Jump to content

(Archived) Restore old database from certain date, without losing notes created since..


Recommended Posts

I am a newbie to this forum, in fact I just signed up today to post this message.  However, this doesn't mean I am new to Evernote per se, since, I have been using it since it's conception and absolutely love it.  It is a life saver, particularly for myself, whom works as a freelancer.  I will spare any further personal introduction, since it's not pertinent to the topic at hand.  


So, in July of this year, I decided to do a backup of all my notes (saved as one large (4 GB) .enex file).  I had roughly 4,000~ notes at that point.  However, I made a rather erroneous choice due to a case of overwhelm and have since learnt that my decision was reactive and misinformed.  To cut a long story short, I was using Evernote to manage about twenty different projects (although this wasn't intentional, I didn't think Evernote was wise for this purpose, but, it gradually just happened, since I use Evernote hours each day), as well as using it to store almost every other detail in my life, that one can imagine.. sans, anything that could have long term consequences if there was a security breach such as bank account details, passwords etc. (I know I could encrypt those, but, still haven't felt completely at ease with that just yet).   Needless to say, one day I realized it was hard to focus on any one project at one time, so, I made a choice to back everything up (using the rather poor choice of .enex instead of doing a direct database copy or using .exb - the latter two I have since learnt about after researching this very topic in the past week) and then proceeded to delete a lot of notebooks which whilst they contained perhaps useful notes, I didn't really need for the next five projects.  This was all with the understanding that I could simply restore those from the .enex file at a later date.  This exercise was more for my own clarity and to prevent any latent ADHD from disturbing my productivity.  (Side note:  I have now made the wise choice to migrate the projects to a proper project management tool and am happy with this decision!).  So, fast forward to now, essentially I now have 2800 notes within Evernote, I'd say about 800 of which were created since the aforementioned deletion, and now I'd essentially like to use Evernote for the purpose I feel it's best suited for -- to collate and store a vast searchable collection of notes.  So, this comes to question time... 


My question is.. I'd like to restore my old notes database (the one created in July with 4,000 notes), but, will this eradicate or delete any notes since that period?  To clarify further, the way I figured I'd have to do this is to delete the database on one of my machine's (whilst disconnected from Internet) and then import the .enex file and then sync it.  However, my concern is that this would cause Evernote servers to abandon my other notes or would they simply still sync since one of my other machines has a copy of the latest notes?  I am not familiar with exactly how the synchronisation process works and what will happen.  Therefore, if this method has the potentiality for me to lose my new notes (the ones created since July), does anyone recommend a more effective and safe solution for restoration?  Summary:  I want my old backed up notes and the notes created since then to be merged into one Evernote database (and naturally subsequently synced across all devices - Three windows, Two iMacs, iPad, Android phone and iPhone.  


I appreciate your time in reading a long introduction to the issue.. just figured since I'm a newbie to the forums, I should provide more information.  And if anyone has any suggestions, I'm certainly open to them.  


Many thanks!



Link to comment

I forgot to mention that the only possible solution I've read thus far, which seems like it would be a very time consuming method is the one described by BurgersNFries at the thread below:




Except, naturally modifying.  


1.  Disconnect from Internet after doing one final sync.  

2.  Close down Evernote, including the toolbar background helper.

3.  Copy database file to another location.  

4.  Delete database.  

5.  Open up Evernote and import .enex

6.  Find notes I want to keep, export each individually as a note. 

7.  Close down Evernote, including the toolbar background helper. 

8.  Copy database file from step 3 to proper location (as found within options)

9.  Open Evernote and import each individual .enex note. 

10.  Delete all databases from other devices (after closing Evernote etc. and disconnecting from Internet) 

11.  Connect to Internet with primary machine (the one used to do the restoration/merging process).  Sync!

12.  Wait until fully synced and then re-connect every other device.  Pray!

13.  Have a drink for getting through such a time consuming process!  (In my case, having to find and export nearly 2000 notes!)

14.  Celebrate with drunken abandonment the fact I once again have all notes within Evernote and synced! 

Link to comment
  • Level 5*

Hi and thanks for the full briefing on this one.  It's always better to have more information than less - though [heath warning] your advisers here are all working stiffs,  and technical in varying degrees so we all (present company - ie me - included) might get the wrong end of the stick or just be plain wrong in what we say.  Messing with a lot of notes always involves the possibility of something really bad happening,  so in case you hadn't already planned to to do..

  1. sync all your devices so the server and distributed copies are fully up to date
  2. Exit Evernote on all devices except your desktop
  3. keep an original copy your ENEX file somewhere safe and use a working copy for all operations
  4. exit Evernote fuly on your desktop
  5. backup the installation folder to another drive somewhere
  6. reopen Evernote

Now.  You originally backed up to an ENEX file which is an 'export' option that doesn't preserve notebook data.  Your 2,800 notes can be reimported,  but they won't be sorted into notebooks - just added to whichever notebook you choose. They also amount to much more than 1GB of data,  so if you import to a synced notebook,  you'll blow your upload limit,  block the account until reset,  and possibly lose information.  So..  for the next steps

  1. create a new local only notebook
  2. import ENEX file
  3. start deleting and transferring notes...

You'll be able to move notes back into synced notebooks when they'll impact your upload limit.  You can go through and delete notes you don't require however,  and move the new ones across when you have spare capacity - or you can buy extra headroom.


Hope that helps - but remember;  safety first - and if you didn't understand or don't agree with any of the above - ask!!

Link to comment

Hey gazumped!  Many thanks for taking the time out for your informative and useful response! :)


Oh damn, I'd totally forgotten even about the 1GB upload limit.  (I am a Premium member, so, I have never exceeded 1GB in one month.. so don't even think about that limitation!).  Ouch.  That definitely throws a bit of a spanner in the works.  Like you said, I could pay extra for the month (up to 5GB I believe), but, would preferably save having to pay additional fees ($20? I believe for an extra 4GB).  I was also not aware that ENEX doesn't retain notebook data.  Ouch again.  So, I'll have 4,000 notes without any idea where they went exactly.  


Oh.. I think your idea may be the best option, if I understand it correctly.  I just want to be certain, since I've never had to import an ENEX file in before and have never worked with local only notebooks.  So..


After backing up (following your directives 1-6), I re-open Evernote and create a new local only notebook within it (amongst all my synced ones).. let's call it IMPORT for clarity purposes.  


Then, I import the ENEX file DIRECTLY into this IMPORT notebook.  And from there, I will now have 2,800 notes synced amongst my other 80 or so notebooks and also one called IMPORT with around 4,000 notes (none of which will be synced, at this stage).  


Finally, as you said, I can move notes from this IMPORT notebook into my other notebooks (which are naturally synced).  And I can distribute that process over a period of a couple months if necessary, to ensure my upload limit is never breached.  


If I understood correctly, that sounds doable, albeit, slightly laborious, but, that's my own doing, so I'll have to just jump into it.  The only question that remains is whether or not in Evernote 5 (which I upgraded to a few days ago), there is a way of mass removing duplicate notes.  About 2,000 (maybe slightly more) are going to be duplicates.  I'd love to winnow down my IMPORT notebook to only contain the non-duplicate notes, since, then I only have 2,000 to move and potentially delete.  If there is not a way directly to do that, are there any resources for writing a script that could potentially do that?  I'm a C# and Java programmer in my spare time (so far from an expert, but, I can write code).  I don't want to be spoon fed, so I'll also do some further searching on these forums and also Google, but, figured it's a possibility you've come across something along those lines before.    


Well, once again I appreciate the advice, I'm certainly preferring it to my option (in lieu of the upload limit) and hadn't thought of local only notebooks.   :)





Link to comment
  • Level 5*

Hiya - you understood my harangue correctly I think;  sadly there's nothing that I'm aware of to find duplicate notes easily.  If you sort notes by title it's easy to get a listing into Excel (or your spreadsheet of choice) and do a dup search there,   but the problem is deleting the notes.  Manual is a pain - I've done it;  but if you deleted notes directly from the database,  you would have to ensure you didn't corrupt Evernote's required format.  I just do tidying up when I do searches - if there are dup notes in the list I'll kill the spares.


If anyone does manage to produce a reliable de-duper for notes I'll certainly be interested...

Link to comment

Hey gazumped!  Yeah, I took a quick look through some older threads on this forum regarding duplicated notes, and it appears the consensus is to either do your method or ignore them entirely.  I know it seems silly to worry about duplicates (and usually if I've got just a few, I delete them as and when I find them), but, having 2,000 extra duplicates just irks me for some reason, despite the fact, ironically it could be construed as being useful if one accidentally deleted one of the others (although we do have trash for that regardless and potentially backups - if done correctly, which I'm going to start doing now, since I was just exporting as a giant ENEX note previously once a month).  


Side note:  I quickly took a look at the API and SDKs Evernote provides and it seems crystal clear.. I could potentially write some code to find duplicates using regex (regular expressions) and perhaps even size comparison too, and then use code along these lines:  http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/28374-how-to-delete-q-note-from-everenote/  to delete the duplicated notes.  It's something that appears it could take only a few hours, which in contrast to potentially wading through 4,000 notes, may actually save time.  However, I have to remember Hofstadter's Law: a task always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.  Ergo,  it's hard to know whether I should explore the API for this, which includes lots of backing up, testing etc. to make sure it's super reliable, which could take days to be certain it works under all variables and contexts.. (if not weeks), but, with something potentially to open source for someone else to tinker with (and refine), or, just do what you recommended.  I love coding, so this challenge is interesting, yet, doing it manually is certainly safer and may actually take a lot less time ironically.. haha! :)  Hard to decide.. I'm not going to delve into this until the weekend either way.. can't accidentally corrupt the database during my work week..






Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...