Bloated backup files

I’m sorry I’m posting so many questions at the moment-- I promise I do search the forum before each new post!

My hard drive has slowed to a crawl and I noticed I have just a couple of GB of space left. When I hunted for large files I discovered that Scrivener’s backup files for my novel have swelled to nearly 1GB each – and that’s zipped! Admittedly I have now imported all my research material into this folder,but surely it can’t add up to a gigabyte’s worth – there’s no video involved, a few images but mostly text.

I tried to add a screenshot to show you but couldn’t.

Any thoughts on cutting the backup files down to a manageable size?

Many thanks.

I think the first question has to be: what’s the size of the .scriv package that the back-ups are backing up?

Yes, that’ll be the best thing to check at this point. It’s unlikely that Scrivener is generating junk data during the backup phase, as it is just using the typical OS methods for duplicating and zipping. Find the original project in Finder (Cmd-click on the name of the project in the title bar for the project window, if you are unsure of where that is), and then select it in Finder and use the File/Get Info menu command. Give it a minute to calculate, if necessary, then copy and paste the “Size” row from the General section, to a response.

I cannot find a Project file for the files that have backed themselves up at 903MB. (I’m assuming that ‘.scriv package’ is the same thing as a Project file?)

I am now working from a slightly different version (I had some problems with splitting a long document into scenes and chapters, so I abandoned an earlier attempt, the 903 MB one, and started again, creating the file I am now using.) The Scrivener Project for this file is 703MB, and its backup zip files are 681 MB.

I hope this answers your question?


I’ve got some more information: I wondered whether the problem lay with having imported all my research files into the project. I had three large audio files. I looked at them on iTunes and they’re 200- 300MB each. I deleted them from the project and behold,the size of the project deflated to around 30MB.

Which really puzzles me. I had thought the research folder only stored aliases to files already stored elsewhere on my computer. This is not the case?

Okay, with this project then you might wish to consider excluding it from automatic backups. You can do that in the File/Back Up/ sub-menu. Though if you have a spare ~5gb sitting around (assuming you have your Backup preferences set to save five old copies) and don’t mind waiting around for a while as it closes, then it’s not a bad thing to leave on. Those backup files are just zipped .scriv project files though. So if you no longer need the project that is hogging all of that backup space you can delete them. Maybe keep one just to be safe.

Not by default, no. It imports everything you put in the binder, making a duplicate copy of it. In most cases this is desirable, as it means you can just drag your project over to a new computer and have everything you need right there. In cases where heavy-duty research is required, you should use the File/Import/Research Files as Aliases... menu command, instead of drag & drop. That will link, and keep the project size tidier.

And yes, a .scriv package = project “file”. It’s actually a folder with hundreds or even thousands of individual files inside of it. The Mac makes it look and act like a file though, hence “package”.

Many thanks – this was very helpful indeed.

I back up important projects to DropBox and allow up to 3 backups to the Scrivener folder in my Library.

Lately, I cannot back up my home folder to an external drive, and the problem seems to lie with Scrivener. I use Synchronize! X Plus, and it stalls out, saying that some temporary files it creates have Scrivener file names longer than 31 characters, an OS X violation. I have not been able to locate those files, or see any file with a name that long. (The problem does not occur with a backup via Super Duper, which copies the entire System folder.)

Any advice would be welcome.

I’d also like to know: for long-ago projects, is it OK just to save the latest backup? And is it OK to just save a single backup, instead of 3? Perhaps that would resolve the problem I’m having with SXP.

That’s a very strange error message. OS X has no such limitation. Mac OS 9 and lower certainly did, but the OS X file name length is I believe 255 characters. Internal files: Snapshot filenames are the only that approach that long to my knowledge. What do your snapshot files look like? Mine are a very compact date and time format, YYYY-MM-DD-HH-mm-SS-0TMZ.rtf, which is 29 characters long. I wonder if that changes via localisation—I doubt it since that needs to be accessed programmatically.

Of course one solution would be to turn the zip compression option on in your backup settings, that will hide any long filenames.