This is a hard post to write (and even harder to hit the post button), because it will be my last. This is due to this issue in the PersonalBrain Issues forum. To keep a long story short, I discovered my brain had this issue, and it was pervasive. Worse yet, restoring from brainzips or rebuilding the database made it significantly worse. Going back to a prior version  doesn't resolve it. (I went back to My backup made on February 1 still contains the problem. Since then I have created over 400 thoughts, and modified over 1700.

I have made my files available to support, and have provided as much information as I am able. Hopefully this will help them resolve this issue for the others that are effected.

I love this application, and the power it places at my fingertips, but what happens when you no longer trust your trusted system? I've thought about this for a while, and even if something was provided that fixed the existing data I am simply unable to continue using it.

Enough of that.
I wanted to take a bit of time to thank this community. The information that has been discussed and documented here have gone a long way to improve my best practices in capturing information. I have tried to give back as much as I received.
I would also like to thank the people from TheBrain (no, that's not meant as a snark) who have worked hard to create and support this application, and provide multiple resources to help people use it.

I wish you all the best,


Windows 7
OSX 10.6.3
Java SE 6

Thank you for the feedback, data and helpful information.  As discussed, we'll continue troubleshooting this issue and keep you informed with our results.  You and your data are both very important to us.

Thank you,

Hopefully these serious issues that you and other users are experiencing get resolved quickly and you confidence be restored. Feel for ya, bud.

TB8022 32bit
Java 32bit Version 8 Update 141

Firefox, Office 2013 Pro Plus 32bit
64bit Win10Pro
64bit Primary Laptop, 8GB RAM, Intel Core i7
64bit Secondary Laptop, 64GB RAM, Intel Xeon E3
Brain user since zygote
It is clear to me (after a month only) that leveraging the power of PB involves many many man hours of work. Inputting your data and thinking of how to organize it is time consuming. However, it is worth it as you start to see the fruits of  your labor in increased productivity. Is is fun to add to your PB. It would be heartbreaking to loose this effort with some corruption or other problem.

New features are important but the number one feature for the product must be robustness.


PB Pro
Windows 7 x64
394 thoughts and climbing
Hi, just read Zenrain's post.  It's all very sad. What a great contributor to the forum he has been. For what it is worth, I thought I'd add my story. I began with Personal Brian 4.0 and loved it.  Gradually I added to my Brain: Life, work, eveything. Then along came v. 4.5 and one day I lost everything! I e-mailed support and sent a zip file and was told someone would get back to me; they didn't. I stopped using PB for everything as I couldn't trust the software. I paid for v. 5.0 as it seemed the issues were sorted but the loss of trust has always haunted me and apart from a few mini-brains I have not applied it to serious data management.work.
I have since followed all the Brain Issues threads hoping to see an improvement in database integrity and stability, but alas things only seem to have got worse, in particular these new issues surrounding v. 6.0.x
The concept of PB is brilliant and is 'out there' by itself, but the issues around stability and robust restore facilities are as important, if not more, to the end user than a constant round of obviously insufficiently tested, new releases. To my mind this is a testing issue and if not addressed fully and systematically will eat away at the heart of the PB community. Remember Vista!
As I said at the beginning, it's all very sad. However, this state of affairs is not irredeemable.  PB need to invest more time (= money) in rigorous testing before release to ensure consumer confidence.
Regard, Jim



Very sorry to see you go
Thanks for all your great help and contributions over the years.  You will be missed.



Needless to say I was shocked to see your post but in some way I can't say this was totally unexpected.  I hope this isn't an April Fools' joke.  I can understand your desire to not use this application based on the description you provided.  That is a lot of work you put in only to have this happen.  I applaud your patience in sticking it out this long and for being a guiding force for all forum members and visitors.

For what it is worth I would like to chime in with what JimRoss posted and say to TheBrain team "ditto."  The damage to customer trust can be be fixed but it will take a long time.  As long time users of PersonalBrain leave due to loss of trust in the application and new users come in, the repair to the damaged trust will be sped up...until it happens again perhaps.  Who knows to be honest.

I know support is doing its best to correct issues as they occur and perhaps all these posts have made a positive impact in how TheBrain team is doing things.  Again who knows.  I would say Harlan himself should post his thoughts and comments on the state of this application and how it is affecting its users.  After all, you, the paying users, have put this application on the map.  Not to sound too cliche by saying this...Power to the People!

I am glad I monitored the forums before I committed my valuable data to PersonalBrain.   Words cannot describe how disappointed I am in its stability and data integrity.  Copyright and closed source code is keeping people from going somewhere else as there aren't any other developers who make an application like PersonalBrain.  Trust me, I have looked.

Time to stop beating this dead horse.  Enough has been said. 



how do you organize yourself without PB?
im a ultrarecall user, and im interested in PB. Currently im on day 2 of the trial version.
this kind of messages shock me a lot, my plan with PB was to use it as big atachment depot (some GTD and massive recall of documentation atachments).
i hope thebrain can fix this problems asap.. im sure this is a big issue for them.

OK usually I read a lot of the posts and then just go on, but with so many people jumping on the bandwagon I am going to put my 10 cents in.

I have been a user of Personal Brain since 1997 and have not lost a brain file yet. I have been beta testing most of the products, and have had issues, but it is all in a matter of how you store your files.

This is a software product and granted that as any software product from Microsoft to Linux to IBM errors happen. No one is ignoring this errors and I am sure that support is working on the errors with the developers.

So what I am going to do is say that a backup strategy is important. I am two different systems, Linux and Mac, and my mac being the primary I follow the same procedure - DAILY!

At the end of the day before I go to sleep I will create a brainzip with the date at the end (20110404 for today).  I will then once a week backup all this with Time Machine over to an external drive.

Then every morning after my review, I create a Web Brain and put this on my local drive in the date format above. Then I copy it manually to my SYNC folder which automatically syncs for my daily use to my Web Sever and my iPAD.

Once a week, I will do a report of all thing that have changed and export it out as an outline with notes, and put it in to a program that supports outline. Since I use a mac I use Circus Ponies Notebook for that, but that is just my preference.

Errors happen, and if they do you can just go back to a previous version.

Now granted I wish that a number of these things can be automated, but if you use it as a Trusted system, then safety is important and you should follow certain steps.

Although I feel for Zenrain and what he experienced, it may give a wrong impression about PB.
I'm a long time user of PB and though I have experienced one small problem with database integrity some years ago, due to some bug in one of the former versions of PB, I have never ever lost one bit of information.
In that one case of database integrity corruption, support provided an update that removed the bug and at the same time restored database integrity.

I'm not talking about a small mini brain, I'm talking about a 12 GB brain with about all my information in there.
Of course, I take regular backups (Brainzips) and keep them for a long time, in case of ...

Although I don't agree with all decisions taken by TheBrainTechnologies (limit of 5 GB on webbrains, etc ...), I have to admit that the product really works and is very robust in my case.
My 10 cents ... :-)

So it's only been four days, and already I'm eating my words (I had deleted my username exactly so I wouldn't do this, but here we are).
My post was written as an explanation behind why I'm was leaving the forums (due to not using the software), and as a thanks to the forum members and TheBrain. It was in no way intended as a warning or deterrent to other users (especially prospective ones) to stay away from the software. As far as I'm aware, the issue is only affecting a few users, and will most likely be corrected shortly. Looking back on it, it was very naive of me to not expect that this wouldn't reflect negatively on the company or product. As such, I'd rather be the ass that eats his words rather than have those words impact a company and a product that has served me very well for over four years.

This is actually not the first time my brain has had issues. The other times were MODF (my own damn fault) due to leaving PB open on another machine with DropBox. Those times I either rebuilt my brain, or restore it from a Brainzip. PB hasn't been an unstable product for the years I've been using it, this is the first time I've seen it cause an issue with my information.

However, that alone wasn't enough to have caused my reaction.
There are two things that made this particular issue so painful for me. The first is that both notes and attachments are randomly switched (or in the case of notes, overwritten) and I have absolutely no way of determining which ones so I can fix them. As I use notes (and links) for important information that I need to see immediately, this is very disconcerting to say the least.

The second issue was far more disheartening, and is directly related to @yurvg's statement and post:

Now granted I wish that a number of these things can be automated, but if you use it as a Trusted system, then safety is important and you should follow certain steps.

Loosely translated, you are a bit of an idiot if you have vital data and don't back it up.

I completely agree, which is why I have been backing up my data twice a week using Brainzips, and also have time machine to fall back on. My backups are also on Dropbox, so there's a bit of redundancy there also. All told, I have BrainZips going back to 2009.
However, when I restored my Brainzips, going back as far as January of this year, the restored data was in a much worse state than my original data. Running a rebuild of the data did the same thing, causing me to conclude that the tables that the backups use to restore the data are corrupted also. My original post was written under that assumption, that all of my recent data had been corrupted by the program. After talking with folks from TheBrain, this may be incorrect, the issue is most likely somewhere else, but they are still investigating. The issue isn't because of syncing with WebBrain (which I'm sure will relieve a few of you )

So, no, this wasn't an April Fools joke. In the meantime I'm examining other options.

@GerSch, I don't have an answer for that yet. PB is very hard to replace. If TinderBox was multi-platform I'd most likely be looking very hard at it, but currently for OSX it's DevonThink, and for Windows I have no clue right now...

If you have made it thus far in the great post o' text, thanks, I hope that clarifies some things. TheBrain has been responsive, and as always (from my experience) have gone above and beyond in their support efforts. I have no doubt that there will be an update that resolves this issue soon.

macOS 10.14.5
TheBrain 10.0.51
Zenrain, I think it is a good thing you posted your experience
You did it in a very sincere and neutral way.

So, my reaction was not against you.
I notice though that in this century (Sign of the Times, I guess) where "unlimited" turns out to be 5 GB, where rumours change into facts in a blink of an eye, where "one time" seems synonymous for "always", etc. that this type of threads have the danger to start a life on it's own without hard facts thrown in.

For that reason, I posted my own experiences, just like you did, to keep things in balance 

The measures I took to prevent corruption of data :
- I never ever let a beta version work with my official database, however tempting it may be.
- I never use synchronization programs like dropbox for syncing my PB. I would trust Webbrain sync for that, but as said before, my PB is much too big for the provided room.

It seems to have worked for me until now.
Good evening,

I don't use brainzip for backup; i use  backup software (GFI (free)) and make unattended backups.



I feel your pain. I've been hit by the infamous database corruption as well. This is a nightmare come true. I've been grumpy for weeks trying to scavenge what is possible from this wreck. I am gradually rebuilding at great expense of time and TRUST and wonder what went wrong. Seriously considering if it is worthwhile investing this much effort in recovering. What went wrong after all those years of excellent stability? PB is/was the software that I installed first for more than a decade on all my systems. This is the first time I am looking very hard at alternatives (if any). The reputation of this product/company received a serious dent. Quite some customer experience after all these years!

Best Regards



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