Can't attach PDFs Report: Error report: 825796612

The error message appears when I try to open a PDF file originally uploaded to my online Zotero account and then synced to the Zotero app on my Mac.

I believe that the above issue is related to another issue and the way I sought to resolve it.

Due to intolerable slowness on my Mac Mini, I recently created a new Apple ID and migrated my apps and data to that new ID. When I opened Zotero in the new Apple ID, the different collections and their contents were all in order, but I was unable to view the PDFs that I had attached to many of the entries.

Looking at the different folders in Zotero, I guessed that the problem might be that it was still looking for the Storage folder in the old Apple ID. I found that, brought it over to the new ID, and now can access all my attached PDFs. When I try to attach a new PDF to an entry, however, nothing happens. I am guessing that Zotero is able to find existing PDFs in the Storage folder, which is why I can see them, but when it uploads a new PDF, it tries to store them to a location generated/remembered from the old Apple ID, which is invisible/inaccessible from the new one. Does that make sense?

Any advise on how to remedy this would be hugely appreciated.

Thank you.
  • (You mean macOS user account in this case, not Apple ID.)
    Unix error 13 during operation makeDir on file /Users/[new account]/Zotero/storage/LPTQMJEK (Permission denied)"
    You need to fix the permissions in the data directory you copied so that your current user account has read and write privileges to all files within the directory. You can do that in Finder via the Get Info window.
  • I think I actually changed both. I created a new Apple ID with a new email address. I also created a new user account. I am looking at the info for the folders. The Zotero folder that contains the Storage folder says that I (my new Apple ID) has Read & Write privileges; under sharing & permissions it says: "You can read and write". The Storage folder where all the pdfs are says "Fetching..." under the name column and also Read & Write privileges; under sharing and permissions it says: "You have custom access."
  • This is entirely about the user account, though, not the Apple ID.

    This is really just a macOS question, not a Zotero question, but you should be able to do a Get Info for the data directory, click the lock icon, make sure it's set to Read & Write for your user account, and then choose "Apply to enclosed folders…" from the gear menu.
  • I did that. It didn't solve the problem. I've paid for unlimited cloud storage space on Zotero, so all my PDFs are there. If I uninstall and then reinstall the Zotero app on my computer, will all those pdfs be synced to the computer? I want to have the files in both places: in the computer and on the web/cloud.
  • Reinstalled Zotero. It seems to be downloading all the corresponding files from the web to sync. Also able to upload and attach files. Only remaining issue is that I don't seem to be able to "rename file from parent meta data" (control mouse click on the mac) a Zotero feature I really love. Thanks!
  • OK, glad it's working, but just to note, deleting all your local data was certainly not necessary or recommended. This was just a permissions problem from copying a folder from another OS account, and even if the Finder method didn't work for some reason we could've given you a trivial fix.
    Only remaining issue is that I don't seem to be able to "rename file from parent meta data" (control mouse click on the mac) a Zotero feature I really love.
    Not sure what you mean there. That feature hasn't gone anywhere.
  • I don’t know how trivial it would have been. I did a search for how to fix things when the system can’t locate the proper owner(s) for a folder and displays “fetching...”. They were all deep under-the-hood solutions that I wasn’t going to attempt.
    Re: the rename feature, I put the cursor over attached pdf, click while pressing the control key and get a menu that includes “Rename File from Parent Metadata.” I select that, but the name of the file doesn’t change. It used to...
  • Can you provide a Debug ID for the rename not working?
  • Sure, it is: D1606852920. Thanks!
  • (2)(+0000012): Attachment file '/Users/[…]/Zotero/storage/MZVMZF9F/[…].pdf' not found

    (2)(+0000000): Attachment file not found in renameAttachmentFile()
    It looks like you're trying to rename a file that doesn't exist in your storage folder.
  • Ok. That makes sense. When I try to open the attached file, I get this message.

    The attached file could not be found at the following location:
    /Users/[MYAPPLEUSERID]/Zotero/storage/GDM26ALE/Carol Gluck Japan's Modern Myths.pdf
    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

    Before I reinstalled Zotero (see above), I created a backup of associated folders in a separate location. Comparing the two "storage" folders, I see that the names for the newly installed "storage" subfolders largely correspond to the earlier ones. I just looked at /storage/GDM26ALE/ in my backup storage folder and it indeed contained "Carol Gluck Japan's Modern Myths.pdf". As a test, I moved that to the newly created /Users/[MYAPPLEUSERID]/Zotero/storage/GDM26ALE/ folder. I was able to open the file and also the use the "rename" function. I could compare the two "storage" folders and perform the same operation manually for all subfolders containing stored .pdf files, not touching any other subfolders in "storage." This seems possible and a solution, but are there risks/undersides I'm not aware of?
  • You can, though again, it would also be easy to fix the permissions problem in the old folder — we can give you a command to run in Terminal to do that. There's nothing magical about it — it's just a folder, and something still has permissions for your old account.
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