Sync to network drive - operation constantly "self cancels"


I am so delighted you guys now have syncing technology. I’ve waited until I needed to start an active note-taking phase before implementing it, in the hopes that early bugs would get worked out in the meantime.

I’ve just tried to set up a sync. My plan is to sync between three places: home desktop, work laptop, and work server (where I work from at my work desktop). If I’m reading the instructions correctly, the way to do this is to create a “Local Sync Store” in one of those places. I chose to do that on the work server, in the same folder where my DT database itself is stored.

Having set that up, I hit “sync,” and was delighted to see the progress bar kick into gear. But then the problems started: it just keeps cancelling itself – at first I thought I’d clicked a button or the mouse by mistake, but I’ve now watched it cancel itself probably 20 times. Each time, it issues a version of the following error message to the log:

Each time I restart the sync, I get the same message within ~30 seconds of syncing. The DB isn’t that large – it contains nothing but RTF “notecards.” I’m disappointed that it appears not to be working, but am hopeful that perhaps there’s an easy fix.

Any help most appreciated!

Followup Question #2 -

While I’m waiting to figure out this cancellation issue, I decided to try to see if I can get at least those files that have uploaded to the Sync Store to sync to my laptop.

I opened the “Sync Preferences” on my laptop, and (after connecting to the work server where I set up the Sync Store) tried to sync my laptop DevonThink with the DT database in the Sync Store. But it downloaded nothing; it just uploaded a single file from my laptop DT Inbox.

Then I thought maybe you have to Import Database before you start syncing it. So I went to do that, and it pulled up a dialog box for “locations” that was completely empty – no options, no folders, n o buttons to add options – literally nothing but an “X” in the top corner of the box that I could close it with.

So that would appear to be problem #2. I’ve been banging my head against the documentation for this for a while now without luck. I feel like I must be missing something so obvious that the documentation doesn’t even detail it . . .

Any help most appreciated!

  1. Try Tools > Rebuild Database as a first measure. It should be quick (and I don’t think this will fix it but I want to make sure we cover it).

  2. If it doesn’t, please try the Sync operation again AFTER following these instructions…

To enable logging, type the following in /Applications/Utilities/ and restart DEVONthink:

defaults write com.devon-technologies.thinkpro2 DTSyncDebug -bool YES
defaults write com.devon-technologies.thinkpro2 DTSyncDebugHigh -bool YES

This will log more detail to your system log, which can be viewed in /Applications/Utilities/

After you’ve attempted the Sync, open Console, type “DEVONthink” in the filter field in the upper right-hand corner, and copy and paste ALL of the window’s contents into a new text document. Start a Support Ticket at our DEVONtechnologies Support Ticket System and attach the document to your reply. Thank you.

Thanks – will do. I had read up on the sync process on these boards before starting it, so I had actually rebuilt the database immediately before syncing, but I’ll certainly try again just in case. And will then open the ticket per your instructions.

Once I have the Sync Store up and running, how exactly do I access it from my DT running on another computer? It will be on my work server, which I access through a VPN on my work laptop. I’d like a locally synced version of my database on that laptop, but when I tried to set it up through an “Existing Sync Store,” I got the problem described in my second post above. Am I doing something basic wrong?

Thanks again for your help!

Have you looked at Sync preferences and Synchronizing sections in the help documentation and/or watched the Synchronizing video tutorial?

Yes and yes on Preferences and Help Documentation. Also yes on combing through this forum. Haven’t watched the video though.

Per the above, this is where I’m at:

If those don’t answer your question then maybe Dtech’s documentation is incomplete? :slight_smile:

Or I don’t fully understand your issue and someone else can surely help you.

Heh. They get so much so amazingly, awesomely right about the functionality that I’ve learned to live with the quirks of the documentation, or occasionally lack thereof : )

Although in this particular case I strongly suspect the error is 100% on me – I’m screwing something up and/or missing something super obvious. . . Thanks for the initial pointers. : )

Here’s a simple walkthrough via sneakernet…

  1. Plug in a thumbdrive.

  2. In the Sync Prefs, click the Add drop down and choose “Add New Local Sync Store”.

  3. Choose the thumbdrive and name the store as desired.

  4. Select the database you want to Sync , check the box for the store, and Sync.

  5. On the receiving Mac, plug in the thumbdrive.

  6. In the Sync Prefs, choose “Add Existing Local Sync Store” and choose the store on the thumbdrive.

  7. Click the “Import Database” button.

  8. Choose the Sync Store and click “Next”.

  9. Choose the database you want to Sync to this machine.

  10. Choose the location to save it and the Sync will “download” it to your machine.

  11. Subsequent Syncs on either machine will require the thumbdrive to be plugged in and will just update the contents of the Sync Store.

** Note: This is assuming you don’t already have a copy of the database on your receiving machine. If you do you will have to choose what to do to resolve the conflict.
*** Also note: If the Sync isn’t successful on the initial Sync to the thumbdrive (or whatever location), then it won’t be present for the next machine to Sync.

Easy enough? :^)

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So true, and the documentation has steadily improved.

I still remember being impressed by how many “minor” details behaved to my liking during early testing of the software that were troublesome with alternatives I’d compared with. And Dtech has always been and remained one of the most interactive and attentive developers.

Hopefully Jim’s steps are more helpful!

Awesome. That’s super helpful, Jim – thanks so much.

I’m conscious of imposing too much on your time, but I have one followup question that I hope will be quick. The above protocol seems to entail using the thumb drive for each sync. I totally get that this will work, and it’s a terrific option that I will use if others aren’t available. But I have one question.

In a completely perfect world, I’d just have the computers talking to the server, so that it’s all seamlessly digital, no physical device transport required. Logically, I would think that the thumb drive and the remotely-accessed server ought to “look” the same to DevonThink. In other words, for the purpose of looking at a “drive” that is on something other than the computer’s own internal hardware, maybe it calls the thumb drive the “G:\ Drive”, and maybe it calls my work server (accessed via VPN) the “H:: Drive”, . . . but logically for the purpose of accessing the Sync Store, shouldn’t the operation be the same for either drive? And if so, shouldn’t it be possible for me to structure the exact operation described above, except with the sync store being remotely located on a server across town rather than “remotely” located in a thumb drive that I’ve just plugged in?

I’m not a computer person by any reasonable definition of the term (well, maybe in comparison to my mom), so my apologies if I’m not being clear. And many thanks for your time. Love the product – totally depend on it, truthfully.

Yes, you could do it via server access IF you can access the drive, potentially via VPN.

The truth of the matter is that, except for a Direct Connection Sync, Syncing is really creating a store in the other locations (DropBox, etc.) though refined for the particular transport requirements (i.e… talking Dropbox’s language, or WebDAV’s, etc.)

Do note that, in your “perfect world”, networks would be full throttle, with no hops/routers/firewalls/etc. and no other traffic but yours. So your remote store is going to be affected by the speed and quality of the network between the two locations. This is NOT under our control or something we can really account for. YMMV.

My personal opinion? I would thumb drive it or use an external (unless I was violating a company security policy) and drag it between home and work. Just my preference.

Gotcha. This is incredibly helpful – thanks so much. One last question, which is truly a quick one, and then I’ll be quiet. : )

You note that “your remote store is going to be affected by the speed and quality of the network between the two locations.” This sets off all kinds of risk alarms for me – as you presumably meant for it to! Do you simply mean that sync time may be a pain in the ass, or that sync may sometimes just not go through (with a notification to that effect)? Or do you mean – much more troublingly – that the actual DT data might get corrupted either by (1) sufficiently high network traffic or (2) firewall issues?

If the latter is the case, maybe I’m better off just doing this on Dropbox. I’d been totally scared off of Dropbox from reading earlier threads on the forums – from before you guys rolled out the sync-capable version of DT. But maybe that’s old problems at this point . . .

Actually, I was talking about Dropbox / cloud services in general but it would apply to a VPN session too. I wouldn’t be so concerned about data corruption (and we’ve had no such reports to my knowledge) but transfer speeds may not always be as peppy as you’d like.

Do note that this is no slight on cloud services and your mileage will vary (even throughout the day). Look at the forums for these services and you’ll find plenty of discussion about transfer speeds. This is all to say we have no magic bullet or special mojo that’ll make this faster than the network conditions will allow.

Again, my personal preference is to not use a remote service for a Sync unless I have a really good reason to use it. (And “cuz it’s there” or “This is 2013 and the cloud is king! (not!)” or worse “I don’t wanna have to remember to do stuff like plug in a thumb drive. The computer should think for me all the time.” are NOT good reasons!) /rant off

That all makes complete sense, both technically and disputatiously : )

Many thanks, Jim. I appreciate it.

My pleasure! And I got to learn a new word today: “sense” 8) j/k

disputatious : good word and a new one for me.