How to Fix Zotero


Most of my long time readers know that I used to use Zotero for collecting web information, and keeping it clipped to use as citation references for my constantly delayed college degree.

Well, a few months ago, my Windows 8.1 got somehow corrupted, and the restoring process cost me all my bookmarks and passwords, all my work in Wordsearch, and wiped out every program I’d installed. I was able to recover almost everything, but Zotero was the last one I didn’t get fixed. I was coming to the point of considering it completely unrecoverable.

I’ve finally gotten Zotero fixed, about two months ago. Let me explain how I did it.

As you know, my Windows 8.1 got corrupted by a bad install of a Microsoft update. This compounded itself by making it impossible for Avast to install a virus and program update. After 2 and a half hours of trying to install the update, my Windows ground to a halt.

I’ve described already how I got everything working, but Zotero was my last holdout.

Here’s how I fixed it.

  1. Open your data directory.
  2. Find Zotero.sqlite
  3. Rename it to Zotero.sqlite.old
  4. Go to C:Windows.old
  5. Find your Zotero backup directory
  6. Find Zotero.sqlite
  7. Copy that.
  8. Go to your current data directory
  9. Paste Zotero.sqlite into it.
  10. Open Zotero.
  11. If you’ve clipped any web pages to it, close Zotero and go back to C:Windows.old
  12. Find your storage folder
  13. Copy that.
  14. Go back to your current data directory
  15. Paste it. Yes, overwrite.
  16. Open Zotero.
  17. If they’re not there close Zotero and go back to C:Windows.old
  18. Copy Entries
  19. Go to current data directory
  20. Paste Entries. Yes, overwrite.
  21. Open Zotero.
  22. Everything is there now.

22 steps later, everything’s there. I found everything there when I did step 16. The last 6 steps I did not need to do.

I would now take all your clipped web pages and open them one at a time, clipping them into Evernote so this never happens again.

Copy and paste your current data directory into Dropbox. This way you’ll never lose Zotero again.

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