Obsidian updated to 1.1.15 and deleted my vault

Opened Obsidian today to discover the default screen and my vault missing from the left-hand recently opened panel. I have searched my entire PC for known filenames, and they are missing completely. I didn’t have Sync turned on, I hadn’t even signed up/logged-in in the app.

I checked %APPDATA% and found a lot of references in a partially-readable log file, including some content, so if I have to I can pull data from there - but at this moment I’m not sure if it’s all there or just some amount of recent changes.

I also found a .ldb file with around 1.5MB of data in it, and most of the files in the %APPDATA%\Cache folder are decently sized, so I copied those out to a safe folder as well.

Can anyone advise on a utility that can be used to read the contents of the .ldb file or the cache files? I’m not too familiar with Electron so I’m not sure how to decode the ldb or cache files.

Thanks! In the future I will definitely make sure to backup my folders since apparently Obsidian can and will delete your files as it sees fit.

Edit: I will also add there were no saved snapshots - I left those settings on default on the initial install so there should’ve been something from the last week, but there were no saved snapshots.

I closed your other duplicate thread.

Can you share any more info? What OS, Windows? Where was your vault stored? Was it in a syncing tool? (iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, SyncThing, etc.)

Do you remember what plugins you had installed?


I am on Windows 10 Pro 19045.2604. I wasn’t using any plugins, and the only syncing tool was Backblaze (although I don’t think that’s quite the same as a “normal” sync tool). I’ve searched through my backed up files but there’s quite a few folders to go through and I’ll do more looking tomorrow.

As for where the vault was stored, that’s part of the problem - I can’t remember! I only dealt with the files through Obsidian. I’ve searched my computer from end to end for any and all Markdown files or a leftover .obsidian folder and I can’t find anything.

I also used the Microsoft winfr tool but it only recovered a file that I for sure remember deleting out of Obsidian myself a week or two ago.

Is there any way to possibly decode the .ldb or cache files and see if there’s usable data in there?

No I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about the .ldb or cache files. It’s good that you copied them just in case they are useful.

But… if you can’t remember where your vault was, do you remember what it was called? Is there any chance you were using the “Sandbox Vault” The one that has some intro help files? Or did you create your own new vault?

If you were using the Sandbox Vault, that vault is designed to reset itself.

Hmm…perhaps I was using the Sandbox without realizing it? If that’s the case, do you know where the files are saved when using the Sandbox? If they are written as normal md files to the disk but in a temp folder or something, perhaps I can pull them out of my backups.

OK another update: I was able to use my backup service to step back a couple days to just before the 1.1.9 → 1.1.15 update, and found the previous version of obsidian.json that lists the vaults. That had the path to the original vault I created - I wasn’t using the Sandbox after all - and I was able to pull all the files from my backup to restore my data.

Unfortunately, this means that Obsidian did 100% in fact poof my data when it self-updated from 1.1.9 to 1.1.15. If there’s any information the devs would like to investigate this and prevent it from happening to others, I will do my best to provide logs or other files or whatever - and I will definitely be more vigilant about double-backing-up my files from now on!

Glad you found your data!

I don’t think you can draw that conclusion quite yet. If you don’t mind, can we explore a bit more:

  1. So now that you see the path in the json list, where was it stored? What was the path to your vault?

  2. Paste your “Show debug info”. Now that you have the vault back, I’d like to see that.

  1. The path was C:\Users\[my username]\Desktop[…subfolders]\[vault]

(subfolders and vault title contain undisclosed project titles for some clients)

  1. here is my debug info:
	Obsidian version: v1.1.15
	Installer version: v1.1.8
	Operating system: Windows 10 Pro 10.0.19045
	Login status: not logged in
	Insider build toggle: off
	Live preview: on
	Legacy editor: off
	Base theme: dark
	Community theme: none
	Snippets enabled: 0
	Restricted mode: on


I’d suspect your Desktop folder before I suspected Obsidian. I would never keep client work (or anything, personally) in my Desktop folder.

I see link results like this where windows update wipes the Desktop. Windows update deleted all files from my desktop. It sounds like Windows created a “temporary profile” for this particular user, and the data was recoverable. The video in that link might help you find where your files originally went.

I don’t know if any of this stuff is true or not, but here are some additional warnings about using Desktop as a place to store files: https://www.pcworld.com/article/444451/the-pros-and-cons-mostly-cons-of-saving-files-to-the-desktop.html

Look, I don’t have a foot in this fight any more - I got my files back, and I’ll continue using Obsidian honestly because I like the program (just with more caution around backups).

But there are no temporary profiles, no windows update before the files were lost, no windows system restore was done (from the pcworld article), and I’ve never had a problem with individual subfolders disappearing from the Desktop while others remain untouched in 25+ years of pc use.

Additionally, even if there were some possible issue around Windows profiles or the Desktop folder, what are the chances that it happens to only affect one specific subfolder of files that also happens to be used exclusively by another program which just completed a 6-minor-version update? None of the other subfolders adjacent to the obsidian vault were affected - or any other data that I’m aware of, for that matter.

I’m not saying these things to make some kind of point, I just want to make sure the devs are aware that this happened. I can’t be sure, but if I had to guess it’s because I’m not signed in and receiving Insider updates, so according to the update log it was a big jump (1.1.9 → 1.1.15).

Anyway like I said before, if there’s any other information you’d like for the purposes of investigating this issue, I’m happy to provide it.

Where were your files after they disappeared, again?

It’s possible that you or another app or service moved or renamed your vault, meaning that Obsidian no longer knew where it was and stopped reporting it on the vault list.

Sure, it’s noted. It just doesn’t have any possible explanation at the moment and is the only report we’ve had of this kind of behaviour.

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