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Evernote Data Storage


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Just a simple bunch of question about how Evernote stores one's data. I presume that it's stored "in the cloud" somewhere and if so, is there any way of viewing those files with something like Windows Explorer? If not, how are they stored? Is it possible to store Evernote data on one's own computer?

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On 9/11/2020 at 5:02 PM, DinoF said:

Just a simple bunch of question about how Evernote stores one's data. I presume that it's stored "in the cloud" somewhere and if so, is there any way of viewing those files with something like Windows Explorer? If not, how are they stored? Is it possible to store Evernote data on one's own computer?

The master data is stored in the cloud on Evernote's servers (except for Local Notebooks)
- this can be viewed using a browser app at www.evernote.com
By default, a data copy is stored locally on Macs and Windows; optional on IOS and Android

Evernote/Windows stores all the data within a single .exb file
This is an SQLite database, and can be viewed using a database browser app

Evernote/Mac stores the data in a separate folder for each note
- note text is stored in .enml format
- attachments are stored in native format (pdf, jpeg, ...)
The metadata is stored in a small SQLite database, and can be viewed using a database browser app

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Hi. A minor correction, depending on what one thinks of such things, but Evernote stores our synced data on “Google’s” servers, where it rents space.

If you’ve synced, the data can be viewed on just about everything by using an app (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android) or with a browser (Mac, Windows). It’s pretty convenient and probably best understood by fiddling around with it for a few minutes. You can give it a try yourself for free :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

you helped me above with....

Evernote/Windows stores all the data within a single .exb file
This is an SQLite database, and can be viewed using a database browser app

 

How could I find *.jpg data  with a DB browser  in this exb  ?

 

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2 hours ago, alfredherbel said:

How could I find *.jpg data  with a DB browser  in this exb  ?

I'm using a Mac, so there may be a difference968240848_ScreenShot2020-09-28at7_47_23AM.png.d40f8569186d01c3a335481c2915ed94.png

This is metadata; stored in the Resource table

On a Mac, the actual file is stored externally
in the note folder, in native format

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It seems a little odd to be trying to find a specific file type stored in an app which features a flexible search engine by ignoring that feature and looking at raw DB data - which if changed incorrectly,  will likely crash the app and corrupt the whole database.

Evernote recognises and can search for a variety of resource types including:

  • image/gif
  • image/jpeg
  • image/png
  • audio/wav
  • audio/mpeg
  • audio/amr
  • application/pdf

-Why not find the attachment from within the app and export it as a valid file? 

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I guess my concern is that applications like Evernote operate in certain ways with data generated by subscribers. Unless a user is certainly above average in understanding the complexity of how the data is stored, I find that many applications, like Evernote, provide very little and rather complex user interface access to that data. To make matters worse, any attempt to find out more about some of these complexities are buried in knowledge bases and user forums that take too much time and effort to search for the specific information one seeks, often ending up in not finding the specific answers one sought. This lack of simplicity in accessing one's own data and understanding where it's held is the reason why I've chosen to discontinue in the use of Evernote. It's regrettable, because there are some very good and useful aspects to this software, but it's my information and no amount of EULA or Terms and Conditions or published assurances about the privacy of my data can substitute for a simplified system that unequivocally explains what's done with that data, where it's kept and how it's accessed.

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4 minutes ago, DinoF said:

I find that many applications, like Evernote, provide very little and rather complex user interface access to that data.

My impression is that Evernote's extensive search feature provides a straight forward access to our data

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It depends on what exactly you mean by extensive search features. Most people, I believe, with a reasonable idea of computers are familiar with applications like Windows Explorer where they can see exactly the files they generated and their locations. You're probably a more accomplished computer user and it seems to make sense to you the way the information is presented. I've used and enjoyed using computers for a number of years and have noticed that with the introduction of cloud storage and other new innovations, whilst very useful in themselves, the clarity of where and how the files generated and stored and accessed, has been lost in legalistic jargon, extreme reliance on inadequate knowledge bases and user support systems or technical explanations that fail to satisfactorily explain the new complexities to anyone other than one with your level of expertise. The best way in which I can describe my dissatisfaction with the management of user data is by a comparison of the older system whereby the user generated information which was stored on one's own computer and had the tools to look them up and know where and how they're stored. What's the current equivalent of that system?

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6 minutes ago, DinoF said:

the clarity of where and how the files generated and stored and accessed, has been lost in legalistic jargon

It's obviously entirely up to you where and with what you save your data,  but I don't see any legalistic jargon involved in the various ways in which information can be moved into Evernote,  nor the fact that it is stored in a SQLite database format (that's 20-year-old tech) on your own local PC,  or sent to storage on Google's servers (Google's been around for 22 years) where you can view it through a transparent flat database structure and search process (50 years old) on the Internet (depends on which bit you measure,  but that's about 30-year old stuff).

How my car works is pretty opaque to me,  but I have no trouble driving it.  

As to 'current equivalents'...

15 minutes ago, DinoF said:

the older system whereby the user generated information which was stored on one's own computer and had the tools to look them up and know where and how they're stored.

That's exactly what happens now in any one of a million note-taking apps,  including Evernote.

However:  if you're not happy with the way it's done,  then clearly you should look around and use something else.  I'm (mostly) very happy with the way Evernote works,  but that's my situation, and every one is different.  Do let us know what system you eventually settle for!

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Your comment on where and with what I use my data being up to me is not the point in question. I know that technology like SQL Lite database, Google's servers, and search processes have been around for a few decades. How exactly these technologies are used to manage data I generate is more of the issue for me. The fact that I know that my data appears in SQL Lite databases or Google servers but they provide no tool like a "Windows Explorer" to physically see and access the files without a higher level of knowledge required to use various search engines or queries for SQL Lite databases is closer to the issue I have with applications like Evernote. I think your "Car" analogy was not as relevant to my issue as you may have thought it was. However, I'll pose a similar incomplete "Car" analogy by saying that it's like buying a car without tools to change a spare tyre, so that if you get a flat, you have to go through the endless and inane call centres to arrange someone to fix it. As far as your suggestion to use something else instead of Evernote, then there was no reason to suggest it because that's a given.

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guys, thanks for your EN opinions,

By the way, I forgot to mention, that "my" *.exp-file is part of a WINDOWS-saved status of my EN databases (about 3 months old).

A note (with family-Photos) vanished (when? where? ) in my production-EN and I try to  discover it again in mentioned 3-month old save-data I still have.

 

again, thanks a lot experts !!

 

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What do you mean with „the note vanished“ ?

If it was deleted (which may happen accidentally), it should still exist in the trash. EN trash is basically another notebook, but is is excluded from normal searches. However, it can be opened, and it can be searched when it is open.

Notes stay in the trash until the trash is emptied (all of them), or the note is selected in the trash, and deleted again (just this note).

As long as a note still exists in the trash, it can be revived. And as long as a note still exists, you can return to prior versions of that note, using note history (Premium function).

When the note is gone from trash as well, it is gone.

Then the only solution can be a local backup, that goes back before the point from which you miss the note. If you back up your desktop (PC/Mac), there is a chance that a former state of the data base is kept there. It can be replayed to the computer and opened with the EN app. But on this you should get professional help, if you are not sure about what you are doing.

Personally I have a backup job on my PC that runs daily and just saves the EN data base to a server. Not that I would not trust the EN cloud, but if you have a server (in my case a NAS), why not use it ?

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Basically (but now comes the part where a little mistake can do bad) it means you replace the local data base against an older copy of it.

  • Find the data base of your EN installation on your PC. Let us say its name is xxx
  • Prevent syncing by taking your PC off the internet.
  • Quit the app, go with Explorer to that folder, rename it to xxx-save, and if you want to be very safe, move it away to another folder.
  • Locate the same folder in your Backup. How to depends on the software and backup type you use. I hope it is accessible folder by folder (I use Acronis True Image, where this is easy).
  • Copy the old folder with your data base to the place where the new folder was removed, if necessary rename it to xxx.
  • Start EN, it should take the folder you just copied as the real data base, and open it. Look for the note you are missing, export it by ENEX-export. 
  • Close EN. Go by explorer to the data base folder. Rename it something else, move it away. Move the initial copy (xxx-save) into the place, and remove the „-save“ addition, to make it xxx again.
  • Open EN, log in, the new data base should open. Import the ENEX-export of the missing note into EN.

Done. Many things can go wrong while doing this. So make sure you work on copies, leaving the originals untouched. It may help to deactivate security software while you are doing it. Quitting your network connection while doing so, the EN server can‘t disturb you by syncing. Otherwise it would try to overwrite the backup copy with fresh server data.

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14 hours ago, DinoF said:

Most people, I believe, with a reasonable idea of computers are familiar with applications like Windows Explorer where they can see exactly the files they generated and their locations.

By necessity, apps like Evernote import our data and store in complex database structures

As part of my backups, I maintain the data in a simplified structure
that can be accessed with apps like Windows Explorer (Mac Finder)
I use Evernote's export feature in html format for daily incremental and weekly full backups

As you can see in the screenshot, each note is listed as an .html file
with a .resources folder for file attachments
The note title is used as the filename804927439_ScreenShot2020-09-29at5_04_24AM.png.b4bc20cb715ebb0514fd157cbad137e6.png

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Export works similar on both Windows and Mac.

The database structure is not the same: AFAIK Windows uses a real database to store  content. On the Mac the notes are organized in folders, just metadata is in a database.

So one can export in a Mac and import in Windows, if using the EN export function. But restore from a real backup, made by an external backup program, is bound to the OS the client was running on.

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Thanks guys for trying to help.

However, it's no solution to the complexity of how the data is stored and accessed by the user, let alone the control that the user has to either store or erase their own data. You might have devised a way of exporting your data in a way that allows you to keep track of it, but if you were to delete any of that exported data, I think that the deletion does not extend to what's stored by Evernote. I've raised this issue as a discussion point and people may agree or disagree with it, but as far as I'm concerned, there hasn't been any explanation that would convince me to go back to Evernote, even though I'd like to. 

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@DinoFYou really do not know how your data is stored, even on your own computer. How is the file system working on your HDD, giving it is a turning disk for which most files systems were developed ? Differences between (say) NTFS on Windows, APFS on a Mac and ext4 on a Linux PC, not even talking about the server file systems like BTRFS or ZFS. How is the logical file system working on a flash drive, based on a completely different technology ?

Most times I do not care - some times I do, for example when I set up my home server (choosing BTRFS because it can compensate bit-rot in long term storage). 

Advanced servers like the ones used by Google or the other large providers use more advanced storage technologies, for example spreading all data over several data centers. This allows for 100% accessibility, even when a data center goes down. This sort of reliability is a commodity today, offered by many competing services. That all data there is encrypted by the provider is a consequence of the storage principle.

If you don’t trust them, there is a simple solution: Don’t use cloud services, or only upload encrypted content. This means using your own encryption,  not the one by the service. This is on a practical level not possible with EN, not only because it means self-encrypt all attachments and text yourself (not with the EN encryption), but because it takes away what EN offers: Fast finding by server based search.

To comply with the Europan data protection legislation, I have closed a Data Processing Amendment with EN (available for Premium and Business users, that use EN to store sensitive data).

If you want something more closed, and you are in the Apple ecosystem, you could decide to use DEVONThink instead. It is a similar service to EN (not comparable) that can be installed on your own home server. Or more open you could install a Synology NAS (or similar from QNAP) and run NoteStation there, with clients for all OS-types. Then you control where your data lies, but you as well are fully responsible to protect it.

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@DinoF - I do see where you're coming from (I think) in that Evernote Notes & Attachments don't have a physical existence outside the Evernote app.  I have 50,000+ notes which are all wrapped up into one humungously large database,  and I can't 'see' the actual file that is any individual note.  But I can delete it inside the app,  and it will be deleted in all the other places that it might have been stored - on the server,  and on any other devices I synced with my account.

Which,  actually,  is pretty much the same as every other app I use except for Notepad and a couple of other text-only editors. 

Word processors,  spreadsheets, browsers all keep the files I save in their own native formats which - if opened in another app - are usually nothing like the representation I see in the original window.  I can see and move individual files around,  but I can't search within them like I can in Evernote - and if I mess with the content or move the files elsewhere they may become useless in the host app.

Still - and I wasn't intending any condescension before - you have to do what you have to do.  If you no longer feel Evernote is the right application,  then you don't need anyone's permission or approval to change it.  I'd be interested to hear where you wind up - it might be something other users here would appreciate!

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Thanks gazumped for your reply.

I think you've come the closest to understanding my concerns and not coming up with the inane suggestion of not using Evernote if I don't trust cloud servers - something which I've already put into practice as far as Evernote is concerned and don't need to be reminded.

I'm not totally ruling out cloud servers, using them for instances where they store specific files which I recognise as my own and can access in much the same way as if they were on my computer. With Evernote's ability to capture some of my interactions on the internet which ends up stored in the cloud in a complex manner, I believe that becomes a whole new ball game.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/29/2020 at 4:27 AM, PinkElephant said:

Basically (but now comes the part where a little mistake can do bad) it means you replace the local data base against an older copy of it.

  • Find the data base of your EN installation on your PC. Let us say its name is xxx
  • Prevent syncing by taking your PC off the internet.
  • Quit the app, go with Explorer to that folder, rename it to xxx-save, and if you want to be very safe, move it away to another folder.
  • Locate the same folder in your Backup. How to depends on the software and backup type you use. I hope it is accessible folder by folder (I use Acronis True Image, where this is easy).
  • Copy the old folder with your data base to the place where the new folder was removed, if necessary rename it to xxx.
  • Start EN, it should take the folder you just copied as the real data base, and open it. Look for the note you are missing, export it by ENEX-export. 
  • Close EN. Go by explorer to the data base folder. Rename it something else, move it away. Move the initial copy (xxx-save) into the place, and remove the „-save“ addition, to make it xxx again.
  • Open EN, log in, the new data base should open. Import the ENEX-export of the missing note into EN.

Done. Many things can go wrong while doing this. So make sure you work on copies, leaving the originals untouched. It may help to deactivate security software while you are doing it. Quitting your network connection while doing so, the EN server can‘t disturb you by syncing. Otherwise it would try to overwrite the backup copy with fresh server data.

Thanks, PinkElephant. Just what I was looking for to restore lost data in my 1 daily task note that is updated throughout the day, every day. Not sure what happened, but sync apparently failed for a week, then overwrote my local copy with an old version. Also using Acronis for backups. Fingers crossed that your process works.

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