Another file just disappeared

See the following for the previous disappearing file problems in the Wish List forum:

Just finished Ch. 3 of a business book I’m writing. And before my eyes the file disappeared. Ch. 1, 2 and the rough dozens of other files are still in the folder, but Ch. 3 is gone. Just as unexplainable as the first set of problems a few months ago.

Fortunately, since my first set of file disappearance fiascos, I’ve been backing up like crazy, moving text across to Word and saving it there as well to make sure I don’t lose everything. But my last manual backup was at 9:45 and my last automatic system backup was at 9:53, and the disappearing file trick came at 10:51 - so I’ve lost a full hour, and needles to say, a very inspired one that will be very difficult to get back.

In the first set of problems detailed at the URL above, the files remained and all the text disappeared. In this one, the file itself has disappeared. Yes, I’ve used Spotlight to search for it - nothing beyond the Word file I backed up at 9:45am and the automated system backup at 9:53am. The next hour is blank - no file. This is maddening to say the least.

Its my own fault for continuing to write in Scrivener without anyone having solved the first, much more disastrous disappearance (lost every bit of text in every file) - I should have stopped then and gone back to writing in Word.

Please figure this out and let me know when you’ve got it cornered. I’ll be over in Word plugging away.

I know you probably answered this in your previous post, but, just to be sure:
Were you using any form of cloud storage when this happened?
If so, did you have any connection problems?

No clue what cloud storage is. Here’s my setup:

I back things up manually in two separate places on my internal hard drive. I also pull things across to Word and resave them in that format as well (become very skittish using Scrivener since the first disaster when I lost a whole month of work).

I also have an external drive dedicated solely to backup, using an automated Time Machine backup that crawls my data every hour and saves anything new.

Unfortunately I was two minutes from the next autosave when the file disappeared.

Just to clarify, when you say the file itself disappeared you are referring to something in the Binder of the Scrivener project, right? Also, when you say it disappeared in front of you, were you typing in the file as it disappeared, or were you working in some other area and you saw it drop off of the map all by itself?

Probably a stupid question, but you didn’t mention checking so: did you check the Scrivener Trash?

I was starting to work in Ch Four - just 30 seconds or so - and noticed that Ch. 3 was no longer in the binder of the Scrivener project - having just clicked across from it to Ch. 4 - which was already set up with a bunch of rough text in it. I didn’t create any new files or delete any - I simply moved from that file to the next.

And yes, thanks for asking - I checked Scrivener Trash, Mac Trash, the external hard drive, under the table and in the living room. No file to be found since the last automated backup 58 minutes earlier. Very baffling and frustrating. Microsoft Word is looking very good right now.

Something Keith should investigate:

The last time I had problems Scrivener itself asked me to upgrade from 1.0 (?) to 1.5 (?) - everything disappeared doing that. The only thing I can point to that was out of the ordinary during today’s disappearing text act was that Scrivener was once again prompting me to upgrade to 1.5.1. I can’t imagine this had anything to do with it, and I rejected the upgrade request (not upgrading until we know why this is happening), but thought I’d throw that in the mix.

Just for the record, I just checked the Scrivener project that Chuck sent me - he sent me a backup of the project before the problem and the version after the file had “disappeared” - and I found the file that was reported to me as having gone in the Trash folder, as Amber suggested. I’m not sure why Chuck didn’t find it there too so I’ll wait for his reply, but short of that it seems that this issue is not a bug with Scrivener but another case of accidentally hitting the delete key and moving a file to the Trash folder (which is why I have reluctantly changed the keyboard shortcut for this to cmd-delete for 2.0).

Chuck - obviously let me know if this doesn’t resolve the issue.

All the best,

I apologize, Chuck, if this is is an insulting question, but when you checked the Scrivener trash, you did click the little triangle next to it to make sure it was pointing down? Again, not an insult, but if you just highlighted the trash, I can see how the main Scrivener window might make it seem like there’s nothing there.

I found the lost file in the Scrivener file I sent Keith after he called my attention to it just now. I couldn’t find it in what I had opened in Scrivener. I believe I went through my computer and external hard drive looking for the most recent backup and when I pulled it up, the file was not in the trash because the backup happened before this. I was obviously looking at the backup, not the most recent version when I said it wasn’t in the trash.

Keith - So you’re saying I accidentally hit the delete button on my keyboard and this caused the file to go to my trash? I’m not sure why you say you reluctantly changed this. I shouldn’t be able to do anything that drastic by accidentally brushing the keyboard. I’ve lost a number of hours now and a few minutes off my life over this one.

While I’m at it, I just don’t understand the naming/saving conventions for Scrivener and this I believe has continued to be part of my confusion all along. I’ve been using software of all types for 20+ years so I don’t consider myself a neophyte, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to actually do something as basic as change the name of a file in Scrivener.

I’m looking back at some of my initial confusion over why I continued to type in the Tutorial (which caused me to lose that month’s work a few months ago when the upgrade overwrote my file), and what I’ve pieced together is that even when I saved it as a backup file using a different name, when I opened Scrivener it would go back to the original file (not the backup file), which was the actual Tutorial. So for a month I continued to type in the Tutorial thinking I was typing in the “new” file I had backed up (which by the time of the Tutorial overwrite, was a month old). So when hitting Save all the time, all I was doing was saving the original Tutorial to itself, when I thought I was saving the new file outside the Tutorial. Very confusing.

The only way I know to actually change a Scrivener file name is to go outside Scrivener and use the Finder to click on the file name, highlight it, and change it. Then I click on the file itself (before opening Scrivener, otherwise Scrivener reverts to finding the old file name), and Scrivener will open it as the new name. Am I missing something here?

Why is there no ability to do “save as”? I assumed that since this didn’t exist, that the Backup Project To function was this - but again, it has no impact on the existing file name and when Scrivener reopens, it reopens to the original file name.

Your problem was solved, why all this bile?

Is it really so drastic when all that happened was the file moved to a different location in the Binder? It didn’t actually disappear or delete—it moved to the trash can. Yes, you lost some time figuring it out, which is why the feature is changed, but ‘drastic’ is a bit hyperbolic.

You can either tap the ESC key or click on the title twice—just like in the Finder. Or you can click in the index card title and just type. Or you can click in the header bar and just type. Or in the Outliner as you would in OmniOutliner or something… These are all fairly standard practices, on a Mac at any rate.

I don’t know of any program that spawns duplicates of a file every time you press Cmd-S (automatic and transparent back-up schemes excluded). Everything I know of saves over the currently open file.

I also don’t know of many programs which change the name of an open resource from within the program itself. If you have a Word document open, do you expect to be able to change the name of the open file from within Word? I thought it was extremely common practice to close a file, name it in Explorer/Finder/Command-line/Whatever and re-open it. The only exceptions to this that come to mind off-hand are database style programs and programs which deal in file-system level stuff, like TextMate’s project feature.

As stated elsewhere, due to popular demand that has been added to the upcoming release. For now Backup To does essentially the same thing only the spawned copy has the new name not working copy. There is functionally no difference except in mentality.

I suppose a “thank you, I see where I went wrong now,” would have been too much to expect. :slight_smile:

As for “save as” - please search the forum for my answer on this, as there is a good reason why it has taken a while to add a “basic” feature such as this which I have explained here before.



(first time posting, long-time reading)

While I agree that the above complaints seemed bitter, I can also understand the frustrations of being in the midst of writing, thinking you’ve lost a piece of your work, and then losing time in a futile search. The lost time is nerve-wracking, tinged with despair.

I noticed while going through the tutorial that files could be accidentally deleted with the brush of a single button. That prospect was a major negative in my assessment of Scrivener. BUt, that said, the first place I would look for something is the Trash. A bit like working a hotel desk overnight and having people call down to say their television isn’t working and asking immediately if they have made sure it’s plugged in. Most of the time Occam’s razor cuts right to the solution (and when it doesn’t I go for Chekhov’s gun).

All in all—I’m glad to hear that a cmd-delete plan is in the works; that Chuck found his missing file; that a simple and genuine thank you can go a long freakin’ way to sooth the bile bitterness brings; and that I found Scrivener to be a tool that fits nicely with the idea-factory in my head.

Thank you Keith,
~kirk (also a kb)

Wait… You mean all this time I could have accidentally sent a chapter to the Trash by having it selected and accidentally pressing the delete key? I think I would have panicked mightily before thinking to look in the Trash… Cmd-delete sounds like a good idea. :wink:

You can’t “delete” a file with a keystroke. You can send it to Scrivener’s trash, yes, where you’d have to then go to the menu or right click, elect Empty Trash, then ignore a warning and agree to empty the trash. I’m all for safeguards – command-delete may well free up the time and bandwidth taken by people posting “check the trash” to this forum – but I’m even more pro-rtfm.

In retrospect, Chuck could have avoided both mistakes if he had seen the Scrivener intro video:

Incidentally, I said “reluctantly” because for my own personal use - which is how I designed Scrivener after all - I would much rather have “delete” delete something (or move it to the Trash folder in Scrivener) rather than have to hit a shortcut too. To me, it doesn’t sound exactly left-field that the delete key would…, well, delete something. And the fact that the Trash folder is there means that in the rare instance where you hit it accidentally when the focus is in the binder, you can retrieve your work easily enough with a quick drag and drop. (This very fact is mentioned in the tutorial, the Help file and the introductory video, so it’s hardly a secret.) I have added the new shortcut it “reluctantly” mainly to save my own time because I get the occasional angry “where has my work gone, I can’t believe Scrivener would completely delete my work etc” e-mail and have to explain the contents of the Help file, tutorial, intro video etc…

I don’t mean to be flippant here, and I do entirely sympathise with users who lose their work or who panic and think they have lost their work (though a simple search in the Help file for “delete” would help in many cases - I don’t mean Chuck here, though, as his panic was more than justified by losing work before). However, it does depend on tone; when someone starts shouting at you that there is something seriously wrong with your software or that everything you do is wrong, it doesn’t exactly make you well-disposed to helping. At this point, I’ll remind everyone of the About page, which makes it clear that one should buy Scrivener for what it is, not for what one hopes it will be or become, and also, in terms of what features get added or improved, that this is a friendly dictatorship rather than a democracy. :slight_smile:


For my own part, the “delete” would be a matter of semantics. Regardless of the file still not being “deleted,” it is annoying to have to pull something out of the Trash. It’s all mucky in there what with all those sticky recycled electrons and such… But what this is a prime reason why I empty my Trash regularly (after checking that nothing of importance is in there.

Hmmm… an intro video about a product? Almost as if it was offered to explain something about the product—available even before buying the product.

With more than a few inticing text editors available, I read quite a few things and watched videos such as this one before spending my money. I didn’t want to buy something and then find out about what it can/can’t do.


I’m sorry, but I’ve been following the OP’s “saga” and the issues here seem to be entirely with the OP and not Scrivener.

Sorry but it needs to be said. Especially when people are trying to help and then have to deal with the OP’s “it’s you not me” tone.

I’m just going to ignore posts from the OP from now on.


kirkesque - please see my earlier reply. The info is also in the Help file and tutorial (in bold type no less); and see my reasons for my reluctance. That the delete key deletes something should not, I would think, come as a huge surprise.


Not an unreasonable view! But I think it’s good that you are changing it to Command-delete, for two reasons. The first is that the binder looks and behaves rather like the Finder in list view, and (of course) command-delete is the shortcut for deleting files in the Finder.

The second is that it’s quite easy (at least if you are a bit careless or distracted) to delete something in the Binder without noticing until afterwards that it has gone.

If you think that the focus is in the text window and press delete to backspace or remove some highlighted text, but the focus is actually in the Binder, then the selected files in Binder will be sent to the trash (logically). But you may not notice, since you are looking at the text window at the time, and anyway the change involved visually in losing one file from the Binder is quite small. So it might seem as though delete simply did nothing. The natural response if your attention is fixed on deleting a certain bit of text is to click on the text window to put focus there and repeat the delete. In that case the missing Binder item probably won’t be noticed until much later. I’ve done this once or twice over many months of using Scrivener.

Nothing much is lost, of course, since the item will be in the trash waiting to be picked out. But it’s such an easy mistake to make without noticing that it has happened that I think you are doing the right thing changing the shortcut.