Conflicted Copy in .sciv File - Bewtween Mac and PC through Dropbox

I mostly work off of two Macs, so that’s where most of my Scrivener projects happen. But I have a PC for work that’s a laptop that I take on the go a lot. I thought I would download Scrivener and Dropbox on it so I could write the projects on my Mac computers when on the go on my PC.

When I went to open the .scriv file on my PC, instead of opening the file in Scrivener it took me one layer deeper—into the project subfiles.

From there, I noticed there are a lot of conflicting copies from a long time ago. I need help understanding if these are important because I don’t want to lose any content I’ve created. Out of fear, I haven’t touched this project in a few months.

Has any seen this before and can offer me some help and insight? What files can I safely delete, and what files should I inspect in detail?

Hi, the fact that you have so many conflicted files suggests that you didn’t leave enough time for Dropbox to sync fully before closing down one computer, or enough time to sync fully on the other computer before opening the projects on that.

Windows doesn’t have a “package format” like the Mac, so you see an ordinary folder project-name.scriv and when you click on it you find a number of files and folders. The crucial file is project-name.scrivx. To open the project, you have to double-click that scrivx file.

As for your conflicted files, as they are all at least a year older than the other “active files”, I would probably just delete them, though if you are a “belt and braces” person, you might think of duplicating the project(s), deleting them in the duplicate(s) and opening those to see if all is well. I think that is what I would do in your position.



First, on Windows, you have to deal with the fact that your project is actually a folder containing many other files and folders, since Windows doesn’t have the feature that hides this fact from you the way that MacOS does.

The conflicted copies must have happened because you opened your project before the dropbox app on one mac could download all of the minor changes from the other Mac that occur when you open a project or make small changes. Be sure to always close your projects, let dropbox finish uploading those changes, and then on the next computer, wait for those changes to download before opening Scrivener.

Before you delete anything: Close Scrivener on all of your computers, and let dropbox sync up any last minute changes on each. On one computer (the one you work on the most), open the project and use File->Back Up->Back Up To… to create a backup copy; add something to the name that communicates to you that it was from before you deleted conflicts from it. Close that copy of the project, and don’t open Scrivener again until you’re done cleaning things up.

As for the individual “conflicted” files:
2: The “scrivener project” files (if you could see the extensions, you would see ‘.scrivx’) are an index of all of your binder items, plus the keywords you’ve assigned (if any) status values and assignments, etc… But since the newest conflicted copy is from 2 years ago, and the current one is significantly larger, I would think you could safely delete all of those conflicted files.

3a: the Files folder: The Binder backups and autosave “conflicted” files are all super old too. So I think you can delete them. The “binder” backup files are, I believe, a copy of your .scrivx file, or something similar, that Scriver creates as a safeguard against a corrupted primary file. You’ve already got those, and they’re much more current.

3b: Search indexes. These are plain text versions of most of the text in your documents. It’s much faster to search through plain text than it is to search through rich text, I guess, so there’s a copy of some/all of your words for Scrivener to use when you perform a search. Probably it’s also organized better for more targeted searching of titles and metadata, etc… Again these are very old. I’d delete all of the conflicted copies. Also, you can “rebuild” those search indexes. On the Mac version, go to the Scrivener menu (later) with the project open; hold down the OPT key, and you should see a menu item change/appear that says something like “Rebuild Search Indexes”. That can’t hurt to do once you’re done with your cleanup.

4: Docs folder checksum files. These are files that contain a number or set of numbers. When you give a file to a checksum generating program (built into Scrivener here, but they can exist as their own thing), it generates a long serial number based on the contents of the file. It’s a fair bet that the number will be unique to that file’s contents, and it will change when the file’s contents change and you re-caclulate the checksum. As before, these are very old “conflicted” files, and so are probably not relevant to your current project. Delete them.

5: quicklook thumbnails: These are just images generated for when you are browsing using the Mac’s Finder; you click once on a file and hit the spacebar, and up pops a preview of what’s in the document. You can do this with most document types on a Mac, not just Scrivener. You can delete the conflicted copies without any worries.

  1. Settings folder .plist files: These files contain your project’s specific configuration; compile settings that aren’t global… if you have the ruler showing in one or both editors… and other stuff like that. Don’t hold me to the specifics, but that’s the general purpose of them. As before, the conflicted copies are 2 years older than the current one. I don’t see any value in replacing the current one with any of those, so I’d delete them.

Too long; didn’t read version: Back up your project first, close it on all of your computers if it’s open anywhere. Then on one computer, you can delete all the “conflicted” files without impacting any of your words. Also, let dropbox sync all of those deletions (shouldn’t take long) before you open the project on each computer.

Thanks so much! This is incredibly helpful. Thank you for the step-by-step instructions. Everything is cleaned up and good to go, and I feel so much better. One last thing…

In the File folder, is it safe to delete the .autosave file?