All chapter texts disappeared

One of my previous scriv project files is missing text in the chapters. It just disappeared.

Notably, I have been organizing my MILLION files onto various external hard drives (not hyperbole–I have 62 books, and am an indie author and publisher, and also use Scrivener as databases for other things). I can only guess it might be that any altered files or renamed newer files while working on a project have somehow lost that portion.

Perhaps another topic, but possible related: I also noticed that when i rename a file, the file inside the scrivx folder where you click to open it doesn’t update, and so there is a project folder with the wrong name here and there, and that is a very confusing thing to deal with. I hope this will be a fix in future updates.

Anyway, I need to know how to recover this text without pulling it manually from the compiled epub and re-formatting it all.
I have checked all the backups i can find, all the zipped ones, etc, and they all have that same problem. I have yet to find one that has all the chapter texts…this presents a problem, too, because if i do find one that’s complete, i won’t know if it’s the most recent one.

No one can help on this?

Sounds like you were editing files and file names outside of Scrivener? If so, no telling what damage was made.

And “various” external drives sounds like trouble. And “Scrivener as a database”. humm.


Well, your asking multiple questions snd answering your own questions.

My advice would be to never rename file of a Scrivener Project outside of Scrivener. Seems like a sure-fire method the create trouble. Only thing I can think of is to rename the files or folders back to where they were and hope for the best.

You can use Scrivener to collect all kinds of textual information, but using it as a database seems far-fetched. When you’ve written dozens of books the responsibility for organizing them is up to you, and not up to Scrivener. We don’t know what system you use to store those books.

Scrivener uses an index file to point to random numbered files, so renaming something outside if Scrivener won’t change the files inside the program. It may corrupt the Project, though. Or cause text to disappear.

It’s a good thing you may still restore the missing text from the resulting e-books, even though it’s unclear why you would want that.


I’m guessing, but here’s some ideas.

#1 Do you store the .scriv project folder for this problem project on a cloud service? If so, some services default to storing files in the cloud only until you access the file, to save local storage. Scriv doesn’t like this, so be sure that the cloud service is configured to store files offline/locally.

#2 Another thing to try, but it’s a long shot: The .scrivx file is the directory of the project, and perhaps the link between it and some of the individual data files has been damaged in some way. Go to your ProjectName.scriv/files/Data folder. This is where all the .rtf files live that contain your actual text.

Try searching for text strings that you know are missing. For this to work, Windows Explorer needs to be configured to search File contents. On my version of Win 10, that’s under Search > Advanced Options. In the screenshot below, I’m searching the Tutorial project for “the”.

Hopefully you find some or all of your documents with your missing text. If you do, then come back here for next steps–frankly, I’m not sure what’s the best way to get the .rtf back into your project. Perhaps File > Import > Files? Perhaps drag & drop from Explorer back into your project? I’m not sure, but someone will know.

#3 You mentioned searching through Scrivener’s backups. I’m assuming you have no recent backups of your entire PC? You mentioned that none of the recent zipped backups contain your text. How far back do your zipped backups go? I’m trying to ascertain if this was a recent issue or something that’s been ongoing for a while but you never noticed it.

If you’ve been doing this at the .scriv project folder level, then this shouldn’t have caused the problem, unless a paste operation didn’t complete successfully. If you’ve been moving files around within your .scriv project folders, then I would expect you’ll see many many more issues down the line. Never do any modification to anything within the .scriv project folder.

The way you rename Scrivener projects in v3 is to rename the .scriv project folder. After renaming the project folder, the next time you open the project Scrivener should automatically rename the .scrivx project file based on the .scriv project folder name. If you are working with v1 projects, it might work differently. Please confirm that your Scrivener projects are all at v3.

I wish you the best in your recovery.


No I was not editing outside scrivener. When i work on a file, especially with a co-author, the file gets renamed as it is updated. The backups go to certain folder, too, and I think i moved those to the folders to which they relate, such as if I’m working on book A, i want to put that back up in the folder for Book A, but auto backup won’t do that. It backs up to only ONE folder.

My external hard drives take the place of online cloud storage.

And yes, Scrivener is an excellent substitute for things like OneNote, etc. I had far too many problems with those, and I tried about ten of them. Scriverner beats them all hands down and it’s all stored on my hard drives.

Thanks for that. I was afraid to rename the project folder. I just renamed the working file while it was open–using save as, usually. But it would add that name to the file name, and then inside the scriv folder, the new files would be INSIDE that original folder and so they are hard to find sometimes.
(And yes, I’m using Scriv3).

also–I don’t move files around INSIDE the project folder. I only save it as a name while the file is being worked on. It’s especially important when working with a coauthor, as we each do edits/writing, and append our initials and the date to the working file so we don’t get them confused.

I can’t use the windows search because as I said, i have about a million files and it would grind on for days. But i do use UltraSearch, which is much faster, and I will try to look for content…have to pull some specific text from the epub file, I suppose.
I don’t use cloud storage right now. I have a backup program that backs up all my files to external hard drives.
I’ll have to keep searching…
Weirdly, this happened once before and figured it out–the solution was very simple. But damned if I can remember what it was…
Might be faster to just recreate the scriv file by pulling in the epub file.

Re-read my idea #2 above. I’m not suggesting you search all your projects with their cumulative million files.

I’m suggesting you search one project; specifically, the latest version of the one project that’s missing text. Look at the screenshot I posted for #2 and see how it’s searching the Data folder for one project. At most in that project you might have a few thousand files. Windows search will run though that in a minute, unless your PC is ancient.

OR - unless you have the text of all 62 books contained within one Scrivener project. Please tell me you don’t?

Windows search or Ultrasearch, either will work as long as you are searching within File Contents.

I can see how your system of renaming projects would be useful for working with a co-author, but hopefully now you can see that it makes it very difficult to find previous backup versions and recover from Scrivener’s built-in zipped backups. Once the dust has cleared from this experience, you may want to rethink your daily working processes and your backup systems. It really shouldn’t be this difficult for you to restore a prior version of a Scrivener project.

How far back in time do the these backups go? For example, can you go to a version of the project from, say, 6 months and look for your deleted text?