How do I move the vault to another location?

When I installed Obsidian, I listed a directory, but now I’d like to change the location of the vault. I didn’t see anything in Settings for that. I tried moving the .obsidian directory, but that didn’t help. I didn’t see anything in .obsidian/config, and removing .obsidian/cache didn’t help. Any ideas?

Your vault is just a folder on your hard drive (which contains the .obsidian folder) and you can move it wherever you want. Then use the vault switcher (the little arrow icon at the bottom left, just above settings) to point obsidian at your new folder.

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you can move your vault folder from your mac/windows file explorer.

  • Just cut and paste your folder to your desired location.
  • Open obsidian app
  • choose the new folder path as your vault directory.

Does this help ?

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Okay, yeah! The little arrow icon did it for me, thanks!

It wasn’t a directory I wanted to delete or move, but the arrow/box icon above the settings gear icon did it for me. Thanks for your help.

I am now on 0.8.0. Since May 28, the “vault switcher” with the arrow icon seems replaced by a “vault opener” with a different icon Screen Shot 2020-07-26. (When I hover, the help tip is “Open another vault”, emphasis mine.) The resulting dialog does not offer the ability to point the current vault to a new folder.

Does anyone know the new method to accomplish what the OP wanted? Am I missing a control somewhere?

I tried to move my existing vault folder to another location, and then using the vault opener to open this folder. But doing this overwrites all of my configuration (preferences, plugins, hotkeys, etc) with the defaults. This behavior is not how I think of “moving the vault”, it is more like recreating it.

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Update: I was able to use the “vault switcher” to open a moved vault folder without losing configuration. Still on 0.8.0. I don’t know what I did differently this time, but in any case this method works as described by @verma and @cjohnson318.

I am also trying to switch vaults.

I can click on the vault icon on the bottom left of my Obsidian window (on iMac running Mojave) and it says “Open another vault.” I then get three choices:
Open folder as vault
Create new vault
Open help vault

I can create a folder in Dropbox and then open it fine (first option). But what I also want to do is prevent Obsidian from opening another vault that I had set up by mistake. When I click on the “x” to close it, it says “Can’t remove a currently open vault.”

This is not what I am expecting and I am wondering what I am doing wrong. It seems to me that selecting another vault should “deactivate” the “wrong” vault and it should then be possible to unlink it from Obsidian.

Hi @JBLaing, once you have the vault switcher open, have you tried closing the “mistake” vault before trying to remove it?

Just in case you didn’t know, Obsidian will open the last vault you closed by default. Once you’re done with the “right” vault, and close it, that will be the vault that will be opened by default.

Yes. I have tried to close the “mistake” vault. Obsidian is pointed at my entire Dropbox folder. I made a folder in Dropbox and pointed Obsidian at it. That seems to work fine. I open the folder I want to link to, as you suggested, and then close it. I restart Obsidian and there are links to Obsisidan Help, the folder I want to link to, and my Dropbox folder. I am still getting a “Can’t remove a currently open vault.” message, when I try to close the Dropbox folder by clicking on the “x”. So now I am thinking of uninstalling Obsidian and starting over again, since I do not have a lot of notes yet.

Your notes would remain unaffected by uninstalling and reinstalling.

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Opening another vault simply opens another vault - it doesn’t close anything. To close a vault, without closing Obsidian, you need to have a different one open. Simplest thing to do to a vault you set up by mistake is to close Obsidian, copy any contents of the vault folder that you want to keep to a new folder, then delete the ‘wrong’ vault folder. At that point, restart Obsidian, open your wanted vault and delete the ‘wrong’ vault from the vault selector if it still appears there.

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I open the vault I want to link to. That works. But Obsidian is pointing at my entire Dropbox folder. Obsidian is not only opening the last opened vault, but the Obsidian Help folder (that is ok) and my Dropbox folder as well. I understand Dor’s comment that folder conents are unaffected by deleting and reinstalling Obsidian, but there should be a simple way to unlink Obsidian from folders. I am trying to figure out where I am messing up.

Obsidian doesn’t really point at a folder. Any folder can be made into a vault and maybe you’ve done that with your Dropbox folder. In which case there ought to be an Obsidian file at its root.

My suggestions stand. Set up new vaults outside Dropbox. Open them and close the others. You should then be able to delete the original vaults from the vault selector. If you worry this will delete the folder, test it with a dummy vault. I believe it simply deletes it as a vault.

For Obsidian not to recognise a folder as a vault, you need to delete the Obsidian files in the folder. You may also have to delete a main settings folder.

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This I’ve never seen. I’ve never had Obsidian open more than one vault when it starts.

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Thanks. Really appreciate both of your comments. This tells me that I don’t know what I am doing. Going to have a cup of Java, read the documents again and slowly try stuff out.


Edit

I have solved my problem by using Hazel, an App that is a file manager, but it can also help with deleting apps. If you open Hazel and check the “Enable App Sweep” and move Obsidian (or any other App) to the trash, it also flags connected files and allows you to cleanly delete these as well. After I used Hazel to delete Obsidian completely, and then reinstalled, everything seems fine.

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JBLaing - I’m in the same boat. I really wish somewhere, I could find documentation or tutorial on exactly what is a vault and how to manipulate it. For instance, I have 4 different sets of interests that I think should be in their own vaults. There is absolutely no possibility of overlap or backlinks within those topics, i.e. engineering, music, writing, household. I believe I should set up 4 different vaults but can’t get to square one in creating a new vault that appears as a new vault!

A vault is just a folder with .md files that you have instructed Obsidian to treat as a vault.

With new files and files without links, you can simply move them around in the OS, and go from there.

You can do that for files with links too. Complications only set in if you want to separate files with links that would then cross vaults. That’s not insurmountable either, if you nest all the old vaults into a new higher level folder/vault.

Thank you.

strangely I don’t have any little arrow icon at the bottom left… why? I am on a Mac Bigsur