Problem opening new DTPro dbs

Downloaded and installed DTPro. Trashed all old dbs and made new ones using DTPro. Worked beautifully until this morning.

DTPro opens, but it is having trouble opening any of the new dbs. It tries, gets half way or less, and seems to quit. I wait, and wait, and nothing happens.

However, if I switch to another open application and then switch back to DTPro, the db will have opened – like it is waaaaaay slow, or it can only do it in background?

So far, the data is uncorrupted.

I checked persmissions on the dbs and they are unlocked and I have Read/Write all the way. I downloaded a new copy of DTPro and trashed the old one. I looked in ~users/Library/App Support and it doesn’t look like I have any old files from DTPersonal, but I may be missing something, although they all have recent dates.

I do not keep my dbs in ~users/Documents – I have my drive partitioned and keep all my data on the second volume. Clue:? When I checked DTPro Preferences, under Backup the Destination pane is grayed out, and stays that way no matter which button I check (Hourly, Daily, etc.). I opened a New DB in ~users/Documents just to see if that would work, it opened only after switching to another app, so no difference that way, and Backup Destination remained gray afterward.

Any ideas?


I wanted to turn your attention to a thread about this very issue. I originally posted it as a problem, and it may help you with what you are finding. I had exactly the same issue and have since found a way to ‘fix’ it, though I still think it is some kind of bug.

But, this may give you more info on the subject. I think you’ll find that if you open a db, whether by clicking it as a file aor opening it within DTPro, and it doesn’t show up right away, you can just click on the dock icon for DTPro (while you are still in the program) and you db will magically appear! It’s not slow, it’s just sitting in the background (I’m still not sure why, exactly). But there is a workaround. Here’s the address for the thread:

(this is my first time trying a link in a message–so I hope it works–otherwise just look for the thread titled “some Pro questions/issues”)

Hope this helps,



Thanks for the lead. Thought I would keep the answer in this topic because it is at the top and maybe will get some additional notice.

I tried everything suggested in the other thread, but nothing works except clicking on the dock icon after asking for a new db.

In Preferences, I have On Startup: Do nothing checked. Figured that would be the most neutral given other posts suggesting there is some confusion about how that works.

I had no file set as default but picked one, but nothing changed.

The problem occurs no matter how I try to open a db: Double clicking in Finder, selecting from “Most Recent” db, selecting from “Open Database…” selecting “Close Database” before any of the above.

The thing that is odd is that the problem didn’t appear right away – for the first week, everything was fine.

Obviously this is a glitch, so I guess we wait until DTPro figures it out and gives us a patch. In the meantime, however, I have a suggestion for a slight improvement in coping skills:

Make an alias of the application and put it in the folder with your DTPro dbs. Open a Finder window to that folder, doubleclick a db file to open it, then immediately doubleclick the alias. Reduce the Finder window so only the db filenames are visible and put it right under the Apple icon up in the left corner. Leave the finder window open in background as long as you are working in DT so you can switch from one db to the other easily. As soon as you close one database, the little Finder window is right there and you don’t have to mouse over to the dock. If you work in DT from time to time during the day and want that dedicated Finder window out of the way, reduce it instead of closing it – when you doubleclick it in the Dock, it will pop right back up under the Apple icon ready to go.

Annoying, but this is a Beta, and Pro is a great improvement. I’m sure they’ll fix this.


Slight refinement for opening dbs using the Finder Window:

Drag the DTPro App icon into the Finder Sidebar.
Drag your DTPro db folder icon into the Finder Sidebar.
Click on the folder icon so the pane with your files is viewable.
Reduce this Finder Window so all you can see are DTPro files.
Doubleclick a db file.
DTPro will come forward and start to open the file.
Doubleclick on the DTPro App Icon in the Sidebar.



Many thanks for the suggestion. Actually, I no longer have the problem. The way it was suggested to me as a workaround is to always have a window open when you change dbs or quit the program for the db to appear as it should. What I did was create a file as a kind of ‘title’ page to my db and opened it in a separate window and left it that way. I’m not sure that’s what Eiron meant, but it seemed to work. I did that with all of the dbs that wouldn’t open and it worked. It can be any file, of course. Anyway, it completely solved my problem and my dbs open immediately as they should.

The db set as my ‘default db’ opens regardless now as long as I left the window open when I change dbs.

It started happening to me after about a day of using Pro. And it didn’t do it with all dbs nor all the time. Very aggravating.

I totally agree that Pro is a great improvement, and I’m having a great time working with it! And our fellow users, wow. What a great bunch of folks!



Wish it worked for me. Not one db will open unless I doublclick the application icon.

I set one db as default. Doubleclicked one of the files to open it in a separate window, as you suggested. Left that open and tried: Close Window/Open Database, Close Database/Open Database, or just Open Database, then tried all the same using Recent Database. Nothing.

Weird!! What a pain! I would suggest sending this in to Devon support directly as a bug so they fix it quick!

Sorry I couldn’t help.


I’m reading some curious stuff in this thread. :slight_smile:

Here are some comments on what you should expect from DEVONthink Pro re opening/closing database files, view windows, and default file:

[1] I recommend designating one of your databases – probably the one that you use most often – as the default database. To do this, select File > Database Properties, then check the “default” box. Of course, if you later wish to make a different database default, just repeat that procedure while it is open. DT Pro will remember.

Why? Two reasons: First, if you quit and then relaunch DT Pro, the application will open without an open database if no default has been established. Then you have to tell it which one you wish to open. Second, some applications and scripts have the ability to send information to DEVONthink Pro, and if necessary will issue a command to start DT Pro if it’s not open. But if no database is declared as default, DT Pro won’t be able to receive information anyway. (Some scripts or Widgets may be able to direct a particular database to open, but that’s sometimes problematic.)

[2] I recommend that the preferences be set to have DT Pro restore the windows that were open when that database was last closed. DT Pro can remember the windows that were open for each database it has previously opened.

Why? Many users have a favorite set of windows for each database, including probably the topmost window. It’s a convenience to have DT Pro automatically open those windows, rather than having to do it manually each time a database is opened. Of course, this applies to all databases, not merely the default database.

[3] How do you change from one database to another?

[3a] First, it is not necessary to close the current database before choosing another; DT Pro will take care of that for you. Just open the next database

Note: Closing all the open view windows will not close a database; it just means that next time you open the database, you will have to manually open your preferred windows again.

Note: Depending on how your backup preference is set, DT Pro may sometimes decide to backup a database when it is closed, resulting in a delay before opening the next database. This won’t happen more frequently than hourly (if you set frequency at once an hour), or daily. Personally, I set backup frequency to “Never.” That would be really stupid if I were to forget to backup my databases fairly often (and also keep external backups on another drive); so far, I haven’t forgotten.

[3b] Using the File menu to open databases: (This is how I work. :slight_smile:) Use File > Open to select a different database. Works every time. Better yet, DT Pro for your convenience keeps a list of recently opened databases under File > Open Recent. Fast. No problems. Works every time.

[3c] Using the Finder to open databases: In the Finder, double-click on a database. If DT Pro isn’t open, it will launch and open the selected database. If it is open with another database already, it will close the current database and open the new one. Works every time for me. (I use this especially for opening a database someone has sent me, or when I’m in the Finder looking at my collection of databases and decide to open one of them.)

[3d] Clicking on the DT Pro Dock icon to launch DT Pro: If no default database has been set, DT Pro will launch without an open database. If a default database has been set, that database will open.

If you experience glitches in opening or changing databases (other than a delay caused by the schedule to Backup & Optimize at close), that’s a signal that something is amiss with the System or the file system, or perhaps with preference files. Some ‘cobwebs’ are in the computer. Repair Permissions, run Disk Utility from your installation disk. In some cases, it’s nice to have a more powerful maintenance utility such as DiskWarrior. I’ve never encountered problems with opening or changing databases on a Rev. B iMac or my Rev. A TiBook, with literally hundreds of database changes over the past year.


I did run DiskUtility to Repair Permissions. Haven’t run DiskWarrior because everything else on the computer is running normally. (I’m on a G5 iMac with Tiger, do my maintenance and backup to an external drive with Retrospect.) Only problem in a long day at the compuer is with DTPro, unfortunately.

Since I last wrote:

As Alexandria suggested, I designated a default db, named a blank .rtf file and opened it in a separate window. She said this worked for her, but it didn’t for me.

Then per your suggestion I set Startup to “Open windows that were open on quit”. I checked that, then quit the program and reopened.

The first try opened just the separate blank file window from the default db, but nothing else – I couldn’t open the db itself. Closed the little window and doubleclicked the db filename in Finder but it wouldn’t open until I also clicked the DTPro icon.

Quit the program again and reopened. This time it opened the default db the way it should, but I still can’t open any other db without doubleclicking the DTPro icon.

I’ve tried to switch to another db with the current one open, tried closing the open db window first, and tried Close Database from the File Menu. I tested each of those possibilities with selecting a new db filename in the Finder; no good. Then tried all of them again this time using Open Recent; no good.

If your eyes haven’t glazed over and you can think of something else, I’d appreciate it. Before you took this up, I thought I’d hit a wall and sent a email to support, but its the weekend, so won’t hear for a while.

I thought of something else: Could this have something to do with my using an unregistered Beta? I am licensed on DTPersonal, but haven’t paid for the upgrade yet, partly because I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to do it now or wait until we get past the beta version, and partly because I can’t find the upgrade option at the DT Store. This generated an email from me to sales, but haven’t heard back on that either. Mind you, I’m not getting any reminders from the program about registering, no messages about the limitations of a trial download, yadda-yadda, but thought I’d put this out there in case I missed something. If that’s all it is, I’m going to be waaaaay annoyed and waaaaay embarassed about boring everybody with a non-problem.


What do you mean, it opened the blank rtf document window but not the database? My take: It opened properly, showing the window you had open when you closed it. I don’t see anything wrong here.

What I would suggest is that you select File > New Window. That window will be the topmost view of your database – I would suggest a corresponding window should be opened in each database. Set the window to the view you prefer – I usually work in the Vertical Split view. (And set your DT Pro preferences so that the next time you open the database, the previous set of windows at closing will be reopened.)

If it’s a new database, it will have no groups in it. Create one or more, create or import some files into them, and experiment more. Open a second window in the database views by double-clicking on one of your groups. Close the database. Reopen it. I’ll bet it works for you. :slight_smile:

Unregistered betas work just as well as registered betas, except that as noted in the release and readme files, they will begin to slow down over time and eventually won’t open at a future date.


Your quote:
“What do you mean, it opened the blank rtf document window but not the database? My take: It opened properly, showing the window you had open when you closed it. I don’t see anything wrong here.”

I may have closed the db file with just the blank rtf window open, so could be a red herring. However, if memory serves (not always), I did that when I still had “Startup:Do Nothing” checked – this took place before you told me you thought it was important to have something checked in the Startup options. I only changed that setting later.

So I checked:
Preferences, now set to “StartUp:Open windows that were open on quit”. Opened a db with the DT Two Step: (Click on db filename in finder+click on app icon in Finder). Next, opened a Group in another window. Opened a file within that group in yet another window. Closed window 1 and 2, leaving only window 3 with the single file in it. Closed that last. Tried to reopen the db by clicking on filename in Finder. Nope. Had to use the DT Two Step – File opened in the main db window, not the last closed individual file window.

I opened every db I have (6), opened a New Window in each. Same problem.

I opened New Database. It actually opened the way it is supposed to. TaDa! Created some groups. Saved. Closed. Clicked on icon on desktop. New database would not open unless I used the DT Two Step.

Same old; same old: Of course, as soon as I wrote this, I tried once more and they all opened, one after the other, just by clicking on the filename in the finder. Once each. And then it quit and wouldn’t do it anymore.

Sorry, but we still don’t have an answer to this. Something spooky goin’ on here.

Maybe I should trash some plists, or whatever.

I even wondered if DTPro didn’t like it that my dbs are not in ~/users/documents, So I quit the app, copied one db file to the default location and tried to open it, but it didn’t work.

I’ve added icons to the Dock for each of my databases (currently two) which I find works really well. When I want to switch databases I just click on the dock icon for the relevant database. Quick and easy.

I have a couple of comments/suggestions though. Most users are trained through use of other applications to expect that when they open an application they will at least get a blank window of some kind. I think confusion is being created because DTP does not follow this kind of behaviour.

If a database is opened and the user closed all windows before closing it previously then a window should be opened showing the top level groups automatically. This is the minimum the user will have to do anyway to do anything useful with that database. Making them do this manually is adding labour for no good reason. If the user opens DTP and there is no default database then there are a several options that might be better. One option is to open the last opened database if any. If there is no recent database and no default then the dialog for creating a new database could be displayed. Another alternative would be to display a dialog window that asks the user what they wat to do. Many applications follow this route and with good reason. It tells the user that the application opened correctly and that the program is unable to determine by itself what action to follow - new database, open existing etc.

I just wanted to add that I had a very similar experience. It would work, then not work. I would try to open and close dbs in the ways DCB indicated, including closing absolutely nothing and then switching back and forth. Sometimes the dbs would open as they should, other times I’d have to click the dock icon. I would not close my dbs or any windows. I had the correct “open windows that were open on quit” preference. I would simply try to open another db and it would not ‘appear’ until I clicked the dock icon. I’d go back and forth and the same thing. For me, this problem would disappear when I rebooted the computer, then start up after opening dbs a few times.

I don’t have the problem any longer. I really am not sure why, but I do know that after selecting a default db, that one opened just fine from then on. But the others didn’t, and I had to try creating an open file window, etc. Now, all the dbs (three of them) open as they should, without my having to click on the dock icon.

I thought for a while I was experiencing some kind of conflict with another program, but that didn’t pan out.

In any case, I just want to verify DCB’s experience, though his seems more extreme than mine. His (and my) experience seems to be met with a level of incredulity, and the implication that we are just missing something obvious. I don’t believe that is true. However, I also recognize that there aren’t a lot of users with this problem. But I’m no dummy, and I know what I did and what I experienced, and I’d say there is an issue there.

Anyway, good luck to you DCB, and I hope you find a solution!



Are you trying to make DT Pro open a database and display the last window closed before the database was previously closed? That’s not what is supposed to happen. In fact, it shouldn’t happen. I think you’ve been fighting DT Pro to try to make it do something that it should not do.

What DT Pro should do is (with appropriate preference setting) display the set of windows that were open when the database was last closed. If there were no open windows, it will resume that state.

Normally, DT Pro will open a database and display the top level window for that database. If, however, preferences are set to display the windows open prior to the previous quit of that database – and the top-level view had been closed – DT Pro will follow directions. Some users like to have a database open only with windows for the particular group/documents they are working on. The application allows that. At any time, the user can open additional views.

Best to get past opening a database and start exploring adding content, searching and so on.

Bill, this is precisely what it was not doing. I had the correct preferences selected, I had closed no windows (the main db window was open), etc. And it did not open properly–I had to click on the dock icon. And it did it intermittently.

Thankfully, this problem seems to be solved in my case, thanks to Eiron’s suggestions and explanations. I do believe there is an issue here, albeit a minor one.


Last night when I turned it off it still wasn’t working; today it is and I have by now gone through so many permutations and combinations that I am not sure what made the difference.

However, perhaps this offers a clue:

I do not know what the default setting for Preferences:Startup is. At some point, however, I changed it to Preferences:Startup:Do Nothing.

I chose this option because I interpreted it to mean that when I first opened the application, it should “do nothing” until I told it which db I wanted to use. I didn’t want the default set to open the last db used because that might not be what I wanted.

I believe I used it this way for over a week. I was able to: Open the Application. Ask for a db either from Open Recent or from Finder and have it open in a window. Close a db and leave DTPro running in background. Bring DTPro forward and ask for a different db file, and have it open in a new window. Switch from one db to another (with last window open or closed), and have the new one open in a window.

Then things went bad. However, I cannot say with certainty whether changing to “Do Nothing” was when the problems originally began. That isn’t the way I remember it, however, we all know the fallibility of memory.

At some point, on Bill’s advice, I changed to Preferences:Startup:Open windows that were open on quit, and some things improved.

Bill, I understood quite clearly what you said about how it should work re windows open/windows closed, etc., and tested it methodically. However, as I said in the email that followed, there were still problems. [I also thought it unnecessarily restrictive, and didn’t particularly like it.]

Be that as it may, if this whole time-consuming mess comes down to a misinterpretation of a Preference Setting, it still suggests a problem for the developers.

When I selected “On Startup:Do Nothing” I interpreted it to mean that this meant On Startup of the Application only.

I assumed that “On Startup” meant this because the term is commonly used in reference to a computer or an application. I have never seen it used in reference to opening a file, nor have I seen it used to refer to bringing an application up that is open in background.

I most certainly did not think this preference option meant: “If the application is open, when opening a new file, never open a window unless specifically told to do so”. If it was written that way, the reason for it totally escapes me, and I suggest it gets changed.

I have never owned a piece of software that worked that way, and I’ve been on a computer for 20 years. It isn’t the way a word processor works, nor FileMakerPro. In NoteTaker, the preferences offered are on “Launch” are “Create a new notebook”, or “Reopen previously open notebooks” – Plain English/plain sense. I shouldn’t have to take extra steps to provide a window for a file I’ve selected to open – why open it if I can’t see it?

I’ve been using DTPersonal for over a year, and understand about betas, so I’m not going to be turned off – I’ve been waiting for DTPro and know Eric, et al., are trying to get this right. But I don’t think they want true newbies to stumble over this one and get so discouraged they junk the trial version. It sure threw me. I hope this is the solution, and the problem now stays gone. And I certainly hope they rewrite those Preference options.

who’s pronouns are actually she or her.