Error "The Zotero database cannot be opened"

Hello Zotero community,

I am having some trouble trying to reinstall Zotero after having updated my hard drive and rebooted my system. I have transferred some of my old files to the new hard drive, but in an error of judgement I didn't transfer my Zotero database, or I didn't transfer some key files it needs to access the database.

Now, after having downloaded Zotero again and installed it on my computer, I can't seem to open the program after the installation. When I try to open the program, I receive the following error message:

The Zotero database cannot be opened. Make sure you have read and write permissions for all files in the Zotero data directory and that security software isn’t preventing Zotero from accessing that directory.

Data Directory: C:\Users\Mark's Computer\Zotero

There is a possibility that some of my old Zotero files survived the transfer to my new hard drive and this is interfering with the program's ability to open a new database, but I have no idea where those old files might be.

I don't really care about restoring my old files at all. What is far more important for me is to have the software operational, even if I have to begin from scratch. I have tried uninstalling Zotero and re-installing several times and I have even tried creating different Zotero accounts with different email addresses but I am always met with the same error.

Please help!

  • I have no idea where those old files might be
    It's telling you right there in the error message where the data directory is.

    The message pretty much means what it says — there's likely a permissions problem with the file due to transferring it from another computer. You need to make sure your current user account has read and write privileges to the entire Zotero data directory. That's a trivial fix, but that's a general Windows issue, so you'll have to look elsewhere for specifics.

    You can certainly just delete the entire data directory if you start from scratch, but there's absolutely no reason to do that. Zotero just needs to be able to actually read its database.

    This has nothing to do with a Zotero account, and you should delete your new account to avoid future confusion.
Sign In or Register to comment.