Accessing my project on both desktop and laptop

I’ve asked this before, things will be okay for awhile, then I run into the same issues…I remain baffled.

Will someone please explain to me how to do the following: back my project up to a flash drive, then use the flash drive to access/open my project on my laptop. That’s all I want to do, yet it is a never-ending source of frustration.

I need to make sure I can keep working seamlessly on THE SAME DOCUMENT/PROJECT!

I have a project on the desktop; no problems. I use my laptop often outdoors, so I want to share my Scrivener novel project on both computers. I “backup to” a flash drive, then open it on the laptop from the flash drive…however this rarely happens. Usually I get error messages: “File is not writable. Access is denied. Auto-saves need write permission to your project.” Or something similar. I’m at a loss as to why this is such a big deal: save a project, use it on another computer; what is the $%$%#! problem?

When you say you “back up” to the flash drive, are you using Scrivener’s internal backup command?

If so, is it configured to create ZIP backups?

If so, that’s the problem. Scrivener can’t open a ZIP file directly, you need to unZIP it first.


Thanks for responding. Yes, using File ->backup to -> the flash drive (I also use it to backup to multiple locations to be more secure.)

(btw I’ve used “backup to” rather than “save as” because I was told at some point to avoid “save as.” )

YES, I checked the box for “Backup as Zip file.” Is that not the best way to back up my project? Honestly, I don’t understand the process of unzipping the file and then accessing it in Scrivener. I’ve obviously unzipped files from other programs and all I would do is “extract to…” I don’t get the procedure with Scrivener…but in any case, if I can avoid this altogether and just have easier access to my project that would be great. My assumption is that as a general rule, the backups are just there for emergencies…day by day I’m just accessing my project from the desktop of whichever computer. (I did install Dropbox as per your suggestion.)

Sorry for the confusion…it’s the save/backup stuff that just baffles me…I don’t have much trouble just using the program for my writing. It’s fantastic.

Your Live Project is not the same thing as the Backup. They are completely different things.
When you create a project you decide where to save it. It will stay there until you decide to move or delete it. That’s you Live Project.
The Backup is a copy of the project, stored somewhere else, and often i zip-format. It is meant to insure that if something happens to your Live Project there are several copies of older versions safely stored somewhere else.

I once described it like this to another user:

When you use Save As… you create a completely new version of your Live Project with a new name, and you also specify where you save it.
When you use Backup To… you create another Backup of your project but not necessarily where you have all your other backups. You could decide to put just this backup somewhere else.

The easiest way to work on the same project from two computers is to use a reliable cloud service like Dropbox, Mega, Box, etc. (but NOT Google Docs)
With Dropbox, install the Dropbox app on both computers, it creates a new folder named Dropbox. On the first computer, create a subfolder for your Scrivener projects, save or move the Live Project to this folder, wait until you have the green tick marks telling you that all has been synchronized. On the second computer, wait until you have the green tick marks telling you that all has been downloaded.

Now you have the same Live Project on both computers. Just remember to close the project on each of them when you are not writing. Never, ever have the same project open on two computers at the same time.

Lunk, thank you SO MUCH for this very clear explanation, and sorry for not responding sooner…life interfered. :slight_smile: I have decided to do it exactly as you describe: using Dropbox. From now on I’m hoping things will just settle into a safe routine.

Much appreciated.

Question: I set up Dropbox on both computers, it’s syncing perfectly. How do I “save” my live project into Dropbox on both computers? With “save as?” Please hold my hand for this last step and I’m good forever!

Close Scrivener.

On whichever computer currently has the project, use Windows Explorer to drag and drop the Project.scriv folder from its current location to the Dropbox folder. Make sure you get the whole thing, including all sub-folders.

Allow Dropbox to synchronize.

On the second computer, confirm that the project has appeared in the Dropbox folder. Open it, make a small but obvious change, and close Scrivener.

Allow Dropbox to synchronize again, then open the project on the original computer and confirm that the change has appeared. If it does, you’re ready to go. If not, which step failed?


I’m sorry, but I am certifiably the stupidest person on the planet. In trying to save to Dropbox, I have totally destroyed everything…I cannot find the project I’ve been working on every day…all that comes up is either the elaborate template I created, but without any text files, or the other previous versions, which are current as of a month ago. I tried to restore a backup but it won’t work; says “access denied.” I have scads of backups …all zipped folders. So I should be able to restore the project, right? Boy am I lost at this point.