Zotero 5 Standalone can't open an old Zotero database: "Incompatible Database Verstion"

edited January 23, 2019
Often over last 10y when I have changed jobs I have changed Zotero databases. Now I am wanting to access one of these previously used old Zotero database. My plan is to export the entire library or parts and then import into my current library.

I backed up current database, turned off sync in Zotero 5 standalone, and pointed to the old database. Zotero asked to restart, which I did. When restarting, it gave me a dialog box titled "Incompatible Database Verstion", stating that "The currently selected data directory is not compatible with Zotero Standalone, which can share a database only with Zotero for Firefox 2.1b3 or later. Upgrade to the latest version of Zotero for Firefox first or select a different data directory for use with Zotero Standalone." and offering me three terms to an alternative : "Quit", "Custom Data Directory", and "Use Default".

When I download Zotero- it won't install in Firefox Quantum 64.0.2 (FF says 'This extension could not be installed because it appears to be corrupt'). I think new FF just doesn't handle extensions the same way as older FF did (read on Zotero site).

What is the best way to access the old Zotero library. Should I find older versison of FireFox compatible with Zotero 4 or is there an easier way to get this access to older Zotero library?
  • Yeah, installing FIrefox 52ESR, then the old Zotero .xpi and then re-importing is probably the best way to go. Then move the database over to Zotero 5 and uninstall the old Firefox & Zotero versions.
  • edited January 23, 2019
    Yeah!! That worked great (so far I have only opened up old Zotero library successfully). One hint: when you install Firefox 52esr, go to FF options and decline automatic updates or else it will always upgrade to newest FF (not compatible with Zotero 4). I had to go through several install uninstall cycles to get Firefox 52esr to stick. Also, I had uninstalled my previously installed FF 64 version prior to beginning. Terrific, I now have access to the old Zotero libraries. BTW, Zotero 4 xpi file is available from Zotero download page. Thanks adamsmith
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