rebuild database greyed out for global inbox


my global inbox (“Eingang”) is having troubles. When preparing backups for my TimeMachine via the “Export”/“Create Daily Backup Archive”-Script I get “database damaged”.

Verify&repair reports missing files in tags. Manually restoring those files via Safari’s history (webarchives) didn’t work, they are still reported as missing. Optimize and backup didn’t help; restore from backup didn’t help either.

All the time the “rebuild database”-menu-item is greyed out for the global inbox-database.

I wonder if the files got missing because I added tags and then moved the files into other topical databases?

Anyway where do I go from here?

Any ideas,

(PS: edited for wrong terminology - Restore database vs. rebuild database)

databases of all kind do not take kindly to being backed up while they are running. The reason behind it is that they keep many things in volatile memory to speed up access to them and will only write everything to disk when shut down. Only then is the representation on disk (which is all that is backed up) faithful to the content of the database.
This is not specific to Devonthink but generally true. As a precautionary measure I make sure I shut down everything before backing up, not always but once a day or so and it is these backups I turn to when running into this kind of a restore problem.
Can you restore slightly older backups? It is not unlikely that one of them will work.

I am sorry to only provide some insight into what the reason for your problem may be, not what you can do about it now but hopefully somebody else will chime in.


Hi Prion,

thanks or the reply…

well, that is the reason why I wanted to start the day with creating a backup-archive BEFORE connecting my TimeMachine-HD. Unfortunately the backup-script failed with an error.

Well I will try to remove recent additions to my global inbox (for later re-import) , then restore from an older backup and check. Still, what would be the procedure to start from scratch WITHOUT loosing anything (that is starting with an empty and pristine global inbox)?

Hopefully DT-team will answer too.



Rebuilding of the global inbox is not (yet) supported. However, there’s a workaround:

  1. Quit DEVONthink
  2. Move ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Pro 2/Inbox.dtBase2 to the desktop
  3. Open the moved database by double-clicking on it
  4. Rebuild it
  5. Move everything from the moved database to the global inbox
  6. Quit DEVONthink, delete the moved database

your workaround did help, thanks a bunch for your reply!

BUT: this information should be in the manual, including the workaround.

In general, it seems the manual is not in full synch with DTP’s abilities, see for example this (screenshot), I can not find info in the manual on this “data detection”

Regards, Rolf
Bildschirmfoto 2010-11-03 um 12.39.04.png

So what’s the status of this workaround?

Rebuilding the Global Inbox still doesn’t seem to work unless one uses this workaround. It’s been a couple years since this post too…

Rebuilding the Global Inbox is available here. What is the response from Tools > Verify & Repair?

No response, which I take it to mean everything is fine.

In fact, every time I’ve run a “Verify & Repair” on any of my databases, there’s nothing logged to indicate anything erroneous found. Not that I expect errors, but it’s been harked on so heavily about verify and repair for inconsistencies that I almost expect to see some error show up — it’s never happened thus far.

It’s a precautionary tool. No news is good news. I typically follow Bill De Ville’s advice and run once a week. Never any issues unless I have disconnected an external drive with indexed items on it. Then I’m merely told that they are missing (which of course they are). Reconnecting the drive solves that problem.

If for some reason your database develops a problem, and you haven’t verified its integrity in a while, you’ll find your backups also contain the issue and it may take some time to work back to an uncorrupted version.

Always a good idea to run it after an unexpected power failure (ie full battery drain) or if DT quits unexpectedly (which is very rare in my experience).

Please start a Support Ticket. Thanks.