Missing database?

I opened the Zotero app this morning and got this mysterious message:

"You are about to sync the ‘philippa’ account to an empty Zotero database. This could happen if you removed your previous database or if the location of your Zotero data directory changed.
If your Zotero data exists elsewhere on this computer, you should move it to the current data directory or change the data directory location to point to your existing data."

My data is still there when I log in to the Zotero site but I have no idea how to fix this problem on my desktop (Windows 10). I haven't knowingly moved any data.

Is anyone able to help? Should I uninstall and reinstall the desktop app perhaps?

Thanks, PL
  • First, make a backup of your Zotero data directory.

    Then see Where did my items go?.

    In particular, we'd want to know the names, dates, and sizes of all zotero.sqlite* files in your Zotero data directory, as well as whether there are folders in 'storage' with dates corresponding to your previous usage of Zotero.
  • Advanced settings show the Zotero folder on my desktop as the current data directory. I confimed that but nothing changed.
    The zotero.sqlite file (in users -- Zotero) is dated today and shows a size of 4960 kb.
    I see no folders marked storage: three folders are 'locate', 'styles' and 'translation'.
  • On your desktop? Not your home directory? That would be very unusual, and something you would've had to have changed yourself.

    Do you have a "Zotero" directory in your home directory? If so, just set Zotero back to the default location.
  • Wait, actually, I'm confused by what you wrote. You say that your current data directory is on your desktop, but you also have one in your home directory?

    What are the contents of each?
  • Sorry if I confused you; npt on my desktop -- I simply meant I'm having the trouble on the desktop machine. The file location is This PC -- Windows (C) -- users -- myname -- Zotero. Surely that's the home directory, no?
  • OK, yes, that's the home directory, but that sounds like a new, empty directory. If you had used this data directory before, you would have a 'storage' directory and various other zotero.sqlite* files.

    Do you recall using a custom data directory location before?

    Generally, see https://www.zotero.org/support/zotero_data#where_did_my_items_go for what you're looking for elsewhere on your computer.
  • Found a folder that begins with my name, then is called Tracing and then has a Zotero folder with far more stuff in it. This just be the main one. This is in addition the the folder I described earlier. I suspect the problem may relate (reading the documentation) to my having been away from this desktop for 3 months or so -- date on the last sqlite file there is 16 May, just before I left for the summer.

    I still have no idea what I now do. I think the safest bet is to see if the techs at work can figure this out; I don't want to mess with this and risk making it worse. Will check in with them tomorrow. Thanks for your assistance.
  • edited 8 days ago
    Don't worry about (or touch) any other folders named "Zotero". What you're looking for are zotero.sqlite files with accompanying 'storage' folders.

    Just to be sure, you've used Zotero 5 on this computer before? Or is it possible you were using the old Zotero for Firefox version the last time you used it on this computer? (Zotero 5 came out two years ago, but some people stayed on that version for a while.) If so, you'd want to check the Firefox profile, explained in the instructions linked from that section.
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