Importing Zotero RIS file to new computer

This discussion was created from comments split from: Helping syncing old zotero account to new laptop.
  • Hi! My issue is broadly the same as this original post, but the mechanisms leading to the issue are different. Wasn't sure if I should post here or start a new thread. In any case, my ZoteroRIS file from my old computer is on my new computer, but in the wrong place. Things got really confusing when I did the switch b/c of all the issues w/ my computer but I have been uploading new PDF files to Zotero since the switch. Now, I want to confirm that I can simply add the ZoteroRIS file (with all the old PDFs) to my current Zotero program file without encountering any issues. Thanks much for your advice!
  • (Always better to start a new thread unless you're posting about the exact same issue, which you're not by definition in this case, since it's about your own files.)

    A RIS file isn't a backup and shouldn't be used as such. It's also not something you put in a particular place — that's what you do with an actual backup of your data directory.

    Do not, under any circumstances, import the RIS file. You'll end up with duplicates of your entire library.

    If you were syncing before and all your data is online, you don't need to do anything other than sync on the new computer.

    If you have a complete backup of the Zotero data directory from your old computer, you could skip the large sync by just putting that into the right place, as if you were restoring from a backup, but syncing will also work as long as all your data and files were synced before.
  • Hi there - Thanks for the response! Zotero on my new laptop says it is synced w/ my account online but I am still unable to open pdfs by clicking from Zotero. I was definitely syncing before (I was writing my thesis last year and made sure to set up the sync properly - I hope!). I'll try the second option when I get my backup harddrive and read through the documentation you shared. Very odd that the sync option isn't working ...
  • So, I've read through the documentation and understand what the steps are for restoring from a backup. However, I have since uploaded pdfs to the Zotero I am working from (the one that doesn't have all the pdfs from when I had the computer sent off for repairs in October/November). Is there a way to keep the current pdfs as well as upload the old pdfs?

    Looking at the Files Not Syncing documentation, I'm wondering if this applies since I am not using 2 computers? I just had one computer that needed to be backed up and sent for repairs.
  • edited 28 days ago
    If you've uploaded all the data and files in your current installation, and can access those online, then it would be sufficient to rename (e.g., to "Zotero-Old") the new data directory and restore the backup — again, backup, not export — of the old data directory in its place. You would then see the old data when you restarted Zotero, and when you synced Zotero would simply pull down all the data and files you've added more recently, as if you were returning to another computer that hadn't synced in a while.
  • Problem solved! Thank you, dstillman for the clear and prompt responses. I appreciate you (so do my co-authors!).
  • OK, great. Once you're sure you have all your data and files, you can obviously delete the Zotero-Old directory.
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