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Need expert help with recovering folder from Time Machine Backup



I've been dealing with Evernote tech support for 2 weeks now. Bumped up a level. Still no help. I had a folder synced to my iPad. I wanted to remove it temporarily. I discovered you can't change a synced folder to a local one. I created a new local folder on my Mac and copied the other folder over. By the time I returned from a long vacation, I had forgotten about this whole episode. I tried syncing but, of course, it's a local folder (I now realize) and didn't sync. I tried changing the name of the folder. That, of course, made no difference.


I contacted tech support. He had me send an Activity Log. Told me my EN copy on Mac was out of date. Curious as I have apps update automatically. Nothing about export all of your notes first or anything. So I did this. Came up with an archive error. I went to website, downloaded current app. It migrated data over. However, either then or when it synced, it wiped out that folder (I assume because it hadn't synced with web?).


I've since learned that folders are stored in different directories depending on where software was downloaded from. Mine seem to indicate I downloaded the app directly from web and they currently are in user/my name/Library/Application Support/ but then, it says it should be in a directory "Evernote" but mine are in com.evernote.Evernote. I've gone to the AppStore and if I try to download EN it takes my directly to my Evernote.


This folder contained a lifetime worth of recipes. I have a Time Machine Backup that goes back to Apr 2014. I have since tried to restore my Mac but it didn't stop to ask my where restore date I wanted (as as PC would have). It just restored it. Evernote is the same. 


Tech support has suggested various places to look for files including purgatory but not there. I just can't understand how I ended up in this mess using a Time Machine backup and why they can't tell me how to recover my data.


Can anyone help me?

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  • Level 5*

@muglich:  Sorry to hear all that.


So, it looks like you may need major surgery to recover.


This means:

  1. Sync EN Mac
  2. Disconnect from Internet to prevent Evernote from further syncs
  3. Quit EN Mac (app and menu)
  4. Backup everything Evernote (app and data)
  5. Rename the existing Evernote data folder and the Evernote.app to "ORIG." & current name.
  6. Do a TM restore of the entire Evernote data folder & app from when you know the Notes of interest were still there
  7. Start EN Mac
  8. Find your notes and export to ENEX, with each NB in a separate ENEX file outside of the Evernote folder (like your Documents folder)
  9. For extra safety you might also export these Notes to HTML
  10. Exit Evernote (app and menu)
  11. Rename the Evernote folder (which was from the restore) and Evernote.app to "OLD." & current name.
  12. Rename the original Evernote folder & app from Step 5 ("ORIG.") back to the original name
  13. Start EN Mac
  14. Import the ENEX files you created in Step 8.  This puts them in a Local Notebook.
  15. Move them into a sync'd Notebook
  16. If everything looks good, connect to Internet and sync.

Proceed with caution!  Do not start this process until you fully understand all steps.

I have NOT actually tested this process, so be careful.


You might even send this process to the Evernote Support rep, and ask his/her opinion.

Feel free to ask any follow-up questions.


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So....once it finally synced up, my recipes and some other notes were gone from the web site and from my Mac, yet again. Not thinking about my exported notes, I tried again to restore to an earlier copy. The strange thing is, though I tried 2 different dates, it never changed anything on my EN Mac.  The folders that had been synced to the web never changed. By then, I remembered about my exported notes. So, now I've gone through and imported all of the notes that were missing that had been exported. Two times when I was trying to import the recipes with about 4,500 recipes in there, EN crashed. There seemed to be no way to get it to simply resume. The 2nd time I got up to 3,997 so I've quit with that for the time being. Now I'm running up against my memory limits for the month.


I still have some notes missing. I have one copy of all of my notes exported in one lump but I obviously can't import it this month. I think I may go ask tech support if they won't increase my limit for the month so I can get this cleaned up. If and when I can try to simply import that big file to try and find my missing info, will they come in sorted by note book or just be one big list of notes? Will the tags be there? I guess now when it gets to the end of importing it asks if you want tags, so I guess those would be present. 


Again, thanks.

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  • Level 5*

You're very much welcome.  I'm glad to see that you have recovered your notes.


In response to your questions:

  1. Stacks are just groupings of Notebooks.  If you have lost any in this process, just drag one NB on top of another and it will create a new Stack.  You can add to existing Stacks by just dragging a NB on top of the Stack.
  2. Time to complete sync -- hard to say as it depends on number of notes and your Internet speed.  Could be from hours to a day or so.
  3. When you sync your iPad it will do the normal sync:
    1. Download changes from the EN Cloud, including deletions
    2. Upload from the iPad all changes not in the EN Cloud
    3. If the same Note has changes in both the EN Cloud and the iPad you should get a conflicting notes notice, and both versions should be saved.

Good luck.  I hope everything gets back to normal for you soon.

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While your suggested terminal command didn't work, the ones I posted above did. I tried to paste in an example of what I can now see but it wouldn't let me. 


But, for example, under Users/ I could see 2 grayed out items: .DS_Store and .localized. Then I could see my name/ and under that, stilled grayed out: .adobe, .bash_history, etc., etc. until you get down to Desktop, Documents, etc. and Library (all of which were visible, not gray). When I went into Time Machine, then I was able to see the Library folder that had been hidden to me before.


So I went to an older date on Time Machine and was able to find the Library folder under my name (muglich) and it restored the data to Evernote. It wasn't the same date as what I had restored my iPad to but I had all of my folders back. I have now created a new sync'd Notebook and moved all of my notebooks into it. It wouldn't accept my stacked notebooks so I moved each of them in separately. I did also export each of 38 notebooks into a separate .enex file so now I have that for backup as well.


It is syncing right now and there are tons of notes so I'm sure it's going to take a long while. I guess one question I have, assuming this part works, what about those stacked notebooks...ultimately could I just create another new syncable notebook for each stack, and move the folders I want into each stack? Right now the "wheel" in Evernote is spinning though I don't see any changes yet on EN on the web. Hopefully soon. Any idea how long it might take to sync this "new" data? Many hours or a day or?? [While writing this msg, EN crashed and is restarting. It is now syncing again.]


And what will happen with my iPad. If I wait to allow it sync until my Mac is done, will it just sync to the "new" database on EN web?


I'm so grateful that you ultimately keyed back in on the most relevant point here...that my Evernote files had to be backed up somewhere in my Time Machine. My tech support guy kept not answering any of my questions in that regard. But, when you posted that one terminal command and then when I read the article you posted and went searching for more...the one I found finally revealed to me what I knew had to be there somewhere. You have been so much more helpful than Tech Support ever was. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

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  • Level 5*

I'm still confused about what you have done, but if you now have the Notes in EN Mac, you could create a new sync'd Notebook and move the Notes into it.  Then when you sync with the EN Cloud it would see the Notes as NEW and upload them.


But I would also export the Notes to ENEX files (one per NB) to make sure you have a backup copy.

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So....I restored a few notes I had tried deleting from EN web. After your comments above, I did more Googling and found a website that indicated you could enter this command into terminal and see all Apple files:


defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES


and this to relaunch Finder:

killall Finder


And then I was able to see everything inside of Time Machine. I was able to find a folder with user name and then restored from there. It doesn't have the same # of recipes, etc. as is on my iPad but 4,000+ which I'm fine with (which they each have but slightly different numbers).


So, now I have data on my Mac EN and on my iPad, though not the same.


So, now what do I do to get either one of these to sync with the web? I don't understand how or what I could do by connecting my iPad to Mac and opening iTunes and then what??

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  • Level 5*

NO, deleting everything on the EN Web client will delete everything in your account.

When the iPad syncs, those same Notes will be deleted.

It is NOT possible to restore an account from any device.  All you can do is add NEW Notes.


I'm not following your statement from above:




Then I thought about my iPad and how my notes were originally synced there (until I moved them off). I wondered where the backups are located when I have backed an extra copy up to my Mac (instead of just the cloud). And, voila, there was the solution to my problem.  :) They, unlike my Mac notes, are in a directory where it says they will be and I had a copy from Dec. 2014. So, now I have my notes restored to my iPad


What directory are you referring to, on your Mac or iPad?

How did you restore the Notes to your iPad?


If this directory is on your iPad, you should be able to access it from your Mac by connecting to iTunes, or to one of the tools like iExplorer.

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I tried that (and this was my thought from the beginning...the files have to be there, just not visible to me). However, it didn't work. I can see the Library folder beginning on backups from Feb. 19, but the 18th and backwards to Apr 2014 it is still not visible.


I did reinstall EN from the web site but it found the oldsApp Store version (somehow it founds traces). Once it reinstalled it and forced me to allow wifi access, it synced up and matches the web contents lacking lots.


What if I delete everything from the web account? If it had nothing and saw everything on the iPad, it wouldn't add it??

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  • Level 5*

If you have had TM enabled during the time when your Notes were available, and TM has had enough space, the TM backup should still be there.

The problem may be that the Evernote data folder lies within the hidden Library folder, so when you try to do a TM restore, you can't see it.


Before you engage TM, execute this in Terminal:

/usr/bin/chflags nohidden ~/Library


That unhides the Library folder.

So now, in the finder, go to the Library folder under your account name.

Start TM.


In EN Mac Ver 5.5.2 and earlier, the Evernote data folder was in Library/Application Support/Evernote

After that, it is in Library/Application Support/com.evernote.Evernote.


You will have to go back in time to see the earlier ver Evernote folder.


For more info on unhiding the Library folder, see http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=201205150804544

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I so appreciate your comments. However, at the present moment, the only place I know has all of my notes is on my iPad. I got that from using iTunes and restoring the most current copy from my Mac which was a Dec. 2014 copy.


I have also now uninstalled Evernote from my Mac. Just getting reading to download a new copy. I did that because of having data in 2 places on my current drive, the AppStore spot and the direct download spot. 


I don't understand how the above procedure will sync my iPad to the web and to my Mac. I've never been able to find any data in either of the two specified locations in my Time Machine backups.

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Back again, so close and yet so far. So I told tech support I had managed to recover all of my notes to my iPad. Though I told him I had it on airplane mode because I did not want it to sync up with Evernote web which I feared might overwrite it, he asked if I had synced it to the web. Uh...did you read my note? So, I went ahead and allowed it to sync. Of course, it wiped out my notes. 


He said that's because: The content is not actually being adding to the Evernote apps.


I don't understand what this means. He then said, once I recover my data (yet again, a 2-3 hr. process), try importing it into Evernote.


Again, what does this mean. How would I import my data from Evernote iPad to my Mac?? or the Web?


​Any insight as to what I should do next?

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As an update, I continued to try and get tech support but really got nowhere. Yesterday I was thinking about how I have iCloud backups, 1T Time Machine, dropbox, how, how did I end up here? Then I thought about my iPad and how my notes were originally synced there (until I moved them off). I wondered where the backups are located when I have backed an extra copy up to my Mac (instead of just the cloud). And, voila, there was the solution to my problem. :) They, unlike my Mac notes, are in a directory where it says they will be and I had a copy from Dec. 2014. So, now I have my notes restored to my iPad. I'm waiting to hear from Tech Support how I can get them synced to my Mac and the web. I was elated to discover that this worked. I've been working on this issue for 17 days!! Tenacity paid off. I wasn't easily going to give up on losing 25 yr. worth of recipes and then I discovered other notes were missing. Now I'm almost back in business.

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I did contact Chat. They said no Supervisors are available via Chat and he will ask my tech support guy to contact me. They generally will only answer once a day. I wrote him yesterday but no response from him today.

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Additionally, in the Purgatory folder mentioned above, there are 7,581 folders, all dated 2/17/15. But, in looking at my EN file, apparently those are my current notes which show as 7,558 in EN.


And yes, I am a premium member. Again, thanks for any help!

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Thanks for your prompt response! I'll go through and check the various suggested locations for Evernote files to be sure there's nothing there.


No, I downloaded the most current version from the website. When I couldn't find my files, I wondered if I had originally downloaded it from the AppStore. Like I said, when I go there, the little "get" button is next to the app as in it is already installed. I've used this for a long time so don't recollect how I first got it.


Additionally, while I do have some files located as mentioned above, I also see EN data in the spot where it is supposed to be if downloaded from the AppStore: users/muglich/Library/Containers/com.evernote.Evernote. In that folder there are now items in a Purgatory folder. This seems to be where my current data may be.


It's not like I can tell specifically where my folders titled "Recipe" or "Recipes" are Those names obviously aren't visible. I'm a fairly literate computer user but I've spent hours on this and have gotten nowhere.


I've disconnected my backup drive for now because I read it might try to perform a brand new full backup after a restore.


My Ticket# 947596

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  • Level 5*

@muglich:  Sorry to hear Evernote support hasn't been able to resolve your issue, when it seems that the Evernote update caused the problem.


You situation is very complex, and without being able to inspect your hard drive, it is difficult, and dangerous, for anyone here to offer specific advice.  The last thing we want to do is to add to the confusion/complexity of your situation.


The biggest challenge is to not lose your Local Notebooks, which exist ONLY on your local hard drive (and maybe in TM).  Otherwise you could just do a clean reinstall and let all of your sync'd Notes download from the Evernote Cloud Service.


One note that you might find useful.  When you do a TM restore, it will automatically restore to the original location, UNLESS the files/folders exist in that location, which would cause an overwrite.  In that case, TM will ask you if you want to overwrite, or restore to a different location.  So the Evernote notes/files from the previous version are likely sitting in the OLD Evernote folder location.


Having said that, my first tact would be to push hard on Evernote Support, ask for a higher level tech who knows their stuff.

If I understand you correctly, you ended up updating to the Mac AppStore version. Is that correct?

The AppStore versions have had lots of issues, and have caused notes, notebooks, and especially Local notebooks to "disappear", meaning that they are still there, but for some buggy reason, Evernote doesn't see them.


I have seen Evernote employees here suggesting that users in this situation should switch to the DirectDL ver at Evernote.com.  But I am uncomfortable suggesting that for you because of the complexity of your situation.


Since you have been corresponding with Evernote Support that must mean you are a Premium (or Business) user.

So, you might try using the Evernote Support Chat to talk with someone directly, and request high level tech support.


Please post your EN Ticket# here, and we can try to get some attention from an Evernote employee.


See Evernote Chat Support., available business days 7am-7pm US CST. 

(Chat option appears AFTER you click “Continue” on initial “Evernote Support” page.)


I wish you the best of luck, and please keep us informed as to your progress.

If you give up on Evernote Support let us know.  I do have a few ideas, but they are complicated and risky.

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