Lost my data on 15.6 update

Things I have tried

Hi, I had about six months worth of data that seems to be gone after v0.15.6 release. I tried quitting and restarting Obsidian, but no luck in finding the old files/vault.

What I’m trying to do

I used whatever tutorial vault came with Obsidian as my main vault.
I restarted my computer today, and I think it triggered the new version of Obsidian to install itself. Once I opened Obsidian after restarting my computer, the original Obsidian vault with all of my data was no longer there. Only a blank new vault.

Is there anything I can do to retrieve my old data?

Do you have a computer system backup where you could restore the folder containing the vault?

you should not use the help vault/sandbox vault to store your data. There are warning and popup that tell you that that vault is temporary and is overwritten.

Yeah…oops. I’m seeing that now. Does this mean that there is no way to retrieve what was previously there?

are you on win o mac?

big sur v 11.6

you can try to in /Users/yourusername/Library/Application Support/obsidian and see if there is Obsidian Help or Obsidian Sandbox and what is in there.

If they were deleted, I don’t think there’s much you can do.

Couldn’t find anything there. Welp, lesson learned. I appreciate your quick response, @WhiteNoise

Thanks, @Dave73. That is a good thought. Unfortunately, I don’t so. I think I may be out of luck. Time to rebuild and not make the same mistake in using the sandbox vault.

@WhiteNoise, how often does the sandbox vault actually get used by users for anything other than reading tutorials when getting started? Given the wealth of online resources for Obsidian, I wonder if the sandbox vault is a vestigial limb of the earlier days of Obsidian where it made sense for helping with the onboarding experience for new users. I wonder if it makes sense to make the sandbox vault read-only so people like me don’t make critical errors and lose lots of data. Granted, that was a boneheaded move on my part :see_no_evil:


In the first releases of Obsidian there was a larger sandbox called Obsidian Help. That is now available only online at help.obsidian.md. Nowadays, the sandbox vault is just a short quick start guide and used for troubleshooting.

Ouch, this is sad to read—but I’m trying to imagine not restarting your computer for six months? How is that even possible?

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Ha, that would definitely be wild. I’ve certainly restarted my computer many times over the last six months. Today was the first time this happened where the Obsidian vault I was using didn’t reload my existing data.

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I had a similar problem. My vault was set up in Obsidian Help. I didn’t have a problem with that until recently, I assume also because of the recent update. Luckily, in my case after a short panic I found the old vault in User\AppData\Roaming\obsidian\Obsidian Help (windows). Obsidian doesn’t seem to remember this file location, and would ask me to open a vault whenever I restarted the app. So I moved my vaults to a different folder.

Dear support team: In the old Obsidian Help vault, there doesn’t seem to be a warning like the one in the screenshot above. It would be helpful to get a notice before our vaults disappear.
@overZellis: Maybe, hopefully, you might find your old vault as well. Searching for a folder called “.obsidian” might help.

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My original stuff all dissappeared 2 years of uni work… im on windows… how do i restore it?!?

Using User/appdata/roaming/OBSIDIAN/obsidianhelp was a godsend. Thank you so much. This is exactly where everything was!!! I WAS TERRIFIED

I urge you: Please take this as a lesson to make proper backups of your important work!

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@Pawafallz, @tunkall – I’m glad you both were able to retrieve your data. @bpagano helped me to get auto-backups setup using Keyboard Maestro with my personal Dropbox. I intend when I come up for air from work to share back to the community here a step-by-step guide on using Keyboard Maestro to setup auto-backups. More soon, and thank you @bpagano for your help!


As promised, I wanted to share back how I set up automated backups with the help of @bpagano. I hope this helps! I have a Mac, so this is specifically how I set this up on my Mac.

Steps (for Mac)

Install & Folder Setup

  1. Install Keyboard Maestro
  2. Click Add Group and label it however you’d like. I named the folder “Obsidian”
    km group
  3. Click Add Macro (next pane to the right of Add Group). Label it however. I labeled it “Backup Obsidian Notes”

Trigger Setup

What it will look like in the end:

Steps to get to the image above

  1. Click “New Trigger” and select “Periodic Trigger”
  2. Repeat every 6 hours between 12am and 11:59pm
  3. If you’d like to be able to trigger a backup with a hotkey, add a trigger for Hot Key Trigger
  4. Click “New Action” and select “Set Variable to Text”
  5. Set the variable to whatever name you’d like. I made mine “BackupDate”
  6. In the “to” field, set this to: %ICUDateTime%yyyyMMddhhmm%
  7. Click “New Action” and select “Copy a File”
  8. In the “Copy” field, enter whatever the file path is for your Obsidian vault. To do this, go to your Finder, navigate to your Obsidian folder, right-click and hold down the “option” key, select “Copy as Pathname”. For me this was: /Users/zackellis/Library/Mobile Documents/iCloud~md~obsidian/Documents/General. I don’t remember why, but it looks like I got rid of “/Users/zackellis” as a part of this path.
  9. Under the “to” field, add a folder path for your storage place of choice. I am syncing to my personal Dropbox account in a folder I labeled “Obsidian”. I made the to field: ~/Dropbox (Personal)/Obsidian/General%Variable%BackupDate%
    The variable in the path uses the BackupDate variable down to the minute so that I can see which vault I am backing up (my vault titled General) and the time it was synced.
  10. Hit “Record” in the bottom right, and that’s it! You now have a backup running every 6 hours (or whenever you hit the keystroke to force the backup).

Based on the above, your saved vault will start to look like this: