Can't open cards after exporting, really desperate


I exported my card collection to my desktop this evening (10s of 1000s of cards for med school). Now when I try to re-open the profile the collection was on, I get this error message:

The reason I did the export was that I wanted to have a back-up whilst I tried to sync with my phone for the first time in over a year, in case something went wrong.

I’ve not been syncing for ages since I started getting error messages; I was too afraid to dive in to it in case I made things inaccessible. Then this evening I decided to give syncing a go, because I’ve now got a long commute and wanted to be able to access my cards on my phone.

Have tried re-opening anki with shift key and then opening the profile, I get the same message.

Have tried creating alternate profiles and importing the exported collection to those profiles, it only opens a very small section of cards, from like 3 years back.

Have updated anki as per the general troubleshooting guidance but it’s not helped.

Am going to see if I can open my collection file on a friend’s computer, any other guidance greatly appreciated! I’m pretty desperate, pretty much my whole medical degree is in there…thank you

I’ve not tried to hit the ‘open back-up’ button, because I don’t believe I have a back-up. If I log in to my anki account online, the deck configuration I see there is over a year old… I’m guessing if I hit open back-up, I’ll definitely lose everything, so I’m leaving that as a last resort.

I don’t have an answer for you. However, I recommend you create a manual backup before experimenting any further.

Open Windows explorer, type %APPDATA% into the path field and press Enter. This will open the directory where Anki’s data folder is stored.


Then make a copy of the Anki2 folder. Name the copy something like Anki2 backup 2023-01-17 and save it somewhere safe like your My Documents folder.


Trying the build-in backup is the way to go. You will be presented a list of backups to chose from.


Anki creates backups automatically, which you may be able to recover from: Restoring an Automatic Backup (Recovering from Data Loss) - Frequently Asked Questions

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