Tinderbox Forum

Deleting and recovering notes and containers

I know this issue has been raised before but without any obvious follow-up, and I know it has been expressed as not a common thing, but I’ve found that I have unwittingly deleted notes and containers and was wondering if there’s a way to either avoid this with a confirmation dialog, or a trash bin that would enable me to see what had been deleted and recover it, a la DEVONthink etc.

Fortunately I had made a note and link elsewhere that I had create said container and notes, so I knew I wasn’t going mad when I couldn’t find them, and was able to recover the notes by restoring an earlier version of the TBX file on Dropbox. But I do feel this probably happens more than I’d like, and more than I could recall.

Perhaps there is a feature I’m not aware of that lets you be prompted before deletion, or a way of digging into the guts of a file to see removed items? If not, could I request a way to avoid this problem from happening?

Many thanks, as ever.

Over 10 years ago, early version pre-v5, did have some warnings though is is worth noting at the time there weren’t today’s automatic back-ups, versioning, Time Machine, etc.

If you delete something, undo should catch that if you use it straightway. Next, going back in time is File menu → Revert menu. Beyond that, if you use them are Time Machine or other back-ups.

My recollection of “did you mean to delete?” warnings is they soon get disabled (if the user can) because most of the time they are an annoyance and the above mechanisms make recovery fairly trivial.

Of course it’s hard to predict wheat you will intentionally but mistakenly delete. But, if you want a warning I’d email Support and request such a feature, explaining your use case.

HTH :slight_smile:

Thanks, Mark, good point on the Revert, that does definitely speed up the restoring an earlier version. For me the worrying part was deleting a container without realising it until several days later, but I guess that’s hard to legislate for.

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Oh man I did it. Somehow my backups are gone and all I’m left with are HTML files from the project.

@mwra Is there any way to convert them or add them to tinderbox so I can continue as normal?

I have checked timemachine and revealed the hidden Library under User but there is nothing in the application support.

Well, it rather depends how much of the source info was exported, but it’s hard to say without seeing the HTML. I’m just on a submission deadline, but could you either link to the HTML here, or if private send me a forum PM with either a URL or upload a zip.

As you may guess there’s no magic ‘reverse’ button but this sounds like an interesting challenge. :slight_smile:

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This is what I got when exporting the project. It seems that it is only ExPhil->filosofene->Kant that contains html. It probably is a lost cause but I am uploading the zip for you to see when you have the time. No rush.

ExPhil.zip (1.7 KB)

Oh man I did it. Somehow my backups are gone and all I’m left with are HTML files from the project.

General advice: stop. Take a deep breath. In my experience with disk crashes, I have done the most damage by taking a rash step.

Second: Restart your machine. Not likely to help, but you never know.

Third: If you really have no backups of this project, do you have any backups at all? In any case, the first thing you should now do is backup the system right now, in its current state. Do not use Time Machine for this and do not re-use a backup disk; ideally, start with a new disk image or a fresh hard drive. You can get 4T drives from Amazon for less than $80. When you have disk trouble, you cannot have too many backups.

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Hm. Took a quick peek and zip is a set of empty folders. Not sure why. Feel free to try again with the zip. Fingers crossed.

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The folder called “Kant” contains a HTML file. That was actually the biggest map for that project.

I have gone through every step in Time Machine and there is no backup.

ATM I cherry-pick important files like Devonthink backups, Bookends, etc on to a functioning external drive before doing a clean install of Catalina.

The html file is greyed out so I can’t upload it. I just know its there because I turned on invisible files.

ExPhil.zip (28.4 KB)

I think this works.

Here is the rtf export file. ExPhil.rtf.zip (7.7 KB)

OK, tried the new HTML export but all HTML files are not valid HTML and contain only the string "Unable to find this template.

There is not much in the RTF (mostly just nested notes with titles and no text). I’ll try and see what I can do.

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Thanks, @mwra - really appreciate your help:)

That does sound painful, Kenneth @Feuizl and I hope you are able to recover your work.

To me a solution to these issues (and mine) would be to duplicate the file you’re working on each day and add ‘as of (date)’ at the end of the title. Of course time machine and revert to does something similar, but it’s clearly not foolproof, so unless the file size is an issue, this manual (could easily be automated, of course) process gives one piece of mind that you’re not in danger of writing over existing work, or at least not anything older than today’s date.

As @eastgate mark points out, storage is cheap. And belt and braces is always a good policy.
By adding a date to the file name you might have that extra confidence that the system is visibly at work.

(I do realise, however, that inbound links, a la Hook etc, will be broken by this. An alternative might be to duplicate the existing file, save it with the date, but then work off the original file, sans date. You at least have tangible proof that you have that backup of the previous day’s work.)

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Finally submitted paper. Had a quick go at your data. I think some notes may be text of others, but i think nesting is broadly right. It’s all the info that was in the RTF.
ExPhil.tbx (206.6 KB)

To do this, I:

  • Removed all the tab indents in the RTF, copied the RTF content
  • Make a new TBX
  • Paste-and-match-style paste to a new note called ‘input’
  • Explode. Split on Paragraphs, use first paragraph as the title
  • Post explode, promoted all notes to root and deleted ‘exploded notes’ container.
  • Rebuild nesting using RTF as guide.
  • Save TBX and upload!
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Wow, the efforts you’ve put in @mwra ! And congrats on finalising your paper:)

It is simply unbelievable. I now have all my notes retrieved! I’m so thankful for your kind help.

edit: I still can’t believe how you figured that one out;)

Also thanks to @eastgate and @loosewire I will need to do some serious considerations about my backup routine when Im now moving over to Catalina.

Yay! Happy to help. :slight_smile:

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