How I deleted all my local Evernote notes and recovered them

I am not the first nor the last idiot to delete all my local Evernote notes. Given that they were in a local notebook, you can imagine how important they were to me. Commence panic.

Events leading up to the catastrophe

1. I updated Yosemite.

2. Evernote starts acting up and won’t let open.

3. I go to the app store to download Evernote only to find that I can only “Install” it. Hit install.

4. Find all local files missing. Have a heart attack.

How to Recover your Local Evernote notes

1. Turn on hidden files.

Hit Command + Spacebar to bring up spotlight and search for Terminal

After opening terminal, it should look like this:

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 9.54.02 PM

Close all of your finder windows

Enter this line in Terminal and hit enter

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

Nothing will happen. Open Finder again and you will see grayed out files. Those are the hidden ones.

2. Restore notes from Time Machine

Go to Macintosh HD/Users/yourUsername/Library/CoreData

It should have be empty.

Open up Time Machine and go back to an hour ago when you still had the com.evernote.Evernote folder. If you don’t have Time Machine enabled, then you’re out of luck. Sorry. Should look something like this.

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 9.58.47 PM

The green files there are your Evernotes.

Hit restore and you will find them in Finder.

3. Delete Evernote from Applications

4. Download Evernote from the website if you had installed Evernote from the App Store

5. Install Evernote again and find your files

Why did it happen?

Installing Evernote from the App Store replaced my old version of Evernote with a clean one which synced with the server. Unfortunately, my local notebooks were not synced with the server, so they were lost.

Why does this solution work?

Evernote Installed from the App Store and Evernote downloaded from the web and installed store their notes in two different places.

Evernote from the App Store puts their notes in the folder:

Macintosh_HD/Users/yourUsername/Library/Containers/
com.evernote.Evernote/Data/Library/CoreData/
com.everNote.Evernote/longAlphanumericString/ENNote/
_records/

Evernote downloaded from their website puts their notes in the folder:

Macintosh_HD/Users/yourUsername/Library/CoreData/
com.evernote.Evernote/longAlphanumericString/ENNote/
_records/

This makes sense because Apple wants all the files for the apps in the App Store to be neatly organized in one container. Normally, when you install a program, it will add file in lots of different places.

Installing Evernote from the App Store deleted the data from the folder where Evernote from the website would typically store it’s files.

You just have to put it back by restoring from Time Machine and getting the right Evernote (the one from the website) to read the files from the right place.

What attempts did not work?

Replace the CoreData folder in the container with the restored one

You would think that simply moving the files from the CoreData folder into the container that App Store Evernote uses would be sufficient, but in fact that Evernote will create a new folder to store it’s notes because the longAlphanumericString is not the same as the one it was expecting.

The notes simply will not open in Evernote or worse tell you that it has an unspecified owner and for you to log out.

Copying the .enspot files directly over also did not work

I will be keeping my notes synced from now on

What use is privacy when you lose your data?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s