document is almost instantaneous. Any operation involving disk access—there are lots of those in database work—is snappier.

I’ve been using my first-generation ModBook for more than a year and a half. It’s a custom Mac tablet based on a late 2007 MacBook, with 2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and 4 GB RAM. It has handwriting recognition software that recognizes my cursive scrawling with very good accuracy.

Once in a while I look at the specs of more recent Macs with envy. Adding the SSD was the only change I could make to the ModBook that would turn it into a faster computer. Although prices have come down a lot on SSDs, they are still several times the cost of an HDD. But the SSD makes it feel like a new computer, so I can postpone replacing it. I’m a happy camper. The only remaining bottleneck is lack of a separate graphics card (I can’t do anything about that).

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Bill. I ordered one :slight_smile: