Linked Attachment Base Directory is correctly set, but Zotero does not find a lot of attachments

Dear developers or Zotero experts,

I have had the following problem for a while (using Zotero Standalone, latest updates installed, on Win10 PCs at work and home).

I have my PDF attachments stored on my Dropbox. On one PC (at home), the dropbox is on drive D, on my lab PC on drive E (nothing to do about that). In the "Files and Folders" settings on both PCs, the Linked Attachment Base Directory is set accordingly. Many attachments are correctly recognized on both PCs.
However, almost 50% of them are not. When I check the folder on my hard disk, the files are in the correct path, and on one PC (e.g. on my home PC) they are correctly found by Zotero whilst on the other one (e.g. on my lab PC) they are not.

So when I want to open such an attachment, Zotero complains: "The attached file could not be found (...)". However, clicking onto "Locate..." does nothing (closes the notification but does not let me look for the file and re-attach it like it usually does if one has for example manually moved an attachment to a different folder).

This issue has been a problem for me since many months ago. The only solution I have found is deleting the corrupted attachment and adding a new one, but I cannot do this for 200 attachments.

Now I got for the first time the idea to check the Error Console.

When I want to open a corrupted attachment, an error appears therein:

"Timestamp: 11.09.2019 20:03:23
Error: Win error 21 during operation open on file D:\Dropbox\_PAPERS\PAG related papers\Jasnow 2004 BehavNeurosci_Involvement of CeA and BNST Corticotropin-Releasing Factor in Behavioral Responses to Social Defeat.pdf (Das Gerät ist nicht bereit.
Source File: (unknown module)
Line: 0"

Always reproducible with every corrupt attachment.

Not that the error says that Zotero thinks the file should be on drive D. Importantly, this is on the PC where my Dropbox is on E and the Zotero Base Directory is correctly(!) set to E and not D in the preferences! For some reason, Zotero treats one portion of the attachments differently than the other portion.

To me this seems to be a major bug, and I have no idea how to work around it.

Maybe there is a simple solution to repair this kind of corrupted database. I would be very glad if somebody helped me with that. If it is a real bug, a fix by the Devs would be most welcome.

  • On the PC where you added the files (where they work), in the Advanced pane of Zotero preferences, set the Linked Files Base Directory to point you the main folder where you store the PDFs. Then, sync. Do the same setup on the other computer, but pointing to the base folder on that system. Then the file links should work.
  • Hi bwiernik, thanks for your reply. I will get back to you as soon as I have done so (though it should already be like that, I have not changed the base folder for years)
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