Changing where a project is saved

I have searched through these forums, but admit I might have missed this topic, so I apologize… And most of what I have read in these forums I do not understand, to be honest.

I created a project. I want that project to save to my thumb drive by default. I want to save the backup to my desktop. I do not want those files to be zipped because I have not purchased the WinRAR license (I don’t know what that is). I made some changes when I set the project up while I was trying to work this out and I do not know where things are being saved by default (I can access them from my thumb drive but if I close the project without doing a “save as” to my thumb drive I cannot find what I just closed) BUT I don’t really care where the default save is right now; I just want to change the default save to my thumb drive and the backup to my desktop. I keep reading about not doing this while the project is open but I can’t figure out how to do it with the project closed.

I hope this makes sense? Thanks. Sorry if I sound frustrated. I feel like I’m trying to use my 7th grade Latin to read Plato.


One more thing that confuses me - the word “backup”. When I save a file, is that called the backup? Or is the backup a copy of what I have just saved, in case of emergency?

thanks again

May the moderators smack my wrist (and/or delete my reply!) if I mis-speak, but let me give this a try:

Let’s say you have created your project in Scrivener and are now working on it. Unless you have changed its automatic-save option, every time you alter it, two seconds later Scrivener itself saves the project. That is: the changes you just made. The current state of the program is now saved to your hard drive, and in the same location where you created the project, and where you’ve been working on it.

That is not, itself, a “backup.” “Backup” means: a verbatim copy of the entire project, saved in an entirely different location from the one containing the project. The program supports several ways of creating backups. This is what I chose to do (starting with selecting Options in the Tools menu, then clicking the Backup item in the options dialog):

  1. I checked “Turn on automatic backups.”
  2. I checked “Back up on project close”. That is, when I close a project, Scrivener performs a backup immediately.
  3. I also checked “Back up with each manual save.” This means: any time I press Control+S for “save,” Scrivener makes a backup immediately. I do this a lot when I’m using the program.
  4. I checked “Compress automatic backups as ZIP files (slower)”. (I don’t actually know in what form the program writes a backup file if you choose not to have the backup compressed in ZIP format.)
  5. For “backup location,” I selected a directory on my hard drive that is not Scrivener’s default backup directory – strictly personal preference.

I think marst pretty much covered backups. You shouldn’t have any trouble telling Scrivener to do zip compression of backups (I’m not sure why you mention winrar… it’s not required as far as I know).

As for the default save location; I sense some confusion about the meaning of “save”. Marst covered that pretty well, but I’m going to expand on that;

  1. When you’re working on a project and you pause for a few seconds, Scrivener saves your changes; there is no prompt later that can un-do your changes when you quit.
  2. When you create a new project from the template chooser (try File->New Project to see it), Scrivener will remember where you last told it to create a project, and use that as its default save location.
  3. If the last location was on removable media (your thumb drive, for instance), but that media is not there, it will go back to some other default (likely your Documents directory).

Finally, don’t use Save As for backups. Use File->Backup->Backup to. Why? Well, when you do a Save As, Scrivener closes your current project, makes a copy with the new name/location you specified, and then opens the new copy. What I think you want is to continue to be editing your project on your thumb drive, but to trigger a backup to your computer’s hard drive. To do that, just use File->Backup To, or set up backups the way that Marst described, and just let them happen automatcially, or when you trigger a manual Save (file->Save, or CTRL-S).

Hope that cleared up a few things.

Regarding: “Well, when you do a Save As, Scrivener closes your current project, makes a copy with the new name/location you specified, and then opens the new copy.”

I wonder: does it first save the current project, then execute the close/save-as/re-open operations? Or does it close, save-as, and re-open without first saving the current project?

If the latter and if someone has set the delay-before-auto-save value much higher than 2 seconds, it could be a bit of a disappointment later on. The ‘saved-as’ version might contain the most recent changes – but the original project will not.

To jennyb: is WinRAR required? If you’ll back up to ZIP files, note that Windows Explorer can examine the contents of ZIP archives without need for additional software. Programs like WinRAR, WinZip, or 7ZIp provide a more features. But Windows Explorer certainly gives you the basics.