Tags disappeared when selecting a file indexed from OneDrive

I recently had the tags removed from a file as soon as I selected it (single-click to see the document in the viewer pane). The ‘disappearing’ file is a PDF + Text file and is indexed. I use DT on two Mac pcs and sync them through Bonjour.

Here are the details:

  1. using the side panel, I selected the tag I needed; the total number of files with the tag was 16
  2. I single-clicked on few files to view them…no problem
  3. When I clicked on this particular file, it disappeared immediately. Total number of files now 15
  4. Using search, I located the file and noticed that all of the tags associated with this file were gone

Because my 2 dbs had not been synced for a while, I was able to open the db on the other mac and repeat the process with the same file. The tags were removed as in the first instance.

In the end, it hasn’t been a real issue, as I readded the tags and everything is back to normal. However, it is frightening when a file disappears from your eyes. Any thoughts?

Impossible to tell now but the most likely reasons are that the indexed file didn’t have the tags in the filesystem anymore and DEVONthink updated the indexed item automatically or that it’s a result of the overdue sync.

Now it has happened again in the same db with a different tag group. Any way to fix this? Thanks

And again…this is becoming a real problem. Several files in a row have had their tags removed upon selecting them. Sometimes the viewing pane would quickly show “No document found” or something to that effect before the file disappeared from the tab group. When I view the file in its original location, it displays properly. I really need a solution. Thanks.

Selecting & previewing an indexed file actually forces an update of the indexed database item if necessary, meaning that newer (!) changes from the filesystem are applied to the database. Therefore the files probably had no more Finder tags before selecting them. In which folder in the filesystem are the files stored?

Thanks for the reply. The files are stored in the OneDrive folder on my pc’s HD. OneDrive is set to always keep the files on my device.

I now realize that basically any file in the entire db that I open/preview loses its tags (for the reason you stated, apparrently). I guess the question is: why did the (newer) version of the files no longer have the Finder tags. I never removed them.

I am risking losing a lot of previous work done to assign the tags. If there is any way to save these tags before I go further and lose them all, I am desperately interested in hearing it.

Aha!! I was expecting this exact answer. :sweat_smile:

OneDrive has problems with tags, more problems if you “touch” files in Windows. But yo don’t need to touch anything in Windows to lose the tags. A simple sync with another device uses to lose them.

From my experience, if you are using OneDrive in macOS, and more if you use same account in Windows, don’t:

  • Use tags in those files (they use to be lost).
  • Sync any kind of bundle (if they have internal links, those should break and so and then you will have file conflicts you cannot see if you don’t enter the bundle and look for those).
  • Wait at least 1/2 hour after a change in macOS to close the lid or suspend your laptop (even if OneDrive shows it is doing nothing, you could see in Activity Monitor it is working hard, well, working hard but doing nothing and causing sync issues if you suspend your device).

Thanks! I also suspect that the problem is connected to OneDrive. In the future, I am going to simply switch to importing files into DT instead of indexing. But what about these already exisitng files? For example, would it work to import them into DT while keeping the existing tags?

Yes, AFAIK, importing respects all included metadata. Try to import a file and check.

It’s actually the file system behind OneDrive, i.e. the cloud . If it doesn’t support tags (which most file systems don’t, afaik), it makes no sense to keep the tags on a local mirror of the OneDrive data – they’d disappear anyway as soon as the local copy is synced with the cloud.

I’ve extended the title of this topic by adding “indexed from OneDrive”; my intention is to make it more immediately apparent to other users that there is a problem using tags when indexing from OneDrive (something I, for example, was not aware of).

@BLUEFROG assuming the DT manual does not cover the fact that some cloud file systems do not support tags, might it be worth positioning a prominent warning in the section on indexing? Whilst now I know of the problem it is pretty obvious, I’m sure I wouldn’t have thought of it before the fact. I suspect the same might go for many other users.


To complete this, at least Dropbox does not remove tags when using files (at least in Windows).

That might perhaps also extend to file systems like WebDAV, SMB, NFS.

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In effect, I’m aware of that. But I don’t think I would put 1&1 together when indexing files; to be honest, I’m not even sure I was aware that tags as used by DT were a file system attribute rather than database internal metadata. Writing that I fear I may simply have been slightly ignorant of the facts, but life is like that sometimes.

Now that the problem has been a little more isolated, and I am reading more about taggin in DT, I can add some additional info to my particular setup/issue: “Create Spotlight Index” is OFF for the database in question. Could this be something?

Also, I have read the ‘Tagging’ section of the documentation and do not see anything about this issue. And I am not clear if I am dealing with ‘Ordianary’ tags or ‘Spotlight’ tags. From my reading, it seems that ‘Ordinary’ tags are contained within DT and would be preferable in this case, but it seems that my issue is related to ‘Spotlight’ tags that are disappearing via OneDrive. Or have I misunderstood something?

I am really hoping for a solution, here. Beyond the tags, I have annotations, links, etc that I need to preserve. Seems like I could simply start over with a new database and import all of the files that are currently indexed, but I do not want to lose any processing of the data that I have already done. Thanks!

Not sure, but DT tags and Finder tags are the same.

To not to lose anything, you can right click in the indexed file/folder and select “Move into database”. Nothing is lost. Links, tags, etc. However, imported files are deleted from their original place.

What I did when I “disconnected” from any cloud, was a) be sure all the files I wanted to move into database really were in disc and not cloud only (*), b) disconnect the cloud from the local machine in the right OneDrive option, c) wait until OneDrive does its job, c) now you can “Move into database”.

Once you are sure all files are in your database (eg, checking imported folders aren’t anymore in cloud folder structure), then delete the entire OneDrive folder from your home folder. Eventually, you can re-connect OneDrive to your Mac.

That way, no files are deleted from the cloud and you haven’t lost anything.

(*) Yes, I know all indexed files must be locally available, but sometimes macOS/OneDrive automagically (sigh!!) evicts some, based in remaining disk space.

Thanks! The problem is that as soon as I select a file (in order to right-click it and import) then the tags are immediately removed. I guess I can try from a folder level and see what happens.

Actually they’re not identical. But in case of indexed items the tags are automatically updated in both directions.

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This is a OneDrive issue, not a DEVONtech one.

OneDrive does not support tags on non-image files so when it syncs, it removes Finder tags from non-image files.

This is clearly visible behavior in the Finder after making a change to a file in OneDrive on a PC.

… still need to double-check the Mac behavior.\

And as expected… Finder tags are not synced nor preserved by OneDrive, even between Macs.

On a side note: Tagging files in the Finder also does not provoke a OneDrive sync.