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Data loss and synchronization problems - and trust

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#1 annvwuelfing

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:17 PM

I have been a premium user of EverNote for over two years now and I recently opened my 7th support ticket dealing with some sort of data loss (two days, three useless emails from Support and still waiting). I have read many posts on this forum about the necessity for backup and I completely agree that it is important, especially for those of you striving to go completely paperless. I am not in that category. Instead I use EN as a repository and organizer of those little notes to self that are always floating around - some on bits of paper and other media and others just in my head. Getting them into EN is the first step toward remembering to deal with them. So I post to EN often and most of the time the matter is then forgotten until I sit down to plan and organize. My mind is freed of the necessity to remember it.

I'm happy to say that I have never had any need to use my EN backups. This is because they are there for outright catastrophes - a disk failure or a an upgrade that shreds the database. But I have had severe data losses many times. These come about because those notes I write sometimes disappear and I don't realize it for several weeks - in fact, I am sure there are some I have completely forgotten about whose loss will never be noticed. Or because a recently updated note never gets synched and eventually gets overlaid by an older version. Right now I have 5 notes in my local DB that will not upload at all. Restoring from a backup in these instances is useless because, although I may get back some lost data, I will lose other notes and updates made more recently.

On a wider scale, due to one of the problems I've experienced, I have been advised not to use EN on my laptop unless I can be sure EN is shut down on my desktop so if I want to make a note on the go I can't. In fact, I no longer run EN on my laptop at all so I have lost the advantage of sharing data in the cloud between my machines. And I have lost the cloud copy as a reliable backup - if my local data becomes corrupted, I am better off relying on my own backup than using the cloud copy which may or may not have all of my latest changes.

So I am thinking my best strategy is to turn off auto synchronization completely, maintain my master copy on my local machine and discontinue use of the cloud copy altogether.  I did briefly consider using the cloud copy as the master and working strictly on the web but the web interface for EN is the pits and the formatting of the notes is even worse so that is not a good option.  On the other hand, I love the local interface.

In fact, I don't see that I have any other choices - I have spent more time than I care to think about in the past two years recovering from data problems - large and small - and waiting for support emails from people who apparently work only at night. And I have never had a useful solution from any of these people - it is always "here's how to work around it". I still expect to have to deal with the nuisance stuff - clicking off and back on every note I update to make sure that the change actually took or retyping information because the paste function has lost its glue for a time or resetting the font for the 50th time. But at least I know it will still be there tomorrow. If I could find another product with a similar interface and solid import functionality, I would move on in a heartbeat. I love EN but I just can't trust it anymore!

#2 BurgersNFries

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:27 PM

Right now I have 5 notes in my local DB that will not upload at all. Restoring from a backup in these instances is useless because, although I may get back some lost data, I will lose other notes and updates made more recently.


Are you getting any message as to why the notes aren't sync'ing? Also, in the event you have non-sync'd notes & need/want to restore from a backup, you just export the non-sync'd notes in enex format & then import them after restoring from the backup. Any updates that were sync'd to the cloud after the backup you're restoring from will be sync'd down, after you restore & sync.

On a wider scale, due to one of the problems I've experienced, I have been advised not to use EN on my laptop unless I can be sure EN is shut down on my desktop


That doesn't make sense & there's no reason to do this. You DO need to make sure any changes/new notes that were added on one computer/device get sync'd to the cloud before switching to another computer/device AND you need to make sure you sync those changes down to the other computer/device before making any changes. IMO, it sounds like you're not always doing this & that's why you may be losing data. You should also check on any/all Windows computers with EN to see if you have any notebooks named "conflicting changes."
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#3 jefito

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:37 PM

Check the Activity Log for clues as to why the notes might not be sync'ing (Help / Activity Log). Run a manual sync, and note the log entries after the syn operation. If no clues, then file a support inquiry.
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#4 annvwuelfing

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:02 PM

I appreciate the advce but all of these suggestions have not worked for me. That is, things go along looking normal until they suddenly stop working properly. No one at EN has ever been able to come up with any explanations for why. As I mentioned, I have had 7 major breakdowns that I could not fix myself and, of course, I have opened tickets but in the end the only answer I ever get is "here's a work around". The Activiity Logs do not provide any clues for me and apprently not for the support staff either.

I am not getting any messages about synch failures. The synch runs and says it's finished but if I go to the server it's about a 50/50 chance anything has been updated. It is true that I could handle unsynched notes when restoring from a backup but my point is that I have to know they are unsynched which requires me to constantly monitor my data. The whole point of putting something in EN in the first place is to be able to put it there and forget about it. It's no good to me if I have to spend all my time checking if things are still where I put them.

As far as using the laptop is concerned, you are right - it doesn't make sense - but that is what I have to do. If I have EN running on both machines, it is only a matter of time until data is lost. That's the reality.

#5 dlu

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:38 PM

This sounds very unusual. Have you experienced this on multiple machines and setups?
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#6 annvwuelfing

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:48 PM

I have run it on two machines - one is a Windows Vista desktop and the other a Windows 7 laptop. I don't use the laptop anymore for updating for the reasons I mentioned. I would be very happy to send you all my ticket #s if you want the whole sad story. I don't mean to sound like I think I never caused any of the problems - I probably did cause some - but the pattern is that things will run fine for about 3 months then another problem crops up so it's hard to reconstruct any sort of pattern.

#7 David_Reid

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 03:10 PM

I have had similar issues. I have had notes completely disappear and I have also had data disappear from my notes. I can't say for sure that I didn't fat finger something to cause the data to be lost from a note but I am positive that I didn't delete the notes that "disappeared". If I had the should appear in the Trash notebook. I had moved to Evernote from another product in the hopes it would provide a product I could trust with my data. At this point, I too have trust issues with the product. My understanding is that if I buy the Premium product, I can have changes to notes archived so that I can restore previous versions. That might help if I have fat fingered something to cause data lose in a note, but what about the case where notes have completely disappeared? I can run backups but I use Evernote on multiple PCs and make changes from all of them. Backing up on each seems ridiculous and doing a restore, you have to figure out which backup to restore from and what you may potentially lose. Very frustrating. I will continue to use Evernote for now but I am watching carefully to see if I suffer any more data loss. In the mean time, I will spend some more time to look for something that might provide more security/stability as far as safe retention of data goes. I will submit a ticket in regards to my data loss and see what they have to say.

#8 Owyn

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 03:55 PM

The Note History that you are referring to is maintained for all users. Evernote snapshots the service about every 8 hours. Multiple changes between snapshots can be lost as far as Note History is concerned.

Restoring from Note History is only available to Premium users.

I am a very active user of Evernote and have not seen data loss as described without a SUE (Stupid User Error(me)).
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#9 BurgersNFries

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 04:13 PM

I am a very active user of Evernote and have not seen data loss as described without a SUE (Stupid User Error(me)).


Ditto.

FWIW, It seems most of the data loss complaints are from people using multiple computers/devices. (Especially when you're talking desktop clients.) Therefore, I tend to think it's b/c they may not fully understand how EN & sync'ing works, which is especially important when moving between a lot of computers/devices. I'm sure that will peeve some users off...but I have to say it's true. It's not that complicated...but you do have to fully understand how EN works or else yes, you will potentially lose data.

The most common exception to this is users claiming data loss when using mobile devices that don't fully sync or where they uninstall (with pending notes) & then reinstall. (And the pending notes are lost.) There does seem to be some potential for data loss there that is out of the user's control.

FWIW, I use two desktops (Windows), two netbooks (Windows), and iPhone, an iPad & a Kindle Fire. As long as I sync any changes made from one device/computer UP to the servers and then sync all changes down to the next device I move to before adding/changing notes, it's all good. The neat thing about EN is the ability to use it across ~14 OSs and a myriad of devices. But you do have to understand how it all works.
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#10 heather

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 04:24 PM

I've looked over Ann's cases, and the earlier ones from 2008/2009 stem from leaving Evernote open to the same note, and syncing on two machines at the same time (which should work, but there's situations where it isn't ideal) causing conflict notes and sync issues, which was corrected over the course of a few different cases with a workflow change on her part.

The current situation is a bit different - not SUE by any means. Ann's extremely patient and I'm glad she's working with our team to get her issue corrected.

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#11 BurgersNFries

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 04:30 PM

I've looked over Ann's cases, and the earlier ones from 2008/2009 stem from leaving Evernote open to the same note, and syncing on two machines at the same time (which should work, but there's situations where it isn't ideal) causing conflict notes and sync issues, which was corrected over the course of a few different cases with a workflow change on her part.

The current situation is a bit different - not SUE by any means. Ann's extremely patient and I'm glad she's working with our team to get her issue corrected.


Thanks for looking into this, Heather & clarifying. And thanks, Ann for being so patient & working with the EN team. I think you'll find them a helpful bunch of people.
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#12 gdmilner

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:37 PM

I just had 2 notes disappear, utterly. I am runing 4.5.3.6020 and am a Premium User. Here's what I did.

1. Imported 3 emails from Outlook.
2. Merged those 3 new notes into 1 note.
3. Went to merge the new (3-in-1) note into another existing note.

BAM! Both notes gone. Note History was useless because there were no notes left to get history on. I did search for the note(s) and they were gone -- nowhere in evernote.

Online chat support was not available. This was at 1:10 PM Central Time, 2:10 PM Eastern. Thanks, guys. :-(

I wound up stopping my auto-sync and getting the lost original not off the web (copy and paste).

I sure hope this is not a regular occurrence.

Scary stuff!

#13 Owyn

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:40 PM

@gdmilner
Check your Trash.
Original notes for merge get moved to Trash.
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#14 BurgersNFries

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:46 PM

Yup - what Owyn said.
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#15 gdmilner

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:57 PM

Yep. It was there. How'd it get there? Or is putting the old ones in trash a by-product of the Merge process?

Thanks!

... nevermind, Just re-read Owyn's response above and the answer is "Yes." Good fail-safe then. My confidence in EN is renewed! (yay!).

Thanks.

#16 heather

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:17 PM

Online chat support was not available. This was at 1:10 PM Central Time, 2:10 PM Eastern. Thanks, guys. :-(


Odd - chat hours are 9AM-5PM PT M-F, and people have been online all day today, even during that time. Maybe if they're all full it doesn't put you in the wait queue?

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#17 gdmilner

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:01 PM


Online chat support was not available. This was at 1:10 PM Central Time, 2:10 PM Eastern. Thanks, guys. :-(


Odd - chat hours are 9AM-5PM PT M-F, and people have been online all day today, even during that time. Maybe if they're all full it doesn't put you in the wait queue?


No, I just got a message saying what the hours were -- like an after hours message.

#18 heather

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:40 AM

Were you logged in with your Premium account? If you're logged in as a Free user, it will give you that message.

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#19 CarlosCaballero

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:22 PM

I just realized that at least two notes have disappeared form all my Evernote instances (Macs, iPad, web). Of course, the two notes missing are super critical (otherwise I probably wouldn't have noticed). No, they are not in the Trash either.The only thing I can think of is that recently (two weeks) uploaded my account again (using a code obtained by buying a Livescribe pen).

Has anybody experienced this? Needless to say, the damage inflicted is catastrophic: I can't afford to keep using Evernote if things go away misteriously.

Also, is there any such a think as a backup in Evernote terms? Say, is there a way to go to Time Machine and find the notes? Please, any creative help would help: the information in the notes is absolutely priceless

#20 Owyn

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:26 PM

I just realized that at least two notes have disappeared form all my Evernote instances (Macs, iPad, web).
...

Also, is there any such a think as a backup in Evernote terms? Say, is there a way to go to Time Machine and find the notes?

The most likely source of the missing notes would be a .enex export from a backup database from the desktop Mac client.
I don't use Mac so I can't give you specific details of how to proceed from theory to practice.
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