Options for storing Zotero storage folder

I have been using Zotero for years but have now encountered a difficulty when using the default installations with a new laptop with a much smaller SSD drive. The Zotero storage folder on my data directory is eating up 15GB which I need to remove.

My question is: what is the best way of doing this? I have set my preferences now only to download as necessary and not to automatically take snapshots or PDFs when saving, but can I:

1) safely delete all the existing Zotero storage folder data?
2) move this on to an external drive or cloud storage somehow? I am using Zotfile as well so interested to know if this is an option for moving data.

I've read a few of the forums and see syncing with Dropbox is still deprecated, but would appreciate some guidance before my Mac becomes unusable.

  • 1) If you are absolutely positive that all your files are synced and/or on another computer, you can simply delete the entire content of zotero/storage using your file manager (i.e. finder in your case), yes. New files that you add on your laptop will still be added to the storage folder and ones that you open (and thus download) will stay there, but that should reduce the footprint significantly.

    2. a) You can move the Zotero data directory to an external HD. There is nothing dangerous about this, but we've had some people experiencing problems. If e.g. the external HD isn't mounted at the time Zotero fires up, your library will open up empty -- those kinds of things.

    b) You can set up ZotFile to move files to a custom location and set that to the external HD. That should work nicely and as opposed to 2a, it won't matter if the disk isn't life when Zotero starts up. It just needs to be there when you access the file. Downside is that you'll need to figure out your own sync solution for files (for this, Dropbox is fine since it's just files, not the database), that the files won't be accessible from zotero.org and that this doesn't work for groups.
  • Thanks for this very useful summary - it sounds like an external HD might be the way to go. Thanks again for the prompt reply.
  • I have followed suggestion 1) but after deleting the storage folder the folder gets reinstalled with all the attachments back taking up valuable space.
  • @toshwo - not entirely sure, but I think you'd have to go into your preferences, and under sync set "sync on demand". My description is a bit cryptic - if you cannot find it the setting, let me know!
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