Unfixable Database Error, Just starting out

I’m trying to see if this app if for me and have restarted several times because I keep getting an error that I thought had something to do w/ how I was moving stuff around. I reset settings via the terminal, delete the database and start over. The problem comes in as soon as I index a couple local folders (documents and downloads), and 1 dropbox folder (my obisidan folder)… when i repair database, I get this error that can’t seem to be fixed. I’ve done no other actions except to create a group for my indexed folders.

Screen Shot 2021-03-28 at 11.03.24

here’s what I get when I try to repair.
Screen Shot 2021-03-28 at 11.03.30

What exactly are you doing?

from a forum topic I found:

  1. Quit DEVONthink.
  2. Open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app and paste:
    3.defaults delete com.devon-technologies.think3*
    and press Return.
  3. Type: exit , press Return and quit Terminal.
  4. Relaunch DEVONthink.

Why? And what is in your database?

No idea why that terminal command should solve the problem. Most likely you have a file which is size 0 bytes; under some circumstances these files are treated as suspicious and possibly corrupted. If you search the forum for “size 0” and set the results to latest topic first you will find all the information you need. The file causing the problem should be listed in the log when you verify your database; you can both locate or delete it from there.

I just want to start over to see if I can get the error to go away. I dont have a single thing in my database except indexed folders.

I didn’t find that article using the search you suggested, but I made a smart group to find all 0 size files and found many folders and a number of Obsidian Files that don’t yet have content (just a placeholder file)… what’s then the solution? I could add a bit of text to each file, but that’s a cumbersome process… What about the folders? No idea how to change that? Or do I just ignore the error? Are there negative consequences to doing that?

There’s not “an article”, there’s loads :wink:

In your case only one file seems to be triggering the alert, so it’d be best to find which one that is using the log.

If you are not using sync there would be no negative consequences of simply leaving the file put. Sync won’t start so long as there are inconsistencies, though (as explained in numerous articles in the forum).

Folders don’t trigger the mechanism (as don’t all 0-byte files; only ones which the devs assessed to be unusual [think 0-size PDF for example])

ok, I’m new at this, so it’s a bit overwhelming to understand all of what I read…is there an easy way to zero in on that zero byte file?

When you verify and the error occurs, the file causing it should be written to the log. When you open the log and open the context menu of the log entry you will be able to reveal or trash the file (ps the error will persist until trash is emptied).

Try emptying the trash, and reindexing that database, have you indexed a file then moved it?

That’s fine, that’s what we’re all here for :slight_smile:

That would be reported as a missing file, not as an inconsistency AFAIK

so I think i fixed it by removing a few files I didn’t need anyway, but then was getting missing file errors… when I index a folder I noticed that adding to it populates in DT, but I’m not clear on the best protocol for removing them as it seems that I have to remove it from my hard drive and then remove the instance in DT. What’s the protocol for adding/deleting—I’d prefer not having to do it 2x or update the index… should this all be automatic?

Others might want to chip in here, because I only index a small portion of my data. My experience is that if I perform the action from DT (e.g., deleting or moving the file) then both DT and Finder know what’s going on. If I perform the action from Finder, then I may have to manually intervene in DT (not always, and others may be able to provided more info on which circumstances govern that).

1 Like

There is a pretty comprehensive section on Indexing in the DEVONthink manual, but the quick answer to your main question is if you index a folder or a document in the Finder and then later delete the folder/group or the document in DEVONthink, when you go to empty DEVONthink’s trash you will be asked if you want to delete the folder/group or the document from everywhere or just from the database.

Now you didn’t ask, but one ongoing point of confusion is that if you delete a document from an indexed folder/group in the database, you will not get a warning-the document will be deleted in the Finder. I’d recommend creating some test Finder folders and documents, and run tests on what happens when you indexed folders, indexed documents, and documents inside an indexed folder.


As hinted at by @Greg_Jones, check out the Help > Documentation > In & Out > Importing & Indexing section, especially the Indexing and the filesystem subsection.