Trouble with strange "create version" "smart" rule

Today I noticed a smart rule listed that I hadn’t created, called “Create Version”.

Wondering what it was, I right-clicked on it, aiming to select “Edit…” to see how the rule was constructed. Unfortunately I missed that selection and selected “Apply Rule” instead, without knowing I’d done this.

DEVONthink locked up with the beachball for quite a while, whilst I wondered what was going on. When it finished beach-balling, I noticed that thousands of my files (some of them very big in size) had had this rule applied. Everything looked duplicated somewhere!

I inspected the rule—gingerly—and it seems that it’s dumped a lot of my files into a new group called “Versions”.

I didn’t create this rule, and I can only think it was provided “helpfully” by some update.

But I don’t want these ‘versions’ or whatever they are.

Do I take it that I can go into each of my databases and delete every one of these new groups called “Versions” in each, and my data will be the same as before?


There is also a “smart” rule that I didn’t create called “Remove Obsolete Versions” which has the same number of items as this pesky “Create Version” rule, which I dare not touch.

This may assist (from the release notes for DT version 3.8: see Help > Release Notes):

Added new default smart rules Create Version and Remove Obsolete Versions for simple file versioning. The first one should be performed before saving, the second one periodically, e.g., before synchronizing. Exclude the group Versions from search if you don’t want old versions to be part of toolbar search results.

Edit: At least it will explain to you what the rules do.


However that may be, if I simply delete each newly created group called “Versions”, will I end up with my data as it was before I inadvertently applied this unwelcome rule?

I should imagine so but in order to be 100% sure why not set up a test database with some dummy files and groups, run the smart rule(s) and then delete the resulting Versions group and see what happens?


Yes thank you - that sounds rational, but the rule appears to operate on “Databases”, which I take to be “any open database” so it’s going to do its thing on any databases I have open, including the Inbox, which has some big items in it, waiting to be sorted.

Because of my inadvertent use of this rule my ~/Databases folder is twice the size it was, which meant I had to pause syncing and my nightly backups to save unnecessarily used space and bandwidth. It happened at a particularly unfortunate time: I had just opened many large databases to tidy them up.

I realise it was an accident on my part, but this “smart” rule might have incorporated a confirmation dialog before proceeding.

Can Bullfrog et al confirm that deleting the /Versions groups will leave my data as before?

If you double click on the smart rule you can amend that by changing Search in: to the name of your dummy database—so that it will then operate only on that database.

I mention it just in case you don’t want to wait for others to arrive and confirm as you’ve requested.


Yes there is the secondary related smart rule to Remove Obsolete Versions. You can use this to remove items from the Versions groups, then remove the rules and the groups.

Well, I just moved all the ‘Versions’ groups to the trash, emptied the trash, then removed both rules. Hope that had the same effect.

It was an unfortunate slip (though pretty easily made), as it effectively doubled the size of my database folder at a stroke, since I (unusually) had many large databases open for housekeeping.

Thanks for the heads up; I had noticed the rules, like you wasn’t sure where they had come from, and had added “find out more” to my intracerebral to-do for 2034 or so…