Suggestion: preference setting to block any possibility of deleting indexed files (“never delete indexed files” checkbox)

In my workflow, indexed files would be very useful in many situations, but I simply can’t live with the mere possibility that DevonThink could delete those files if I bungled (which I am prone to do). I know that if I accidentally deleted them, I could still undelete them but that again is unpredictable, for example if I deleted indexed files, emptied the trash and only then realized my error.
thank you for considering my request

One possibility might be to (automatically) lock the indexed items via smart rules.

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Just curious, since I index all my documents, but how is it easier to accidentally delete indexed documents than imported documents?

thank you Christian. Very good idea.
I could not find a precise definition of “locked” in the help. Only Mark: Allows you to mark the item as flagged/unflagged, locked/unlocked, and read/unread.
Does locked simply mean cannot delete ?

It’s a good point.
For a few reasons:

  • I would like to use more indexed files because my database is becoming very bloated
  • I would index those files which I frequently edit in many apps. I know that I can do it via DevonThink of course, but I would prefer the file to be in Finder. Makes things easier on multiple devices (open in external app is complicated with iOS), and exchanging files with others.
    thank you for your comment
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The item can be still moved to the trash (this doesn’t affect the item in the filesystem) but trying to empty the trash will show an alert asking whether locked items should be deleted too. Locking prevents also internal editing in DEVONthink.

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thank you Christian

Note there is a built-in smart rule - Automatic Locking - that could be modified to suit your needs…

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great ! thanks !

You’re welcome.
Here’s my suggestion for how I would approach this…

You could target the Databases, if need be.
The Date Added today criterion can help tame the number of matched items, if needed. This is something I often add for that very purpose.

I’m familiar with those, and my reasons for wanting to index documents rather than import them. I was asking for your reasons as to why you think it’s easier to accidentally delete indexed documents vs. deleting imported documents?

I had not given it some thought. I think that you make a valid point.

perhaps also because indexed documents are not included in my frequent DT backups

Which backups? The internal backups in DEVONthink only backup the database index, your documents are not included in that backup. Imported or indexed, it’s necessary to include a backup process that insures your documents are backed up also.


I’m stunned !!! I fell off my chair !
The backup size being 9 GB, I assumed that docs were included.

When emptying trash, you will be asked if you want to delete from your files and folders as well. You can choose “Only in database” and check the do no ask again box. Apart from backing up, I feel like this is a straightforward method @rufus123. What do you think @BLUEFROG?

However, I do support a preference checkbox that strictly forbids DT to perform any permanent deleting of any indexed files/folders.

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You could use a smart rule to automatically lock indexed items.

@cgrunenberg Locking items would not allow editing as well, right?

That’s correct (or only if you unlock it temporarily).

sorry for my delayed response. I was looking for an idiot proof method (the idiot being me making mistakes). I sometimes am in a rush, work very fast and make mistakes, like clicking on yes or no too quickly.