Turning off file syncing doesn't get rid of local files

I have limited storage with my university-based account (500 MB) and my Zotero library is over 300 MB.

This is starting to be a problem. I synced my library to my at-school account, and now my quota is close to being full.

I thought the solution to this would be to turn off file syncing, and then reset my library from the server.

This did not work. It deleted the attached file from my Zotero library - it doesn't think the files are there - but the files are still there, taking up 300 MB. They just aren't linked to the library anymore!

I don't know enough/anything about the Zotero file structure. It seems to me that the files should have been deleted and not just de-linked when I did the reset. So I wonder if this is a bug/poor design choice.

In addition, however, I would love suggestions as to how to get these files out. I guess...uninstall zotero, delete the whole directory, reinstall and resync?
  • I'm not sure what your "at school account" is? Is that a Zotero account with extra storage because of an institutional subscription? Or something else?

    Then - restore from server (as it says in the preference tab) is meant to be used when you either know exactly what you're doing or are asked to do so by a dev, so please don't use that in the future for general purposes. I don't think anything should have happened on reset, but it depends on your setup (see first question).

    How do you know the files are deleted from your Zotero library - i.e. what makes you think Zotero doesn't think the files are there?

    This shouldn't be hard to achieve once I understand what your set-up is and what's actually going on.
  • edited January 13, 2014
    Thanks for responding adamsmith,

    I have Zotero (firefox, latest version) installed on my laptop. I use sync.

    I also have Zotero installed on another computer at my university (ff, latest version of both). However, the university "computer" is actually vague terminal setup where my app settings, personal files are all stored in a personal account, which is loaded from the server whenever I log into any computer on campus.

    This personal account has a quota of 500 MB. Zotero is taking up 330 MB of this quota, mostly (I imagine) in attached files.

    The important thing is, I'd like to have my Zotero library on this "computer" but I don't want the attached files. I read through the documentation and based on my reading, I figured what I needed to do was "unattach" the files, by syncing without trying to get them.

    I guess you're right that I was engaged in off-label use when I reset from server. The funny thing is, I was trying to avoid going to the forums, by depending on a close reading of the documentation instead! In my defence, the documentation pages seemed less "don't do this unless told to" than the reset window in Sync/Preferences.

    As for what I actually did; everything was working fine, I unchecked "sync attachment files for MyLibrary" under Preferences/Sync, then I selected Restore from Zotero Server under Sync/Reset, and then I pressed the reset button.

    I assume if I turned "sync attachment files" and then Restored from Server, this might prevent any damage to my library?
  • The easiest thing to do is to follow option 2) in Dan's post here:
    The funny thing is, I was trying to avoid going to the forums
    may I ask why? Are we that intimidating ;)? (the more serious background of that question is that this is exactly the type of thing we do want people to ask about — and most certainly feel welcome to ask about — here)
  • Nah. It's just, when the answer to a question feels like it might be "the answer is over here in the documentation," I feel like checking there first is the perspicacious, efficient, upstanding thing to do. Just a matter of balancing "this is hard; someone can probably just tell me how to do this" and "this is easy; I probably don't need to take up anyone's time telling me how to do this."

    Thanks for your suggested solution.
  • Part of this has to do with a sense that I learned in a pre-open source era that my father labelled "RTFM" (the M stands for manual and the R for read...). It's still present there in e.g. http://lmgtfy.com/

    There's a sense that you shouldn't outsource work that you can easily do yourself, but also that software will be "well-documented" which means that if it's doing something weird, either you can't read, or it's broken in some way...but I think that's less true than it was before message boards, and big open-source communities.
  • PS: this solution worked excellently. So thanks for that.
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