Zotero Data Directory Appearing as Loose Folders and Files - Problems Remapping!

I'm helping a curator reinstall Zotero on her new work PC and we've run into the following problem:

1) When she first installed and started using Zotero a number of years ago, the curator remembers moving the Zotero Data Directory from the hard drive default to her personal drive on our institutional network (H Drive), following our instructions - https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/comment/299559/#Comment_299559. We always recommend this to our curators since this drive is back-up nightly by our IS&T department.

2) She also believes she synced her data (not files) with the Zotero cloud.

3) The problem is that there is now no Zotero folder that I am able to find on her H drive to remap the client to. Instead, I see the following loose folders and files, all at the top level of the H drive: the storage folder, which seems to contains subfolders with all the PDF files, the locate folder, the styles folder, the translators folder, and the zotero.sqlite, zotero.sqilte.1.bak, and the zotero.sqlite.bak files. (I have a screen shot I can email.)

4) These appear to be all the components of a Zotero Data Directory, but why are they all appearing on their own in her H drive and not inside a Zotero folder? And what can I do about this?

Should I create a Zotero folder, move all these files into it, and then try to remap this location to the client?

Or, should I have her synch her newly installed Zotero client (which is currently empty since we can't find her Zotero data directory) with the cloud? I read somewhere that the synch is not as recent as your directory, so before I synch anything I want to make sure it's the right thing to do.

I'm hoping this curator's library did not remain on the Hard drive of the old PC!
  • Try this:

    1) Find the data directory of the new, empty Zotero. You can reliably find it from the advanced tab of the preferences. Open that folder and leave it open. It shoudl have a zotero.sqlite file that will be about 1MB in size and will likely not have a storage folder.
    2) Quite Zotero (but still leave the data directory open)
    3) Rename the zotero.sqlite file in that folder into zotero.sqlite-old
    4) Move the zotero.sqlite file and the storage folder with all its contents from her H drive into the data directory (dont' worry about any all other files from the H drive at this time, but also don't delete them yet)
    5) Restart Zotero -- see where you're at with her old library

    It's impossible to say why the parts of the old data directory got removed from it. Nothing Zotero would ever do.

    It's also absolutely possible that syncing would restore all metadata, but it's going to be easier if this just works from the backup. If the above doesn't work, syncing is the next attempt.
  • Thank you! I may not have access to this curator's workstation for the next two weeks, but will try these steps when I do and report back.
  • I'd actually guess that she simply copied the contents of her Zotero data directory to the root of the H: drive and then selected that as the data directory, instead of copying the entire Zotero folder and selecting that. Assuming H:\zotero.sqlite is >5 MB and the modification date corresponds to the last time she used Zotero, the fix here is likely as simple as creating a "Zotero" folder on the H: drive, moving all those files and folders from the H: root into it, and then pointing Zotero there.
  • A belated thank you dstillman! This worked.
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