Moved vault within Mac - cascade of errors

Hi. I’m brand new to Obsidian. This happened while writing maybe my 6th note. Today I moved my vault on my Mac from my Documents folder to a subfolder within the Documents folder. This made everything break, causing a cascade of error messages and disappeared notes. I quit Obsidian and restarted and it didn’t think I had a vault at all and started the steps to walk me through setting one up as if none existed.

I moved my vault back to its original place, everything worked again. Sorry if this is a really dumb question, I truly have no idea what I’m doing and this completely freaked me out. What is possible and impossible in moving a vault? How do I move my vault without causing this problem?

This is on an up to date Mac with up to date Obsidian. Thanks!

First steps!

  • backup your vault! Zip it up and copy it somewhere safe, just in case. (Always backup.)
  • You mentioned using the Documents folder. This is important: Was your vault INSIDE the Documents folder, or were you using ~/Documents AS your vault?
    • If you were using Documents as your vault, moving your vault is going to be trickier, because you need to move your hidden .obsidian settings folder too. You can move your notes only, but you’ll get completely fresh settings.
    • You can’t follow the A) “Move vault” steps below if you used the Documents folder, because that is a built-in folder in MacOS.
    • To be clear, using ~/Documents as a vault is possible but probably a bad idea. It’s better to choose a custom folder somewhere, so that it is a single folder you can move, backup, etc.

Did you have Obsidian open when you moved the vault? And did you move the vault using Finder? If you moved it using Finder, Obsidian isn’t aware of what you did, so it will appear like the vault became empty.

Try one of these ways:

A) Using Obsidian:

  1. First you have to close the vault you want to move.
  2. Open “Open another vault” window.
  3. Beside your vault name there is a 3-dot menu … click that and “Move vault”.
  4. That way Obsidian will move your vault and keep track of the new location.

B) Using Finder:

  1. I’ll repeat, backup first, just in case.
  2. CLOSE your vault, and CLOSE Obsidian.
  3. Move the vault somewhere.
  4. Now Obsidian won’t know where your vault is. You have to navigate back to it.
  5. Open Obsidian.
  6. Choose “Open folder as vault” and then navigate to the new folder location. It should open just fine.

C) If you were using ~/Documents directly as your vault folder:

  1. Backup!
  2. Close your vault, and close Obsidian.
  3. Make a new folder somewhere and call it whatever you want. “MyNotes”, whatever.
  4. Move your .md notes and any attachments out of Documents into MyNotes.
  5. Show hidden folders with Cmd-Shift-.
  6. Move the hidden .obsidian folder from Documents to MyNotes
  7. Open Obsidian.
  8. Choose “Open folder as vault” and then navigate to the new folder location. It should open just fine.
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Thank you so much! This is extremely helpful!

Luckily I’m not using my Documents folder as my vault. My vault is just a file within the Documents folder. But I didn’t realize that to move it I need to use one of the methods you described. Thank you!

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