All the text from my current chapter has disappeared and other text has vanished as well

I opened my novel in Scrivener 3 for the first time recently (it was started in Scrivener 1), and then created the document for the outline for my next chapter. When I opened my novel the next day, that document was blank. I found a partial backup copy that I used to rebuild the outline and have been creating a PDF backup of new material since then. That same doc showed up blank once more but has been fine since. I then created the doc for that chapter in its own folder in the Manuscript folder, and that was working fine for several days. This morning I opened Scrivener, and that chapter was blank like the other doc had been. I’ll restore it from my PDF backup, but it’s extremely inconvenient to have text vanish like this. I’m going to go back to using Scrivener 1 until this is resolved. Please help!

Are you using some kind of folder sync service? Google Drive and MS One Drive for instance, can be set to “helpfully” remove the data from your hard drive until you directly open the file on your hard drive. But Scrivener’s attempts to open the files underlying the entries in your binder fail to trigger this “download the data from the cloud” feature, and so it thinks you haven’t actually created any text for that binder item. And then a sync service will see a new blank file, and upload that in place of the original file with your writing in it. Rinse and repeat for any item in your binder that the sync service decides needs to be archived in the cloud and removed from your hard drive. Sometimes, some services do this for you with regard to your Desktop or Documents folders. The fix is to go to that service (in a web browser in the case of Google Drive) and see if there is any versioning of files it syncs, and roll back changes to get to your words.

If that’s not it, what virus protection are you using? It’s possible it’s quietly quarantining your files individually for some reason.

Or maybe you’re storing your project on an external or network drive, and something’s going on with that…

Or maybe your hard drive is failing…

Or are you using Save As to create backups periodically? Maybe you’re writing in or re-opening the wrong copy, and your writing is in either the original or the backup copy that isn’t currently open…

Hopefully, you’ll be able to use those possibilities to find your work. Good luck.


Thank you for the suggestions! I don’t have it connected to any cloud services yet, and I’m just running Windows Security, but I’ll double-check that my backup drives aren’t causing it.

The reasons I believe it’s a Scrivener 3 issue are that I have never had a problem with Scrivener 1 losing data saving to the same folders on the same computer, and before my chapter showed up blank, I had saved multiple times over several days and opened and closed Scrivener several times. So, let’s say I wrote 1,000 words in this chapter on day one, added 1,500 words on day two, and on day three the chapter was blank.

Two suggestions:
First, antivirus is known to have caused similar problems, so make sure Scrivener is whitelisted in your antivirus.
Secondly, did you by any chance use ’Save as…’ anytime and perhaps open the older version again?

I’ve whitelisted the folder in Windows Security. I did not Save As on this project. The project has opened automatically when I open Scrivener (either v1 or v3), and I haven’t moved, deleted, or renamed any files. So far using v1 again, I have not had any issues.

Scrivener 3 has a much more complex folder structure than version 1.
All cases reported in the user forum ultimately turned out to be either user caused or caused by the OS, not by Scrivener.

If you have links to those posts that would be very helpful! My searches didn’t bring up any recent posts on this issue.

I searched the Windows forum for “lost text” and got 50+ results. Maybe you should start there?