Newbie: Some advice about the latest necessary installer upgrade and also backups

I’m kind of overwhelmed at the moment. I was getting along writing some content in Obsidian but life knocked me off that for a few months. I come back, and there’s the whole issue of the new release that says I need a major installer update and they say in the note that I must manually download and reinstall Obsidian. That sounds like a fraught process…

I went to look at releases and that only confused me more - my existing version is v.1.1.9 in the app which I believe is a match to the latest release?!? My installer is 0.13.23. I saw some mention of a v21 for the installer… maybe that’s a part of the need.

Here’s my concern:

  1. Will upgrading impact my content? Is there anything in the install process that might have me accidentally create a second install instead and how would I avoid that?

  2. I don’t want (yet) to use Git or any service. Money and brain time are in short supply, partly because of illness. So what’s the best way to backup my existing work before I attempt this upgrade?

  3. Is there a doc or link I haven’t found yet to describe in detail what the Installer will want me to do (what info I need to have at hand before I start)?

  4. I’m no sure if this matters but I’m on Win 10 stuck for no clear reason at 1909 and a slightly corrupted version (I can’t run most system management stuff even trying as admin - I get error conditions indicating 0xc0000102 which indicates corruption but I’m unclear if it is hardware or gunked up updates from Windows). So I’m concerned if I try to install the new installer and it depend on ANYTHING from windows features that might not work, where will that leave me?

I do know this box needs wiped, maybe a new hard drive for a good measure, and a reinstall to get past Win 10 1909. But the data cleanout is… huge so it’ll take me some time. Would it be a good idea to stay at the current Obsidian level for now ad just copy the vault? (And do I just take the entire vault directory or more or less? anything from outside of that I need to get?)

Right now, my short term goals are to survive some outside world stuff while trying to offload all content from my ailing machine. I’m unsure if I should attempt the Obsidian installer update (and manual reinstall of Obsidian?) or just figure out how to save on an external drive all the key content (vault? other stuff?) and worry about a fresh install and content load from the external drive after I get Win 10 rebuilt from scratch clean?

Any advice and help appreciated. I’m an experienced software dev by trade, but illness has given me some brain fog times where I’m about as sharp as a bag of wet mice. Otherwise I wouldn’t have asked for the help but my burnt brain is suffering and help could get me past the bariers.

Thanks in advance.

Obsidian is an Electron app which (as you may know), means it’s like a web app packaged in its own browser. The installer version refers to the “browser”, which Obsidian can’t update itself. That’s why we have this unfortunate 2-layered update system. The v21 you saw is the Electron version. I think the installer version number matches the app version when you download it, or the app version from when the installer last changed (and then stays static in your installation until you reinstall). I’m currently on Obsidian v1.0.3 and installer 1.0.0. Here’s the help section about installer versions: Update Obsidian - Obsidian Help

I’m on Mac, and I haven’t done the most recent installer update yet, but I remember the process being pretty smooth. Possibly I had to re-grant system permissions to Obsidian (like permission to do notifications), but I don’t actually remember if it uses any, and if so whether I had to re-grant them.

Your installer version is very outdated. Normally I’d say you should update it ASAP, but given your circumstances, if nothing seems broken you may as well wait until you deal with your computer problems.

No. As far as I know the installation process doesn’t touch your vaults. But of course you should have backups anyway.

The installation process isn’t really interactive (at least on Mac), and I’ve never ended up with >1 install.

You can just copy your vault folder(s) to another place.

If you don’t have a general backup system, that’s common but very risky. Here’s a starting point: Home | World Backup Day — March 31st (their bare minimum recommendation is to copy everything to an external drive once a year, which is way less than ideal but way better than doing nothing).

I don’t think there is. As I mentioned, I think the installer doesn’t ask anything. On Mac, if I remember right, I just double-click the installer and maybe press a confirmation button.

I suspect you don’t need to worry about this breaking Obsidian, but it would make me nervous anyway. As I said, if Obsidian is working you may as well just wait to upgrade until you’ve sorted that out.

I don’t mean to harp, but I imagine having backups would simplify things. (Maybe something else makes it difficult; you don’t need to explain or justify your setup to me.)

Just the vault directory — that contains all of your notes and vault configuration. Obsidian does store some stuff in a system place, but I think it’s just caches and indexes, and the File Restore files. If you want them, I think the locations have been mentioned on the forum (or maybe on Discord).

Good luck with your computer, health, and outside world stuff!


Another newbie confused by installer upgrades. I am now running 1.1.9 however the relevant entry from Preferences > About has this

but the release notes at Obsidian Release v1.1.9 has this

One says “up-to-date” the other says “requires downloading the latest installer”. Misleading at best confusing at worst.

So which is it? Do I, having updated Obsidian, now have to go update the installer as well? It would help if updating Obsidian updated the installer at the same time which would then eliminate this cognitive clash. And if the update process already does that then information displayed by Preferences > About need to be corrected too.

I think they mean that getting the latest installer with Electron v21 requires downloading the latest installer, not that Obsidian v1.1.9 requires it (tho it’s a good idea to do it).

See the post before yours (and the help file it links to) for more info about why we have this installer awkwardness.

Doesn’t the need to upgrade Obsidian and subsequently the installer break your statement

I’ve never ended up with >1 copies of Obsidian installed on my computer, which is what I took the question I was answering to mean.

If you are on MacOS, this will mean that you re-install Obsidian from the newest installer at So you never have two installs. When you update Obsidian internally (meaning, from within Settings > About), you are just applying an internal update on the app, similar as updating apps from the App Store. I hope that makes it clear.

In other words ignore the Preferences > About > Check for Updates other than to deliberately follow the link to

I too have been very confused about this. Especially when the release notes say I need a new “installer” with a link to the download link, and after I download an install I have no idea if I met the requirements to update to the new “installer”, whatever that is.

How did you determine that you met the requirements when you first installed Obsidian?

For the installer, yes. The “Check for updates” button checks for the app, which updates more often than the installer. The app and installer versions don’t have to match exactly. Update Obsidian - Obsidian Help

I think you’re right. Most of the updates will come this way. I don’t download new installers until it is suggested as part of an update. If for some reason I am required/encouraged to update installers (e.g. changes in Electron versions), then I go and download new installers.

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Below are the instructions from the release notes. If you follow the link, there is absolutely no mention of how to download the required installer. So, if I download the package, does that include the installer for Electron v21 (whatever that is)? Sorry, this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but we just can’t assume everyone is a developer.

What’s new in v1.1.9

Released December 23, 2022

The Installer has been updated to use Electron v21 (requires downloading the latest Installer from

The release notes could be clearer, and should link to the explanation at Update Obsidian - Obsidian Help because having to update the installer is weird. But anyone who wants to update on desktop has already installed Obsidian once by clicking the big button labeled “Get Obsidian” (or one of the smaller links under it), then double-clicking the resulting file to install Obsidian. I’d hope they would recognize the word “installer” as meaning that file. (But humans are only human, and I’ve used computers for many years, so I don’t know.)

Thanks, CawlinTeffid! :slightly_smiling_face:

The IT mess here has a long story and was made more complex by getting married and having many extra devices of heterogenous nature plus even a Mac. And I already had more than a double handful of devices. And among the external and internal drives, I think I’m now around 30 Tb.

I’ve got drives from machines where the drives have partially failed, I’ve got drives where the drive is okay but the OS borked, and I’ve got drives that are just on old OSes. The mix runs the gamut from XP SP3 (I don’t think I have my Win95 or Win NT 3.5 or NT 4 machines anymore) and includes Vista, Win 7 (several variations), Win 8.2, Win 10, Ubuntu with XFCE, another Ubuntu, iOS in multiple flavours, Android in multiple flavours, etc.

I have a lot of backups, some that are magtape, some on 3.5s, some on zip drives, etc. in addition to internal and external drives. Oh, and I’ve tried various backup strategies (I have a bunch of TrueCrypts I can’t access due to a long window of non-use just after a major password change and being so careful I didn’t write them down and I’m going to take another shot at brute forcing it with more CPU power one day soon, and I’ve got an SVN repository with a lot of stuff in it and the drive and the OS partially failed and I can’t run the TSVN server to get the password it holds…).

I’ve never had the time and money to solve the whole mess but I have made multiple starts…

My current effort is to get all the key content files from all the most critical drives into an organized heirarchy in a JBOD 4 bay unit that’s already got 22 Tb and has room for two more drives. The locate/resolve multiple files/categorize and store is… a long, slow process. When I get partway along, the most important stuff (legal, financial, key data, photos) will be pushed to the ASUStor NAS. I will also zip that, encrypt, and send to Google Drive or AWS for offsite storage.

I was supposed to be fairly far along this last fall and winter, but it looks more like the 80/20 on this task looks like 80% complete around May 2023.

I was asking about what I needed from the vault directories or beyond was from my getting stung by the SVN disaster. I had been told you took the directory, you had the whole thing. Turns out there’s a key stored in the SVN server that you need to. So I had backup the SVN repository and can’t access it currently (maybe never). So that’s why I was waiting to backup my vault until I knew exactly what files I needed to send into an external drive and the JBOD array. Now that you’ve told me what I need, I’ll back up the vault.

Finishing the clean out of the troubled machine may take a few more weeks then it will go in to get a new hard drive and a renewed and up to date Win 10.

It seems from what you’ve suggested that I could really not bother about Electron 21 now as I have the latest Obsidian, I could back up the Vault to be careful, and then I should just go ahead getting the dodgy Win10 machine emptied of content and then sent for a mindwipe and rebuild.

That seems workable.

I will look at what it might take to just update the Installer to Electron 21 (I think you gave me a link that could make that happen) and if I understand correctly, I already have the current Obsidian release itself, so that might be doable without too much diversion from the cleanup and extraction of data off that system.

I’m only one guy and my wife and daughter generate photos, downloads, documents, etc. as does my father-in-law and my mother and I’m trying to get the household backup/repository organized and my own pile of unreconciled drives is on that list also.

Far from great, but at least I have a plan and am part way along… if life would just freeze for 2 months where I could do things and everyone else could not change or add anything… LOL.

Thanks for your help and also to others who helped answer my question. I will read the links, see if I have any minor questions, and then I’ll close the topic.

Wow. I haven’t finished moving everything from my old computer to my new one because my old setup was a little overcomplicated, so I can sympathize — but also your situation makes mine look a lot less daunting. :sweat_smile:

Updating the installer should be simple — it’s the same process as installing Obsidian in the first place.

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