Sometimes...when I want to use a database

that I think I already have open, I get a window that looks like this:

191213 Open DB 2X 409

It’s something that happened in DT2 and now in DT3. I just go on and have it open the DB, but have always wondered, What’s going on there?


I see that message if, for some reasons, the database wasn’t closed gracefully last time it was opened - maybe DT crashed, for example.

I surmise that there’s a flag on the database file that’s set when the database has been properly closed. If that flag isn’t set, DT asks the question.

As @ThatGuy noted, this can happen if DEVONthink crashes. To expand on that…

This warning usually occurs:

  1. After DEVONthink has terminated abnormally (crash or force quit)
  2. When trying to access a database already open by another person (as DEVONthink is ​not ​made for multi-User simultaneous access)​
  3. If you open more than one copy of DEVONthink Pro and/or Pro Office. Both editions use the same resources so they cannot be opened at the same time.
  4. If you were trying to open multiple copies of the same database, including databases that have the same UUID.
    Note: This condition is caused by copying and renaming a .dtBase2 file in the Finder, and should not be done.

PS: In case you are… you should not run DEVONthink 2 and 3 on the same account, on the same machine. At a minimum, you should delete DEVONthink 2.x from the /Applications folder and reboot the machine.

How about this situation? I just realized I have some files in the DT2 Inbox Sorter, which is still mounted on the screen of one of my two computers and I can’t use the DT2 app. Whenever I try to start it, I get a sign-in window that won’t accept my name and Serial Number and run the app, so I can’t get to Preferences to turn off the Sorter nor can I import those files to the Database they were headed for.


Do you use DEVONthink 2.11.3? Then it should accept the license code of version 3.

Two computers. MacBook Pro 2012, which I just bought has 2.11.3 on it and is working fine. Reloading if from my older MacBook Air and upgrading to High Sierra from Time Machine was a pain. I am usually quite careful to archive my dmg files as I download and install them, but can’t find it.

Mac Pro 2009 with El Capitan has 2.11.2 on it and the Sorter tab permanently in sight, but when I try to load DTPO I get the registration window which has nothing filled in and when I put in my name and Serial Number, which I’m sure is right, it won’t accept it. The loading screen is behind that and the whole thing hangs up and I have to Force Quit it to get out of the app.

I wonder if that’s the reason I get the Database in Use message. It would be the right database that I’m trying to use in DT3.

I’d send a screenshot of what it looks like, but it’s so locked up when it’s happening that I can’t take a screenshot.

I wonder if I just removed the app, might the problem all just go away?


After updating to version 2.11.3 the license code should be accepted. However, please note that the version 3 license includes only 2 seats by default.

Note we don’t advocate staying with the 2.x line for an extended period of time.
The 2.x line is in maintenance, i.e., only receiving critical bugfixes, like for crashes on launch.
Also, if you update to macOS 10.15 Catalina, the OCR component will no longer work.