Untangling a cluster of databases/syncs from multiple system

Whelp, over the past year I have been hopping from laptop to laptop and never quite taking the time to setup and properly tame my DTPO databases on each system, bridging from the old way of synching to the new. What’s worse, I’ve discovered that on two of my main systems (one that lives at work and one that lives at home) I accidentally added a bunch of data and updates that did not make it into successful synching situations, so I may in fact have three “important” databases that have not that many files different from each other. (Two of them local databases and one of them a recent attempt to setup a sync that differs slightly from original “master” database and the secondary database I was trying to bring up to parity with it.)

Anyhow, not a great way to manage my data! Each of these databases is between 7GB and 15GB, and i’m completely stumped how to get things right without losing some of my scattered recent work. (like scans of handwritten notes on each system!)

Now that the new sync approach appears great and the iOS app could help me grab data on the fly, i’m really kicking myself that I have put myself in this predicament. I’d like to cut the gordion knot and start everything over, but am wondering if there is a route that might work for dumping these separate things onto the same drive and creating one database to work with that includes all unique entries from the three databases from before!

I’m eager to start things over and start really taking advantage of the recent DTPO updates!

DEVONthink isn’t a good tool for comparing databases or versions of databases.

If this were my problem to solve, I would make sure I have a whomping big drive, open the databases one by one, export each database as a child hierarchy of a folder on my big drive. So I would end up with folders at the root for Database A, Database B, etc.

Then I would get a copy of Beyond Compare and go to work. Compare A to B then B to C then A to C – and put the merged changes into a new folder. I would end up with a folder containing all the documents that are the union of A, B, and C. With that folder I would create a new database, import everything from that unified folder into the new database. Then zip up the old databases and go about your business.

You’ll lose all your replicants. Life could be harder.

Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of – and I think I’ll take this route. I have Beyond Compare, actually (love it!) and will give this a go.


You might want to evaluate whether you need to export the Tags hierarchy. If you don’t just, export everything except Tags (and skip the Smart Groups). When you export Tags you’ll get a parallel hierarchy of duplicate copies of your documents. More grief to deal with than needed. Also, use Hazel or something to crawl your export and get rid of the “DEVONtech_storage” files, which are not useful in the procedure or end result.

If you don’t have Hazel (you should though) you can open a terminal, cd into the folder where you exported your DBs and do:

find . -iname "DEVONtech_storage" -delete

```  :wink: