File Recovery?

On the zotero app, I went to file synching and clicked "create account" and then once I created my account, zotero restarted with all of my files gone.

Attempting to transfer zotero files to a new computer, I logged into my zotero account on both the old and new computers. The new computer only loaded some old files I didn't realize I had saved from years ago, but the old computer did not load those old files and only showed the original files I was trying to transfer. On the website under my web library, only the old files were shown, not the files I was attempting to transfer. Not wanting to lose the important files by trying to sync with the old files, I just clicked "create account" on the old computer to ensure that they would be saved into a new account. It warned that any files associated with the account I was currently signed into would be lost, but the important files I was attempting to transfer hadn't ever uploaded, so I assumed they would not be erased. When zotero reloaded after signing in with my brand new account that I made through the app where the files were, all the files were gone. Any help would be appreciated.
  • On the zotero app, I went to file synching and clicked "create account" and then once I created my account, zotero restarted with all of my files gone.
    No, this is not what happened.

    A local Zotero database can only be associated with a single account. If you've previously synced the app with one account and then you try to set up syncing with a second account, Zotero very clearly warns that it will delete all local data. If you say yes, it will do so. The warning tells you to make sure you've uploaded any data before continuing:

    "Before continuing, make sure all data and files you wish to keep have been synced with the “_______” account or you have a backup of your Zotero data directory."
    It warned that any files associated with the account I was currently signed into would be lost, but the important files I was attempting to transfer hadn't ever uploaded
    It warned you about local data. It has nothing to do with what account you're logged into on the website or what has been uploaded.

    Switching accounts won't affect any data that's synced, so if the previous account was fully in sync, you can simply switch back to the previous account. Otherwise, you'd need to restore from a backup of your Zotero data directory.

  • Yes, that is what happened. The warning message was not in regards to local data, it only mentioned account data. It specifically said "if you continue, all libraries associated with the "emdunn2" account will be removed from this computer." As I explained, despite being logged into emdunn2, the app had not synched because the files on the zotero app of that computer were never uploaded to my emdunn2 account, hence why they are lost.
  • Additionally, I did try going to C:\Users\\Zotero to locate the data directory, but it was all wiped from the computer when I made the new account. I do not see it in my trash bin either.
  • The warning message was not in regards to local data, it only mentioned account data. It specifically said "if you continue, all libraries associated with the "emdunn2" account will be removed from this computer."
    You seem to be misreading the message here. What you're saying is a contradiction. This is, as it says, about data on your computer — i.e., local data. It's not about data in your online library, and it doesn't say that it is. It's telling you that 1) you previously synced the local database with an account (whether or not it's up to date) and 2) therefore, if you continue, your local database will be deleted, because otherwise it would have to mix up data between two different accounts. You then gave it permission to delete all your local data, and that's what it did.
    As I explained, despite being logged into emdunn2, the app had not synched because the files on the zotero app of that computer were never uploaded to my emdunn2 account, hence why they are lost.
    If you wanted to continue using the data you had locally in Zotero, all you had to do was sync. Zotero only syncs explicit deletions you made, so it wouldn't have deleted your local data just because that data hadn't yet been synced, just as syncing a brand new computer wouldn't wipe out your existing online library. But if you switch accounts and tell it to delete your local data, that's what it will do.

    Your only option would be to restore from a backup of your Zotero data directory.
  • edited 12 days ago
    but it was all wiped from the computer when I made the new account.
    Just to be very clear here, it did not wipe data from your computer when you made a new account — that's what I'm saying didn't happen, because that doesn't happen. Making a new account has absolutely no effect on your local computer. It deleted data when you tried to switch the account that Zotero was syncing with, read the warning that it was going to delete your local data, checked the "Remove all data for “______” from this computer" checkbox, and clicked "Switch Accounts".

    Obviously we don't want this to happen to anyone, but there's really only so much we can do to convey what happens here, and the message is pretty explicit about what it's going to do. The message specifically says to make sure you've synced or have a backup of your data directory. Do you?
  • The data directory folder does not have a storage folder any longer. Would the files be elsewhere?
  • No, as the message says, it deletes all data — the entire data directory.

    You need to restore from a backup of your data directory, which the message says to make sure you have before continuing.
  • When the warning message came up, I clicked continue but I’m extremely confident that I didn’t check the box to “remove all data for ...” but there is no folder for storage under the zotero folder on my computer any more... any ideas of where it would be?
  • I’m extremely confident that I didn’t check the box to “remove all data for ...”
    You did. You can't click through the dialog without checking that. The "Switch Accounts" button is disabled until you check that box.
    there is no folder for storage under the zotero folder on my computer any more... any ideas of where it would be?
    Again, all your local data was deleted. You can stop looking for it. You have a new, empty data directory. I'm not sure how to make this clearer.

    To restore your library, you would need to restore from a backup that you made before you told Zotero to delete your data. The warning told you to make sure you have a backup, so hopefully you do — if so, we can help you restore your data.

    If you don't have a backup, I'm afraid your data is gone, and there's nothing we can do to help you. You can set up Zotero with the previous account and sync to pull down whatever data you have in the online library, but that's it.
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