A strange message

I opened Scrivener after a three week break from using it. I had a strange message when I opened the project I had been working on:


This project seems to have been copied from another project while it was open and in use by carlos malaga on (my name) at path ‘/Users/(my name)/Desktop/(document title)/(document title with capitals).scriv’. Scrivener will rebuild its search indexes before opening the project.

Before continuing, please ensure that this project could not currently be open anywhere else, as if the same project is open on more than one machine, data could be lost. If you are not sure, you can choose ‘Make a Copy’ to make a copy of the project and work from that.


Can anyone help?

It isn’t open on another machine. I don’t know a carlos malaga. I don’t share scrivener documents with anyone. I don’t know what to do!! I have made a copy as it suggested and I do have back up copies.

Is someone copying my best seller? (Hmm…I wish!) :open_mouth:


It means exactly what it says. When a project is opened, it stashes a little file inside the project bundle that tells it:

  • The path of the project on disk
  • The user name
  • The computer name

When a project is closed, this file is deleted.

When you open a project, it looks for this file inside the project bundle. If that file doesn’t exist, then Scrivener knows the project isn’t open anywhere else and is safe to be opened. If the file does exist, Scrivener examines it and shows you a message as appropriate. It may tell you that the project seems to be open somewhere else, for instance, which could end up corrupting the project if it’s open on two machines.

When you copy a project via the Finder, if the project is open at the time, this file will still be inside the bundle. So when Scrivener goes to open the project, it finds this file but sees that the path of the project is different to the path in the file and so assumes it must have been copied. It gives you the message you saw and rebuilds the search indexes, which only get saved on project close, so won’t be up to date if the project was copied while open.

So, what this means is that your project has been opened by someone with the user name “carlos malaga”, and that the version you are opening is a copy of that project. There’s no way for Scrivener to make this stuff up, so the rest of the explanation lies with your computer and whoever has been using it. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Phew…thank you…I’m not sure I understand all that but I am going to investigate. This is a wonderful piece of software and I know I can solve it. Nobody has used my machine so it has to be something within my laptop…

Thank you again.


The user name is taken from the default entry in your Address Book by default, so I would take a look in Contacts.app (Address Book.app on earlier OSes) and see if there is an entry for “carlos malaga” there. It might just be that the Contacts on your machine are messed up and reporting “carlos malaga” as the current user.

All the best,

Hooray…thank you so much…I’ve solved it now…it took a while but something called meta-data and the default was carlos malaga was lurking around there!!! I’ve moved him out now and I’m back as the writer.

What a clever lot you are!!!

Gillian. :smiley: :wink: :laughing:

It’s only been nine years…

Is there a way to delete this file “that’s still inside the bundle”?

According to the above (if it’s not overcome by upgrades), the presence of that file means the project is open. You should not mess with project contents when Scrivener has it open.

Except that it’s not open anywhere else.

If the error persists even though you’ve opened and closed the project multiple times, then you should open a ticket with support. The file should be deleted once you close the project.

If Scrivener fails to close normally – for instance if either it or the computer crashes – the lock file might not be cleared correctly.

If you’re sure that the project is not open, the warning message can be ignored safely. If the error persists, then contact support.