All My Work Is Gone [RESOLVED - ALL IS WELL]

I have been working on a novel in Scrivener in Windows since 2018. I had not opened Scrivener in a few weeks. Today, Feb 2024, I opened it and everything is gone. Every word. All the projects. It’s like I was reset and Scrivener does not remember me.
I am trying not to panic. There must be a way to log back in and find it? But I don’t see how. Please help.

Does your project load up, but with your documents blank ?
Do you still have/see your documents/chapters/scenes in the binder ?

No, there are no documents. Nothing.

At the top left of Scrivener, is it your project’s name ?

Your projects are not “in” Scrivener, they’re stored in separate folders on your computer’s hard disk. Using Windows Explorer to search for “.scriv” extensions should find them.

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thanks for the swift response, guys, I will look around.

@Kewms. If the project is no longer where it was, why Scrivener with a blank and not the project templates picker ?
I can’t think of any way that’s not consequence of user’s action.

At first I thought this would be a case of the infamous OneDrive.
And now I am thinking that perhaps the draft folder is collapsed. (That simple.)

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If the project has actually opened but appears blank, it could be either the OneDrive/Dropbox/iCloud problem or a collapsed Binder.

If there’s no project at all, then the “Recent Projects” history could be lost, or Scrivener could simply have been told to open without projects. (Having the Template chooser appear is an optional setting, at least on the Mac.)

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Also look at options and backup and look to see where backup folder is and what backup settings are.
Also use File>Show Project in File Explorer and see what other projects are in this location.
Hopefully then you can open the project folder and then the scrivx file.


Thanks again for help, GoalieDad, kewms and Vincent_Vincent.

As I hoped, the problem was something simple.

It was alarming because it had never happened before: Scrivener just forgot that there were any recent projects – nothing appeared under that tab – but going to Open and looking for .scriv files let me find and open it again.

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Do you have automatic backups turned on and configured ?

If not, you should set that up.
It is in Options / Backups

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So Glad you have your work.
Also develop a backup strategy that has multiple components, online, external. Your backups should not be in your project folder.
I have some articles on backup for scrivener on my author website (not published yet, but working towards an agent)
Look under Learning Scrivener will see two articles on backup.

Yes, I do, but a good reminder.

There is a menu option under Recent Projects to clear such, which you may have done. It’s been reported in the past that Recent Projects is not the best place to open a project, because if you’ve saved your project in multiple places it could open whatever version you think is the last/latest, which may not necessarily be so. (Don’t ask me how, I don’t know, but its been said that users do such things.)
It’s therefore recommended that you add your project to Favourites, which is one item down from Recent Projects on the File menu. This opens the last worked on version of a named project only.


This is excellent advice. It’s also a good idea to make sure you know where your projects are stored and how to find them directly through your file system.


I would add that you should probably never have two different folders containing live projects for this very reason.
Consider including the option in the Back options to include the date in your zipped backups to add another way to make sure if you have to open a backup, that you pick the most recent one.

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I wouldn’t go that far. I keep Scrivener projects related to work for a client together with other materials relevant to that client. I move projects out of the Dropbox folder if I think I don’t need to synchronize them any more. And I keep a subfolder of the Dropbox folder because only a few projects need to sync to my phone.

The key is that I know that I’ve done all of those things, so I know where to look if the “automatic” method doesn’t work.