Startup pref not working?

First, I am using DT Pro v 1.3.4, which I believe is the most current version. In the prefs panel I have selected the “Open windows that were open on quit” option, but it doesn’t seem to work. I have opened different databases, then quit the app and later reopened it, expecting the opening behavior to be as selected. But when DT opens all that appears is the menu list across the top, no databases. Is there a step I am missing in this setup? To clarify, I do not want a specific database to open when opening the app (the Default Database in Database Properties), only the last one I was in when I quit.

Second question: Some of my databases take an awfully long time to open. (I’ve noticed this for a while now.) And it appears to be random, not necessarily linked to the size of the database. I go to FILE>OPEN RECENT, then select a database. The Initializing/Verifying window pops up and the progress bar fills pretty quickly but then seems to hang. The database eventually opens and I immediately go to TOOLS>VERIFY AND REPAIR, thinking that there is a problem with the database. But every single time I do this, the message comes back that there are no problems.

Please advise.

Thank you.

Those two Preferences settings are related. You must also define a default database in order to preserve the windows last open on Quit.

If you wish, define a database with very little content as the default database. That will open quickly, so that you can switch to another.

Especially because this seems random, not related to database size, it’s likely because you have run out of free RAM and are operating in the Virtual Memory environment. Because Virtual Memory involves swapping data back and forth between RAM and disk – and disk read/write operations are very slow compared to operations in RAM – you experience a slowdown.

You can free up RAM by closing down other applications and/or by quitting and relaunching your DEVONthink application. Restarting the computer will clear the VM swap files in use.

Next time this happens, open Activity and examine memory usage.It’s odds on that you have run out of free RAM.

There’s an old saying: RAM is good, more RAM is better.

Apple has raised maximum RAM in current laptops and iMacs to 4 GB, and RAM has gotten more and more affordable over the years. Mac Pros can hold up to 32 GB RAM.

I’m functioning pretty well on my MacBook Pro with 2 GB RAM (although I sometimes quit DT Pro Office and relaunch it), but my next laptop will have 4 GB RAM. My Power Mac G5 has 5 GB RAM and I can run any of my databases on it for days without moving into use of Virtual Memory.

Re: my first question, I did what you suggested and it’s fine. I guess what I don’t understand though, is why have that “last opened” option in preferences to begin with? It seems unnecessary given that you have to designate a default database anyway, and that’s the one that will always open on startup. I used to be setup with a default database but found that as I created more and more databases, I was in and out of so many of them throughout the day that the default database option became more of an annoyance than anything. So, when I saw that “last opened” option in the prefs file I thought that would be a much better way to go. Oh well. Guess not.

And, yes, I hear you about RAM. I was hoping that wasn’t the problem, but I guess I’ll just have to break down and get one of those faster Macs coming out next year. In addition to your suggestions though, would any of the choices listed in DT’s TOOLS menu (e.g. Backup & Optimize) help to speed things up a bit?

Thanks again, Bill.


Hi, John. Yes, Backup & Optimize is recommended after adding a lot of new content. It will both compact and speed up the database just s bit, and of course provide a current backup.

I recommend Scripts > Export > Backup Archive. When taking a break it takes seconds to invoke. On return from break the database has been verified, optimized and provided new internal and external backups. The external archive is the smallest possible compressed and dated file and is recommended for storage on an external medium – another computer, an external hard drive, CD or DVD disc. Good protection in case of a hard drive failure or stolen laptop.