Disappearing note; how to recover?

I just had a note–arguably the most important note in my database–disappear. It’s one in which I deposit ideas for my next papers. I had copied into a lot of notes from previous years and then deleted the sources. And I have recently added a lot of important thoughts. I have it open a lot, on both my home and office machines. I know that I saw it open in a tab (though I didn’t edit it) as recently as three days ago. The last time I edited it was probably a week or so ago. Today, I went to open it and it was just…gone. Nowhere to be seen in my vault. It wasn’t in the Obsidian trash (hidden files). It wasn’t in the Trash on my mac. It just vanished. Because the note itself vanished, I can’t even use the File Recovery system to look at snapshots (the note is also not visible there). All I found was a rogue blank note that says it was created two days ago that is called “paper i” (the file I’m looking for was called “Paper ideas”). I’m not sure if this is related or if it was just an old file I forgot about. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to go about recovering this note? I wouldn’t go to the trouble, except that this file is really important…and now I’m very concerned about the security of my notes on Obsidian.

Thanks, Siiraa. I did look in the local trash, the Obsidian trash, and my cloud storage trash, and the note was not in any of them. However, for anyone else who might have this problem: the note seems to have reappeared. I immediately turned off cloud syncing once I noticed that the note was gone and then was able to find a copy on my office computer (in the regular Obsidian files, not trash). I turned syncing back on and, oddly enough, the note didn’t disappear again. So I’m not sure what exactly the problem was. But for anyone who has a similar disappearing-note problem, I would suggest, in addition to all the traditional file recovery strategies, to both (a) turn off syncing if you use Obsidian on multiple devices and (b) wait!

Glad it is back!

Right now, if your notes look good: in the Finder, right click on your vault folder and copypaste item into your home folder/on a external drive/anywhere outside the cloud sync folder, and add a date to it MYVAULT-2023-06-18-0930. You can create as many backups as you want, at any time, by doing this.

Now is the time to review what service you are using for sync and make sure it’s set up correctly. I assume iCloud? If you let us know, we might be able to offer advice on the best settings.

Also, it’s time to setup a backup plan, separate from iCloud/OneDrive/etc.

Great suggestion, thanks. Done. I had started the process of doing a full-system backup, but it makes sense to also (and more often) just save a copy of my vault (which is not unmanageably large) to my hard drive.

I am using iCloud. I’ve been using Obsidian with iCloud for about four months, and haven’t had any issues so far. But if you have a suggestion for any tweaks to the standard setup, I’d appreciate it. I do use Obsidian on both my home and office computers, and sometimes leave notes open on one computer when I head to the next one; so maybe that’s creating an issue? I was just hoping to not have to deal with any fussiness about having to perfectly close everything twice a day. So far it’s worked, but I also don’t want to lose any other notes…

When I used iCloud for my main vault, I usually had it running on both macs with multiple windows open, and don’t remember any troubles. So that should be fine.

As for settings, iCloud doesn’t really have many, but I would set System Settings > AppleID > iCloud → “Optimize Mac Storage” to OFF for both macs if it isn’t already. Having this off will make sure all your files are stored locally as well as in iCloud.

For backups, there are automated solutions, but even setting a reminder for yourself once a week to make a copy of the vault (discussed above) and put it somewhere outside of iCloud is better than nothing.

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