"Cannot create project backup"

That’s not normal for Scrivener. The point of Scrivener is to break up the big projects into chunks. @AmberV can comment, but maybe this huge file, on an external disk, is part of the issue with making a temp backup file onto the desktop file system.

External disks are notorious for being more unreliable than hard disks connected to computers, so I don’t use them to store working stuff.

RMS, do you recommend moving the portable drive copies to the hard drive?

To disambiguate: ‘file’ being one project, vs ‘file’ being one entry in the binder of that project. 160 pages in one outline entry of the binder would indeed be overburdening the software (though I don’t know if that would trip up the temp folder, it should be able to handle gigabytes of data), but 160 pages in one project, spread across several binder items, would be entirely normal and nothing to worry about.

As to the rest, I’m not sure how to proceed or help further if you cannot try adjusting your anti-virus settings or testing whether that is the cause. If software is being prohibited from writing to the system temp file area—an area specifically designed for software to make use of for stuff like this—then it is most likely a case of the software being blocked externally.

And to reiterate: I don’t believe anything else actually matters. The backup settings, the backup folder you choose, whether the project is saved here or there or on this disk or that one… none of this is likely to relate to an error message that states Scrivener cannot make use of the temp folder.

In my opinion the best course of action is to consult the documentation for any anti-virus systems you have installed and active, and find how to put software on an allow-list or how to monitor it for events in its logs. That is the most likely problem, so it makes sense to at least tick that off the list of things that have been tried, before going onto some other potential problem.

A search of the manual does not show anti-virus showing up

Windows Defender and Webroot are the only virus protection.

That is how I work. My setup

  • All Projects at ~\documents\scrivener
  • All Backups at ~\backups\scrivener
  • Full system backup to external disk at least a couple of times a week at minimum. Better a 3-2-1 backup regime (lots of internet articles and posts here)

Hopefully some free space on the hard disk.

I do not know if this will fix your issue or not. Your issue is odd, and probably related to anti virus stuff.

And seriously consider splitting up the project into a structure using Scrivener designed to do. Discussed fully in the tutorials.

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Ok. Thanks for your help.


It’s worth mentioning here that AmberV is Literature & Latte’s head of support. At least trying their advice is usually the fastest route to a solution.


What key word(s) in the manual do I use to locate guidance in project structure?

I am going to contact Best Buy for Webroot anti-virus guidance.

First do the tutorials.

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They will most like say “do not turn it off and our software not causing this” as Microsoft said.

Most (if not all) anti virus soft ware vendors recommend to NOT run more than one anti-virus product. These products burrow deep into the operating system and while one is bad enough, running two might be the cause of your problem.

Until you turn them both off as @AmberV suggests as a debug step, who knows?

And consider running only one anti-viris product at a time.

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I have been using Webroot Anti-virus for years without problems, except for sometimes telling Webroot not to block a file or folder, but that has never involved Scrivener.

If you have both Webroot and Windows Defender running, that is too much. They are both reliable, but choose one or the other. I turned off Windows Defender because Webroot comes with a couple more options I find useful over Windows Defender.

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