Zotfile connection broken after system reformat

First of all, I apologize if this issue has been discussed elsewhere; I’ve gone through all the forum discussions I could find and I couldn’t get a solution for my problem.

I recently had to wipe out my Mac because of a bad upgrade to High Sierra. Luckily, my Zotero library is synced and my attachments are saved in my Google Drive folder. I was using Zotfile to sync my attachments using the “Custom Location” option.

So after the reformat, I just synced both my Zotero library and my Google Drive back to my computer. In Zotero, the entire library seems to be back. The Google Drive files are there, too, including the Zotfile attachments. However, when I try to open any file, I get the following message:

File Not Found

The attached file could not be found.

It may have been moved or deleted outside of Zotero, or, if the file was added on another computer, it may not yet have been synced to or from zotero.org.

More Information

When I click on “More Information,” I am directed to _____, which does not provide any help at all.

When I click on “Locate...”, nothing happens. I used to be able to manually browse for the missing file and select it. Now even that isn’t working anymore. (Not that I would want to do that with 2,000 files!)

So I have a few theories, but I don’t know any possible solutions.

1. After reformatting my computer, the name of my Mac volume drive may have changed, and that is causing the broken connection. I’m not sure if I had changed it from the default name “Macintosh HD” to something else before the reformat, but I know that now it’s back to the default “Macintosh HD.”
2. I was using Zotero 4 before the reformat, and I had to upgrade to Zotero 5. Does Zotfile not work right with Zotero 5?
3. Google Drive was recently changed to “Backup and Sync” and somehow that caused the broken connection.

Please help me. I have a huge library with more than 2,000 files, and I am desperate to get things working the way they used to! Thank you very much for your help!
  • You are right that the issue is that the file path has changed from your old computer to your new setup (your number 1). Fortunately, it is straightforward to fix.

    Install the Zutilo plugin and use it to batch edit your links to use the new path to your google drive folder. After that, you will want to set up the Base Directory setting in Zotero's advanced settings to prevent running into this in the future.

    See also here:
  • Thanks a lot, bwiernik!

    If I'm not mistaken, you're referring to my theory # 1 (Mac volume drive name has changed). However, I do not remember what the old drive name was before my system reformat.

    I already have the Zutilo plugin. Are you referring to the "Modify attachments path" function? When I do that, I'm asked for "Old partial path to attachments' directory to be replaced." Then there's a tick box saying "Replace all instances of partial path string."

    Unfortunately, I do not remember the "old partial path." Is there any way for me to get the path from the metadata of my Zotero entries?
  • It's working now! I just had to change the linked attachments base directory in Zotero Preferences. Thanks so much for your help, bwiernik!
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