[Solved] Disaster Recovery - where does Joplin store its database?


I have a bit of a situation on my hands. I had an old Windows 7 OS implode about two months back. It imploded so spectacularly that I was unable to boot back into the system despite several days of trying, and had to wipe it and start over. Fortunately, I keep nothing of value on the OS drive (everything is backed up, synchronized to the cloud, or on a separate partition or disk). The only exception to this was my Joplin installation - not synced to the cloud, not backed up or exported.

I do have the user documents and settings folder from that Win7 install, including AppData Roaming and AppData Local, but little else. Unfortunately, when browsing for Joplin files within, I do not see anything resembling an SQL database, at least not by file extension.

I attempted to install the current version of Joplin on my (now revived) system on Windows 10 and tried dropping in my AppData Roaming folder, but this had no effect. I then uninstalled that and attempted to install from an “installer” file that, for some reason, was sitting in my Roaming folder (an auto-downloaded update, I assume). When I attempted this, I got a version conflict error as follows:

Joplin Error

I tried replacing the AppData - Local - Programs - Joplin folder with the one from my Win7 install, but the error persisted.

As this installer file is dated October 2018, but the other files in my install are from Feb 2018, my guess is that I need to track down an earlier installer that will match my version. So after that long introduction, I have two questions:

1.) How do I determine the version number I need from these few files I have remaining?
2.) Where and how did Joplin store its database files in February 2018? Please tell me they’re sitting right there in AppData just in a pre-SQL implementation or something. I just want a raw text dump of my old notes, there weren’t all that many and I am happy to reimport them into a new (backed up!) installation manually.

I don’t see an SQL database file in the Roaming files, just some Cache folders and an empty Local Storage and logs folder:

Roaming Folder 1
Roaming Folder 2

The Local folder looks like this:

Thank you for reading, if you can help me solve this puzzle I would be most grateful. This is literally the only relatively important thing in my digital life that I did not have a backup solution for. Lesson learned, but it would be nice to get those notes back.


I tracked it down! A little further digging around in the forum revealed that the default windows location for the database is in fact User -> .config . Dropped those files into a fresh installation and I am right as rain, all my notes are safe. Sorry to start a new thread for something so seemingly trivial.

All’s well that ends well! Looking forward to digging in and syncing across all my devices - I’ve been without a good note-taking app for some time.


Glad you figured that out. One thing I’ve always done is keep a couple flash drives handy with Linux live installs on them. They’re useful when a Windows install fails because they’re mostly functional and allow you to basically back door boot into your system, mount the Windows hard drive, and recover and backup files. It just requires learning basic linux commands and knowing how to install a small handful of software that doesn’t normally come pre-installed.

Was updating everything to the latest release of Joplin pretty smooth overall?

If you haven't discovered it already I would suggest occasionally making a JEX backup of your notes and resources and storing it in a safe place (i.e. not on the computer where Joplin resides).

File > Export > JEX - Joplin Export File

This produces a single compressed file containing a plaintext copy of each of your notes and a "Resources" folder containing, funnily enough, all your resources / attachments. If you associate the JEX extension with a compression program, such as 7-Zip, you can even click the JEX file to open it and have a rummage through. The files all have Joplin's internal reference as their file name but I guess that is so that if you restore a backup into Joplin all the links between the notes and resources will still work!



Having a JEX backup handy has saved me several times when I have done something that, with hindsight, could at best be described as stupid...


Thanks @dpoulton, I’ll keep that in mind and be sure to make an occasional JEX backup.