Using DEVONthink server on Mac Mini to be accessed from Windows computers

Hello, I am very interested in using DEVONthink. I am a Windows user, and I am not prepared to switch to macOS (which would include changing my desktop, laptop and OS all at once).

I have been looking at different options, and I am considering purchasing a Mac Mini, running DEVONthink server edition from there, and accesing it locally as well as through a web browser from my Windows PC and laptop and from my Android devices.

The Mac Mini would be used solely to run DEVONthink. It would be on my desk, and I would access it directly from my main monitor (which would be connected both to my Windows PC and to the Mac Mini).

Therefore, I would have direct local access to DEVONthink on the Mac Mini (which I would use to do the internal work inside the program). But practically all my work would still be done on my Windows PC (web browsing and clipping, email with Outlook 365, file management, etc.). As I said, the Mac Mini would be used only to use DEVONthink.

I have some questions regarding this setup, any comments would be highly appreciated:

  1. How would I send web clippings, emails, images, Word files, PDF files, etc. from my Windows PC to DEVONthink? Is this possible at all?

  2. Does this configuration make sense at all, if I am going to be using the Mac Mini exclusively to run DEVONthink, but not to do any other work? For instance, would I be losing features if I don´t use the native Apple Finder but Windows´ file manager?

  3. In case the only way to send things to DEVONthink from a Windows PC is to use the web browser: is the speed usually reasonable, or is web browser access too slow for daily work?

  4. Is there a big difference between using DEVONthink directly on the Mac Mini or accesing it from a web browser?

  5. Are there any other issues that I should be aware of on using this setup?

This question is not about how to setup DEVONthink server technically, it´s more about the practical use of DEVONthink together with Windows computers, and about any possible issues I could find that I am not aware of.

Thank you in advance.

You could have a folder called Devonthink on your PC that’s cloud connected; like GDrive or Dropbox
The folder is also on your Mac, and indexed within Devonthink

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Thank you, I understand. Actually I already use Dropbox and Google Drive to sync all my files between my PCs, so it´s probably just a matter of installing both also on the Mac Mini.

I still need to figure out how to clip and send webpages from Chrome on my PC to DEVONthink on the Mac Mini. And also emails from Outlook 365 on the PC to DEVONthink.

And my main concern is whether this setup will be operative and fast enough to justify the investment on new hardware and software, or if it will be slow and cumbersome. Since I have no previous experience with DEVONthink it´s hard for me to figure out in advance how this setup will work, so I was curious whether someone has done something similar.

Thank you again for your help.

Personally I don’t see this offers many benefits. While the web server does give Windows users access to the files, it is relatively bare bones in comparison to DT software on a Mac.

A simple example - file preview in DT is comprehensive. Via the server it is limited.

You’d need to download any file you want to work with. In DT you can open the file, or just drag out a copy.

For me DT on a Mac was justification in itself to switch from Windows to Mac.

(Just to add, our Mac users all use DT. We used to run the web server for our Windows users, but now they just use Sharepoint and complain. It’s nowhere near as fast or efficient as DT, but they won’t switch from Windows so that’s their decision).


Thank you for the reply, Peter. I agree, if the functionality of DT on a Mac and on a web browser is very different, I might purchase a Mac Mini as a second desktop, do my main work with DT there, and then use the browser access from my laptop and tablet, which are not Mac/iOs.

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That sounds like a very good idea. :slight_smile:

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Oh, the Outlook headaches!

On my Mac, I can drag an email out of Outlook directly into DT, or into the OneDrive folder I have indexed to DT and I get nice .eml files that open just fine under either Windows or macOS (and after a smart rule runs, even preview correctly in DT).

On my Windows machine at work, I drag an email out of Outlook and into the indexed folder and get useless (on the Mac) .msg files.

This is still a pain point–so if someone has some good ideas, I’m all ears.

The web interface is as fast as your internet connection, I find it quite responsive.

I don’t have a good workflow for getting webclips from Windows to DT, I usually just copy and paste a new bookmark record into the web-based Global Inbox and clip it later on my Mac.

The best thing I did on the Windows side was to essentially re-create the DT Inbox folder in Finder on the Windows machine by indexing a folder from my work OneDrive in DT. I pinned that folder to the File Explorer sidebar on the Windows machine so I can easily drop files on it. I have a smart rule in DT that watches that indexed folder and imports anything that shows up in it into the Global Inbox. As far as speed–it takes as long as it takes for OneDrive to sync the file between my work computer and home computer–and then a few minutes after that since I have the smart rule set to run on sync.


Thank you, this is what I was looking for: some insights based on real life experience, to help me make my decision on how to implement Devonthink in my workflow.

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