Zotero 5.0 doesn't show old data

This discussion was created from comments split from: Now available: Zotero 5.0.
  • shoesain

    Thank you for the upgrade, and congratulations!

    I have installed the new Zotero 5.0. It starts as a fresh Zotero Standalone, the old library is no longer there. How do I copy all my data (websites, books, pdfs etc) from Zotero for Firefox library into the new Zotero Standalone?

    Appreciate the guide, thank you so much.
  • I guess you will to put in the right path where you strored your citations in Zotero 4, or 7 and you have to give Zotero the credentials for your account.

    It seems Zotero doesn't find the librarys path.
  • @shoesain: It should definitely find your existing data automatically, but if that didn't happen for some reason, you can point it to the previous directory within your Firefox profile directory (the 'zotero' directory there with zotero.sqlite and 'storage' within it) from the Advanced → Files and Folders pane of the Zotero preferences.
  • Thanks heaps! I have gotten back my Zotero library, and now in Zotero Standalone.

    I followed the steps you pointed out and found out that Zotero Standalone I just installed created a new source file, so I located the old folder and made necessary changes. Zotero restarted and I have my library back.


  • Hmm, that shouldn't happen, though — 5.0 does migrate your data directory to "Zotero" in your home directory if you had it in the old profile location, but that should work automatically. Did you get an error message at some point?
  • No error message whatsoever, but anyhow, I am glad that it has been resolved.

    Thanks again.
  • Were you using a custom data directory previously? If not, what's the current location of your data directory? (You can x out any identifying information.)
  • I am having the same blank library after installing zotero 5.0 and the firefox connector. I can see my library when I log in, but not when I use the standalone. I'm really confused about how to use zotero now. please help
  • @RobinJarrell: What does it say for your data directory in the Advanced → Files and Folders pane of the Zotero preferences? (Again, you can x out any identifying information.)
  • I don't know where to find the data directory.
  • See my message above.
  • Default (C:\users\owner\zotero
  • OK, and were you using Zotero for Firefox or Zotero Standalone before?

    If the former, look in your Firefox profile directory. If the latter, look in your Zotero profile directory. Do you see a 'zotero' directory with zotero.sqlite and a 'storage' folder containing various other folders?
  • I was using Zotero for Firebox. In the Firefox profile directory, I see a folder called Zotero, when I click on it, I see:
  • edited August 5, 2017
    OK, so in the Advanced → Files and Folders pane of the Zotero preferences, set the data directory location to Custom and then choose that 'zotero' directory in the Firefox profile. Zotero will close. With Zotero closed, delete C:\Users\:username:\Zotero (but don't empty the recycle bin yet, just to be sure). When you start up Zotero again, it should automatically migrate your Zotero data from the Firefox profile directory to C:\Users\:username:\Zotero. If you get an error at any point, take a screenshot or write down exactly what it says.
  • I really appreciate all this support you are giving me. I'll follow up on this. (Late for a meeting.) I'll get back to you and thanks!
  • Actually, one question before you do the above — is the empty library totally blank, or is there a Zotero Quick Start Guide in there? If the latter, what's its Date Added in the right-hand pane?
  • Yes, there is. Date added is 4/10/2012
  • Ah, OK. So what happened here (and maybe to @shoesain too) is that you previously — in 2012 — installed Zotero Standalone, but when it asked whether you wanted to share your existing Zotero for Firefox data directory, you said No, rather than the default Yes. (Or you could've had Zotero Standalone installed first and said no when Zotero for Firefox subsequently asked.) That left you with two data directories. You then went back to Zotero for Firefox and built your library there. When you installed Zotero 5.0, it noticed that you already had a Zotero Standalone data directory and migrated that to the new default location at C:\Users\:username\Zotero, leaving your Zotero for Firefox data in place in the Firefox profile directory.

    We'll have to figure out what to do about this — we may need to look for both directories and prompt for which one to use for 5.0 — but you can go ahead and point Zotero back to 'zotero' in the Firefox profile, and it should then migrate that directory to C:\Users\:username\Zotero. After that, you should be all set.
  • Ok, I followed your example above: [Files and Folders pane of the Zotero preferences, set the data directory location to Custom and then choose that 'zotero' directory in the Firefox profile. Zotero will close.]

    I did that and Zotero closed.

    But where do I go to delete C:\Users\:username:\Zotero?
  • In the Windows file manager
  • So I just delete the entire Zotero (as opposed to the Zotero Standalone) folder?
  • I'm not sure what Zotero Standalone folder you're referring to. C:\Users\:username:\Zotero should be a folder of files from either a few days ago or 2012, with nothing in the 'storage' folder — it's the empty data directory that you created in 2012 that was migrated from the Zotero profile directory. If you delete that, it will allow Zotero to migrate the 'zotero' directory from the Firefox profile folder to that location.
  • What if I just uninstalled BOTH Firefox Zotero and Standalone Zotero and reinstalled Zotero 5.0 Standalone. My data files are all on the Zotero.org server, right? That's why I can see my library when I log in. Would that work?
  • There's no need to uninstall anything. Just make sure you have Zotero 5.0 and the Zotero Connector for Firefox.
  • I'm saying that I can't find the file I need to delete to make Zotero migrate to the Standalone library. Is there some other solution so I can see my library?
  • If I uninstall/reinstall will I lose my library?
  • Don't worry about the migration part for now. To start, just point Zotero to the 'zotero' directory in your Firefox profile from the Advanced → Files and Folders pane of the Zotero preferences.
  • Can you explain this step by step. I"m really not understanding you and you are being so kind and patient. What does "point" mean? Am I doing this in Firefox or in Zotero?
  • It's no longer possible to view your local data in Firefox, so this is all in Zotero.

    Right now in Zotero you still have a blank library with just the Zotero Quick Start Guide, right?

    So go to Edit -> Preferences, click Advanced, click Files and Folders. Under Data Directory Location, click "Choose…". Navigate to the 'zotero' directory within your Firefox profile directory and select that folder. Zotero will close down. Restart it and you should see the data you had previously in Zotero for Firefox.

    Let's get that far to start.
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