solved: How can i restore my local library after accidantal sync with empty online library

edited March 1, 2022
I have discovered an old legacy account and wanted to sync my local library of a newer account to also be online.
but when I changed the local sync profile to the new one, I apparently misunderstood the warning text believing the old (online) account library would be deleted. instead, it deleted my entire local library. After the process took suspiciously long I panicked and killed the Zotero process to find that all my local files were gone. No squlite.bak anywhere, the zotero.squlite 1 MB, empty. the storage just contains some recent pdfs and .zotero-ft-cache of a couple of kb, no .bak s here either.
I looked in the trash - nothing. No "previous versions".
i don't have a backup and am panicking right now.

is there any other place to look for the deleted files?

  • When you switch accounts, Zotero warns you that it will need to delete all local data for the current account, requires you to check a checkbox saying "Remove all data for “[current account]” from this computer", and says to make sure you either have uploaded any data to the current account before continuing or have a backup of your Zotero data directory.

    Assuming one of those is the case, you can restore by either switching back to the previous account or restoring from the backup.

    If not, I'm afraid there's nothing to be done.
  • actually, i was able to restore the .sqlite file with disk introspection on windows 10
    with the software "diskinternals uneraser" (40€)
    i scanned the whole disk for ".sqlite" file signatures and it actually found and restored a couple of .sqlite files, one having an appropriate size.
    with this file, it was possible to simply do what has been described elsewhere: rename and use it as "zotero.sqlite"

    Lost all the locally stored pdfs but its not the end of the world
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