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Rocket J. Squirrel

Evernote trashed all my notes stored in local notebooks and it appears there is no way to retrieve these notes.

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The purpose of this post is to point how dangerous Evernote is with local notebooks.  IF you are reading this post because you lost your notes stored in a local notebook, I would say your chances of getting those notes back are slim to none.

 

Of my 7,000 notes in Evernote I keep all but a few hundred in synchronized notebooks.  I have a few hundred vitally important notes that are high security which I did not want to store in the cloud, and these notes include over a hundred notes central to a lawsuit in which I am currently involved.

 

I have no idea when this happened.  I just did a search for one of these notes last week and realized that not only was it missing but all my local notes were missing.  It could have happened last week, last month, 3 months ago, who knows?  The reason I don't know when they were trashed is because I have had Evernote support advise me to reinstall Evernote on multiple occasions over the years.  And I've also done upgrades over the years.

 

I have been in touch with Evernote support, but they don't hold out much hope that this data will ever be recovered because I don't know when it was lost, and therefore to restore the files from an old backup is extremely difficult.  Evernote support contacts me once or maybe twice a week (I am a Premium user), and never anything beyond an Email.

 

In the last Email they said I need to just start doing manually searches in up to four possible folder locations (HOW IS IT THAT EVERNOTE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW WHERE THESE BACKFILES SHOULD BE??) and I just need to go day-by-day search old backups in each of the four locations until I find them.  I've been working on this problem for two weeks now, and it has eaten up more hours than I know.

 

The most irritating response I have received back is "well you should have backed up your local notebooks and put them somewhere safe before you ever did a reinstall."  Well clearly.  But the question is WHY or HOW would I know to do that?  Consider:

 

  • I have received multiple support Emails from Evernote on other issues that told me to just go ahead and reinstall Evernote and that would fix my problem.  I don't remember any big warnings about serious data loss in any of those Emails.
     
  • I set up these notebooks as local a long time ago, on a particular day and then forgot about it.  The local/synchronized issue isn't forefront in any user's mind because it's not something they deal with more than once.  Or at least they won't deal with it more than once unless Evernote trashes all their data.  So expecting a user to always remain cognizant of something they did in a couple seconds years ago is unrealistic.
     
  • Why, during the installation process, doesn't Evernote perform a check for local notebooks and then abandon the installation when it finds those notebooks, and then ask the user to either delete or backup before proceeding?
     
  • One answer to the question directly above is that Evernote doesn't even know where those notebooks are located.  As I said earlier, Evernote support has suggested three possible locations where those notebooks might be located.  And that location isn't determined by the user, but by Evernote itself.  
     

The really unbearable thing in all this is that Evernote could certainly perform a check for local notebooks during the installation process, but they don't.  I've been researching this issue in the Evernote forums and elsewhere and I am seeing a lot of people who have lost their most valuable information this way.  And I am reading many posts on this issue that go back years.

 

I actually had to give a presentation to Chicago Tribune reporters on using Evernote in their work, and a big question that came up was security.  I discussed local notebooks and that answer satisfied many of them who have since started using Evernote (I was giving this presentation because am I developer for an Evernote product that I want them to buy).  Now I have to go back to this whole group and share the terror of this story.  There goes the Chicago Tribune account.  But that is nothing compared to the data I lost.

 

 

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Is there a unique term in any of the notes that you have lost that you could search your backups for? A social security number or a password or something?

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Is there a unique term in any of the notes that you have lost that you could search your backups for? A social security number or a password or something?

For specific notes, yes.  The problem is that I can't possibly remember all the notes that were in those notebooks (or notebook, I can't remember).  Some notes pertained to my lawsuit, some were tax related, some where Emails, and there were probably 10s of important notes I'm forgetting.  It was my high security depository of very important notes.  I might be able to retrieve some of them using a social security number, but I'd never be able to retrieve all of them with this method because I don't even know what was stored there.

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But if you can find one in your backups then you should be able to identify the location.

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The most irritating response I have received back is "well you should have backed up your local notebooks and put them somewhere safe before you ever did a reinstall."  Well clearly.  But the question is WHY or HOW would I know to do that?

In today's day & age, it doesn't require being a rocket scientist (NPI) to figure out that one should backup anything important that's on ones computer. Consider if your computer were lost or stolen? Or the hard drive crashed? Sorry you lost your data. But computers are such an integral part of most peoples' lives today that not doing regular backups is akin to ignoring auto, health or home maintenance & then having something go terribly wrong that could have been prevented with proper maintenance.

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The most irritating response I have received back is "well you should have backed up your local notebooks and put them somewhere safe before you ever did a reinstall."  Well clearly.  But the question is WHY or HOW would I know to do that?

In today's day & age, it doesn't require being a rocket scientist (NPI) to figure out that one should backup anything important that's on ones computer. Consider if your computer were lost or stolen? Or the hard drive crashed? Sorry you lost your data. But computers are such an integral part of most peoples' lives today that not doing regular backups is akin to ignoring auto, health or home maintenance & then having something go terribly wrong that could have been prevented with proper maintenance.

 

Helpful.  Is that what you tell to all the people that repeatedly have this problem in Evernote?  As I said in my post, 1) Conta to what you just wrote, I DO do regular backups and I have those backups.  That isn't the problem.  2) I had no idea these local notebooks were being wiped out every time Evernote told me to do a reinstall.  I just received a notice this morning to do an Evernote re-install.  That notice didn't mention anywhere that all my local notebooks would be wiped out; 3) Creating a local notebook was a one-second step I took years ago and can't recall every second of my day years later--no human being can.

 

The point is that it strikes me a very easy problem to solve within Evernote software.  And what's infinitely worse is that it's Evernote's own software that is destroying my data.  My computer didn't crash, I didn't accidentally trash a file.  Evernote did this behind the scenes on a reinstall (according to what support told me). I don't know why they don't fix this, especially when I'm reading so many people going through the same problem.  

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Is that what you tell to all the people that repeatedly have this problem in Evernote?

It's what I tell anyone who has important data on their computer, regardless what apps they use. And if they are having "this problem repeatedly", they need to ramp up their backups b/c they must not be backing up the correct stuff or often enough.

 

1) Conta to what you just wrote, I DO do regular backups and I have those backups.

Then you should be able to recover your local notebooks from your backups. I try to keep backups for at least a year. If it's been so long that you no longer have that backup then I would suggest one of two things. Either it really wasn't that important (b/c you didn't notice it missing for so long) or else follow the not having all your eggs in one basket theory, which is another thing I do. Anything that's really important for me to remember is stored in at least two places. Stuff happens & software & hardware fail each & every day. In today's digital age, it's easy to make digital copies or have things stored in multiple apps as a CYA approach. I have lost much data over the decades. But I've often said each time I've lost data, my backup routine gets better.

 

The point is that it strikes me a very easy problem to solve within Evernote software. And what's infinitely worse is that it's Evernote's own software that is destroying my data. My computer didn't crash, I didn't accidentally trash a file. Evernote did this behind the scenes on a reinstall (according to what support told me). I don't know why they don't fix this, especially when I'm reading so many people going through the same problem.

The instances I cited are not the only reasons for needing a backup. Yes, it's bad if a software upgrade destroys data. But...that's why one makes backups.

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Burgers and Fries wrote:

 

I try to keep backups for at least a year. If it's been so long that you no longer have that backup then I would suggest one of two things. Either it really wasn't that important (b/c you didn't notice it missing for so long) 

 

I had in those lost notebooks notes from a meeting concerning the buyout of my old company that has now figured into a lawsuit.  That is just one example.  Who are you to tell users that their notes aren't important because they didn't notice it missing for so long?  Ideally, I would never need to look up the notes from that meeting ever again, but the point is you don't know when you will need information of that nature.

 

I presume you are not an employee of Evernote?  Because the idea of an Evernote employee telling a user his notes aren't important because he doesn't use them often enough would be beyond the pale.

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Burgers and Fries wrote:

 

I try to keep backups for at least a year. If it's been so long that you no longer have that backup then I would suggest one of two things. Either it really wasn't that important (b/c you didn't notice it missing for so long) 

 

I had in those lost notebooks notes from a meeting concerning the buyout of my old company that has now figured into a lawsuit.  That is just one example.  Who are you to tell users that their notes aren't important because they didn't notice it missing for so long?  Ideally, I would never need to look up the notes from that meeting ever again, but the point is you don't know when you will need information of that nature.

 

I presume you are not an employee of Evernote?  Because the idea of an Evernote employee telling a user his notes aren't important because he doesn't use them often enough would be beyond the pale.

Oh good grief. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Why does something always have to be someone else's fault?

Please note I said:

 

The instances I cited are not the only reasons for needing a backup. Yes, it's bad if a software upgrade destroys data. But...that's why one makes backups.

But yes...if you haven't needed information for a year, there's a good chance you won't need it.  OTOH, as I also said:

 

Then you should be able to recover your local notebooks from your backups. I try to keep backups for at least a year. If it's been so long that you no longer have that backup then I would suggest one of two things. Either it really wasn't that important (b/c you didn't notice it missing for so long) or else follow the not having all your eggs in one basket theory, which is another thing I do. Anything that's really important for me to remember is stored in at least two places. Stuff happens & software & hardware fail each & every day. In today's digital age, it's easy to make digital copies or have things stored in multiple apps as a CYA approach.

Any data that is very important should not be stored in only one app.  Backups of (very) important data should be kept for longer than a year, if it contains data you think you may not need two years from now.  IE, medical information from 10 years ago, insurance policies, etc.  There are documents that will probably never be deleted from my computer because I do want to retain them for a long time. I sure as heck don't put the only copies into a software app. JMO & YMMV.  But as I also said...

 

I have lost much data over the decades. But I've often said each time I've lost data, my backup routine gets better.

And finally...

 

1) Conta to what you just wrote, I DO do regular backups and I have those backups.

Then you should be able to recover your local notebooks from your backups.

Good luck.

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I had the exact same thing happen. I stored the most important information in local notebooks and they got wiped out on some upgrade, or, lately the Mac has had an annoying problem that requires reinstall. I think it was the upgrade. I am furious as I pay for premium, and this is an unacceptable problem for this product. There used to be a feature where you had a local back up, so you could use the Time Machine but they stopped that at some point. Why isn't there a simple local back up option? Even a button, if we can't have something that we can set?

 

I am looking for alternatives to Evernote and I am happy to pay for peace of mind and secure information. Did I mention I am furious? Any enterprising competitor please let us know. I would not recommend this product for a business, this is one of the basics that should be done right.

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I had the exact same thing happen. I stored the most important information in local notebooks and they got wiped out on some upgrade, or, lately the Mac has had an annoying problem that requires reinstall. I think it was the upgrade. I am furious as I pay for premium, and this is an unacceptable problem for this product. There used to be a feature where you had a local back up, so you could use the Time Machine but they stopped that at some point. Why isn't there a simple local back up option? Even a button, if we can't have something that we can set?

 

I am looking for alternatives to Evernote and I am happy to pay for peace of mind and secure information. Did I mention I am furious? Any enterprising competitor please let us know. I would not recommend this product for a business, this is one of the basics that should be done right.

 

I am sorry for your loss, and I agree that it is inexcusable for Evernote to continue to make updates when they have known that the update installer is flawed.

 

Most likely, your Local Notebooks are still there, they are just not being recognized by the new version of Evernote.

 

Before you take any further action, I recommend that you contact Evernote via Support Chat to get their immediate support in resolving your issue.  Since you are a Premium account owner, you are entitled to Chat.

 

In the meantime, if you have recent TM backups of the Evernote data folders, you will be able to recover these Local Notebooks.  But before you try, go ahead and contact Support Chat.  If they don't/can't resolve your issue, post back here and we will try to help.

 

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

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

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I had the exact same thing happen. I stored the most important information in local notebooks and they got wiped out on some upgrade, or, lately the Mac has had an annoying problem that requires reinstall. I think it was the upgrade. I am furious as I pay for premium, and this is an unacceptable problem for this product. There used to be a feature where you had a local back up, so you could use the Time Machine but they stopped that at some point. Why isn't there a simple local back up option? Even a button, if we can't have something that we can set?

 

I am looking for alternatives to Evernote and I am happy to pay for peace of mind and secure information. Did I mention I am furious? Any enterprising competitor please let us know. I would not recommend this product for a business, this is one of the basics that should be done right.

 

I am sorry for your loss, and I agree that it is inexcusable for Evernote to continue to make updates when they have known that the update installer is flawed.

 

Most likely, your Local Notebooks are still there, they are just not being recognized by the new version of Evernote.

 

Before you take any further action, I recommend that you contact Evernote via Support Chat to get their immediate support in resolving your issue.  Since you are a Premium account owner, you are entitled to Chat.

 

In the meantime, if you have recent TM backups of the Evernote data folders, you will be able to recover these Local Notebooks.  But before you try, go ahead and contact Support Chat.  If they don't/can't resolve your issue, post back here and we will try to help.

 

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

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

 

Criminy, I had no idea there was chat for problems like this.  It took more than two weeks of 1 or 2 Emails a day to solve this with Evernote's Email support.  It was something of a nightmare.  Thanks for the heads up!

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Hi - I'm glad you were able to get this sorted eventually.  Can you share how you resolved the issue?

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