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Why am I getting the message "Attached file could not be found. It may have been moved or deleted." when I try to open a file on a synced computer?

If file syncing isn't set up or working properly, or you've reached your online file storage quota, files may be missing on some of your synced computers. Follow these steps to diagnose and fix the problem:

  1. Make sure the attachment file is accessible from Zotero on at least one of your computers. We'll refer to the computer with the file as Computer A and the computer that doesn't as Computer B.
  2. Make sure the attachment is stored within your Zotero data directory, not linked to a location elsewhere on your disk. Zotero syncs stored files; linked files need to be synced outside of Zotero. Linked files are indicated by a chain in the attachment icon.
  3. Make sure Computer A has file syncing enabled and is syncing properly. If there's a sync error, indicated by an error icon to the left of the green sync icon in the Zotero toolbar, files may not be transferred. Click the sync error icon and follow the instructions. If you need help, please report the error on the Zotero Forums.
  4. If you're not getting a sync error on Computer A, verify that the file has been uploaded to the server. The steps vary depending on whether you're using Zotero Storage or WebDAV:
    • Zotero Storage: Check to see if the attachment file is accessible from your library on Attachment files will be directly viewable if they have been uploaded — the presence of an attachment item isn't an indication that the file itself has been uploaded. If you're using a group, the group must have File Editing enabled in its settings on, which isn't possible for Public, Open Membership groups.
    • WebDAV: In Zotero on Computer A, click Show File to reveal the file in the OS file manager (Finder on macOS, Explorer on Windows, etc.). Look at the name of the file's parent directory, which should be a string of characters such as 'F81VWFP2'. Load your WebDAV URL in your browser or another WebDAV client and look for corresponding .prop and .zip files (e.g., F81VWFP2.prop and on the server.
  5. If the file hasn't been uploaded correctly but syncing completes on Computer A without a sync error, go to the Sync → Reset pane of the Zotero preferences on Computer A and select Reset File Sync History for the library in question. (Do not use any other options in the Reset pane.) Resetting file sync history shouldn't be necessary under normal usage, but it will cause Zotero to check every attachment to make sure that it has been uploaded to the server. If the file becomes available online, continue to the next step. If not, provide a Debug ID for the first sync after performing Reset File Sync History, followed by a successful opening of the file locally, and post it to the Zotero Forums. For Zotero Storage, include the URL from the web library where you're not able to access the file.
  6. If the file has been uploaded but is still inaccessible from Computer B, there may be a problem on that computer. Check the file sync settings in the Sync pane of the Zotero preferences to confirm that they match the settings on Computer A. For example, if one computer is set to use Zotero Storage and another is set to use WebDAV, or if they're configured with different Zotero accounts (for personal library files) or different WebDAV URLs, files won't transfer between the two.
  7. Sync Computer B and check if there's a sync error. If so, you'll need to resolve that before file syncing will work.
  8. If you've performed all these steps, see the file on the server, and still can't access the file on Computer B, then go to the Sync → Reset pane of the Zotero preferences on Computer B, choose Reset File Sync History, generate a Debug ID for the next sync attempt and an attempt to open the file, and post the Debug ID to the Zotero Forums. Do not use any other options in the Reset pane.
kb/files_not_syncing.txt · Last modified: 2021/03/28 14:34 by dstillman