moving Zotero between computers

I'm a new and only minimally tech-savvy user of Zotero. Yesterday, my office computer was replaced. In preparation, I had found the Zotero folder in Profiles and copied it to a location on our network. After the new computer was up and running, I downloaded Zotero and copied the Zotero folder back from the network to the new hard drive (same location as before -- the default pathway). However, Zotero isn't pulling up any of the saved data from my Library.

I can still access all my old data by overriding the default path in preferences and substituting the location of the folder I put on the network. But, I'd really rather keep my Library on this new laptop so I have the option of working with it when I'm away from the office.

Any suggestions what I should try?

BTW, many thanks to CHNM for all the great tools you provide, including this one. I distributed my first Zotero report at an exhibition development team meeting recently and there was were collective "ooohs" and "aaahs" worthy of a fireworks display.
  • Leslie, I see nobody answers your question, and, let me tell you, no one will. The same way they haven´t asnwered many other related questions regarding issues of tranferring your zotero folder from one computer to another, or from your computer to your data stick, or how to successfully back up ·and successfully restore· your zotero database. If you search the forums you will find that many such questions have been asked and that they have been systematically ignored. Apparently there is not a safe way of backing up your zotero database, so the chances that you loose hours and hours of work and not be able to restore them exists. It´s up to you to risk the chance. This they don´t tell you. Despite declarations of zotero being forever free, one cannot help thinking if maybe the back up capability will be launched one day but you´ll have to pay for it.
  • edited June 6, 2007
    OK, well, conspiracy theories aside, there's not really any great secret here—the Zotero data directory is just a folder on your hard drive, stored by default within your Firefox profile folder, and you can do with it whatever you want. We've said numerous times that the best way to synch your database between computers is just to copy the data directory. In recent versions of Zotero you can also set the data directory to a folder on a USB drive that you transport between computers. However you do it, you just have to be sure you're using the same version of Zotero on all computers (or a later one if you then upgrade all your other computers to the same version). Many people are using this method today. Others use Portable Firefox. Others just use import/export, though we don't really recommend that for syncing an entire library between computers.
    Frequently Asked Questions

    Zotero 1.5 will provide backup and sync capabilities via FTP and (we hope) WebDAV, so you will be able to use any authenticated storage space provided by your university, web host, ISP, etc., for free.

    Leslie, are you sure you put the folder back in the correct place? The data directory (with the zotero.sqlite file and the storage subdirectory) needs to be named 'zotero' and placed within your Firefox profile directory. You also should make sure your Zotero preferences are set to use the default data directory rather than an alternative directory.

    historia69, you seem to be new to the forums. Perhaps you'd care to ask a question or make a feature suggestion rather than just spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt?
  • "Leslie, are you sure you put the folder back in the correct place?"
    Well, I think so. I double- and triple-checked it before, as well as repeating the procedure and switching back and forth between the default path and a custom path several times. However, after deleting the old zotero folder this morning and then recopying it to (I think) the very same place and switching back to the default path, I seem to be up and running with no problems. Perhaps I had just been looking at it too long the other day and kept replicating the same mistake without being able to see it.

    In any case, the problem is fixed now. Thanks for affirming that what I was trying _should_ work; that gave me the confidence to go back and try it again with a fresh set of eyes.
  • Could someone post detailed instructions on what I should do daily to use Zotero from my flashdrive? I mostly understand the suggestions, but then I get lost at a certain point. I use it on a Mac, but a public one so I can't save anything to it. I've posted elsewhere and have gotten some useful info, but a step-by-step direction sheet would save me the frustration I experience often when the export at night/import the following morning fails to save all of my entries.

    I think Zotero is incredibly helpful when it works--I recommend it widely, and even demonstrated it to a group of instructors at a technology session I presented at recently--but most people I recommend it to are also in the situation of using a shared computer, or even just moving among school, office, and home computers. It would be great to be able to pass along the information about how to effectively use one Zotero library in all of these locations.
  • The easiest way is to just install and use portable firefox from the USB drive. You won't need to do anything special to install or use Zotero.
  • I recommend using folder share to keep the zotero folder synced across computers. It works great and is free.
  • The easiest way is to just install and use portable firefox from the USB drive.
    But portable FF is Windows only, right?

    I'd not tried it, but was thinking the more general way to do this is just specify the USB drive as the save directory for Zotero?

    Am also intrigued about trying a network drive. Has anybody actually tried this?
  • But portable FF is Windows only, right?
    You can get a portable version for OS X. There was even an edition which included both OS X and win32 binaries & shared as much of the profile as possible. I don't know if this edition is still being maintained...

    You can also put Linux binaries on a stick.
    I'd not tried it, but was thinking the more general way to do this is just specify the USB drive as the save directory for Zotero?
    This works if you are allowed to install Firefox+Zotero on all machines that you use & if your usb drive is always mounted to the same drive letter.
    Am also intrigued about trying a network drive. Has anybody actually tried this?
    I have. Perfectly usable on the same 100
    Mbps or better LAN with a medium sized database. I don't know if I'd suggest it for people who have slower access at home & want to share with work/school.
  • I second the use of Foldershare.
    I have my zotero folder and my firefox profile synced between two computers. My tip to make it work is make sure that zotero points to the same path for the zotero storage folder (on my setup, c:\zotero).
  • Is Shane.Lindsay saying that Zotero v 1.5 folder may be relocated outside of FF Profile folder?? I'd like to be able to sync my FF profile, if possible with Live Sync (used to be FolderShare). Right now I'm only syncing Zotero Storage folder. My understanding of Live Sync is that if a child folder is being sunc, the parent can't be sunc--have to move the child out. Please point me to documentation on what is permissable regarding location of Zotero folder, Storage folder etc. in v 1.5-

    Thanks in advance.
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