350,000 words lost :(

Hello, Fellow Scriveners,

Can anyone help? My Mac stopped working last week. I took it in for repair and they had to replace the motherboard. They were unable to save the data.

I was 99% certain that I had saved my Scrivener folder to icloud and dropbox, but icloud there is nothing, and in dropbox, the last updated file was from January this year.

I know this is a lost cause, but is there something, anything I might be missing before I give up and move on?

Do you not have Time Machine set up, or any offline copies of your work at all? That’s definitely something to put on your road to recovery checklist if not. I too once lost everything (way before the days of ever thinking the Internet was a place to store stuff though), and in theory that should never happen again. Twenty years later it is still a lesson I’ll never forget; I have multiple hard drives, some in other parts of the world. I also back the most important stuff up to a keychain USB thing that is never more than arm’s reach away. That’s my “run, there is a fire!” backup.

The only tip I can think of that is Scrivener-specific would be to search for .zip files in these two systems. If by chance you ever changed your settings so that it automatically stored session backups in a place either of these services could work with, you may have heaps of .zip files, usually with “bak” somewhere in the name, as well as your project name. Scrivener compresses them to save space, and to make them less easy to accidentally open and edit. It also means you won’t find them if all you’re searching for is “.scriv”.

Hope you find something. :frowning:

“Unable to save the data?” The hard drive is a physically separate component from the motherboard, and should have been salvageable. You might consider a different shop for future repairs.

As Ioa said, looking for .ZIP files is going to be your best chance.


Be aware that in more and more new lightweight computers, the “hard drive” or SSD/flash are directly soldered into the motherboard, not installed as a replaceable component. This saves weight and manufacturing complexity (you don’t need to add in the various connectors or support structures, you just have to emulate the connection protocol) at the expense of supportability.

As far as I can tell with a little bit of research, all Macs including the newest MacBook Air have replaceable hard drives.

(That is, drives that are designed to be replaceable. Even a soldered-on drive could be de-soldered and put in an enclosure to recover the data.)


Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your kind replies. I tried searching for the Zip’ files. Unfortunately it’s the same as what I had already found, Only a backup from about 6 months ago with a few pages.

I’m not sure what had happened. I suspect I may have turned off the syncing of certain files when I was travelling in places with poor internet. And then forgot to switch it back on. That’s my best guess.

Regarding the motherboard/ Logic board (MacBook pro-2018) The Apple store told me that the board could not have the data transferred from it…something to do with the id key.

Thank you for your suggestions. I’ll be sure to be backing up and backing up in at least two places from this day onwards.

Well, I suppose even if I had finished the book, i’d have to start a new one. Writers got to write, right?

Good luck with your projects!

Most current Mac notebooks inc 2018 MBP do not have removable drives and I understand it’s growing in Win notebooks.
There are a number of reasons.
Faster assembly
Fewer failure points (sockets/connectors)
Lighter/thinner devices

Downside if it does fail it can be an issue. Some MacBooks do have a data recovery connector for this scenario.
As for the statement about ID key issue I’d have probed a little further on that. There are some 3rd party data recovery companies that can recover.

Apart from that, the essential policy - backup and more backup.

Unfortunately apple removed the data recovery port on all MacBook Pros in 2018 and they added the T2 Security Chip. I disagree that it is cheaper to solder on all the parts because the few pennies saved is lost when a failure of any part the entire logic board with memory and ssd has to be replaced. Also, if you do not have a backup there is absolutely on way to retrieve the data from the ssd. Rather, it is a design decision as devices get smaller and lighter .

The same is true of the 2018 and 2019 MacBook Air. However they have made it so it will be possible to replace the battery without having to replace the entire top assembly with keyboard and trackpad and vice versa.