Backups won't open

I am trying to open my backup files and all I get is a popup window titled “Location Access Error.” It has a yellow warning triangle with a black exclamation point and this message: “File is not writable: Access is denied. Auto-saves need write permission to your project.”

I have it set to automatically back up my project when I close the file, which I do every day. I save it to Dropbox because I transfer the project between two computers daily. I also save my backups to a separate file called “Scrivener Backups.” It saves the 5 most recent backup files and they all gave me the same “Access is denied” message upon opening.

I don’t think saving it to Dropbox is the problem. As a test, I changed the settings to save the backups to my desktop. I backed up my project to my desktop and tried to open it, and got the same “Location Access Error - Access is denied” message.

I use Scrivener for Windows. Please help! Thank you!

Grab a towel and don’t panic! The problem is just that your backups are in a read-only state, presumably because they are being created as zipped folders. If you double-click a zipped folder on Windows, it will open the archive for viewing, but the contents aren’t writeable. If you had a zipped Word file and opened it this way, you’d get a message about it being Read-Only; Scrivener can’t open projects in a “Read Only” mode, however, because it needs to be regularly saving in order to keep all the projet files in sync, and so you get an error message.

All you need to do, then, is extract the project backup from the zipped archive. Do this by double-clicking the zipped folder and then just dragging out the contained ProjectName.scriv folder to a new location, e.g. your user Documents folder, or by right-clicking the zipped folder and choosing “Extract All”, which will open the Windows Extraction Wizard and ask where you want to save the extracted folder to, etc., and then do it for you. Once the project is extracted, you can open it. You also still have a read-only backup copy safe in the zipped archive.

The one thing to watch out for in this is that Windows likes to merge folders, so if you have a copy of the project on your computer and are extracting a backup with the same name and try to save it to the same location, Windows will offer to merge them (or may just do this by default). Merging will update files of the same name and add any new ones, but it won’t remove the old ones; in essence then you’ll get a cluttered project folder with outdated remnants, which is liable to make something go goofy at some point in the project, since Scrivener won’t know about the changes made behind its back. If you’re intentionally overwriting an older copy of the projet with a newer one (e.g. if you’re transferring the project between computers by copying the latest version as a zipped folder), be sure to delete the older copy before extracting the new one. That also reduces confusion by having multiple copies of the project in different states littering the computer. If you’re just extracting a backup to check on something and intend to trash it afterwards, just drag it to the Desktop and then rename the backup’s .scriv folder before opening it in Scrivener. Once you’ve done whatever you need to do, close it in Scrivener and delete the backup from the Desktop so it doesn’t get mixed up with your current working copy in Documents or Dropbox or wherever.

Brilliant! Got it. Thanks so much for your help and for your quick reply. Another reason to love Scrivener!