Corruption -- A good man in an evil world.

Hi, I’m not entirely sure my issue belongs here, so, if you can, please kick this problem into the right folder. I’d be grateful.

I’m running Mavericks on a MacBook Pro. My Scrivener files have all been corrupted, I believe, by a program called EasyDuplicateFinder. I may also have been hacked. Who knows. Oddly enough, it appears that only Scrivener files have gotten mushed.

Scrivener represents the second half of my career, and right now I’m in agony.

Yes, I backup using Time Machine, but those files, too, have been squashed. How could that be?

It’s crossed my mind that there may be something on my hard drive causing the Scrivener files to self-immolate when I call them up (which might explain why the backups won’t fly).

I would consider wiping the hard drive and attempting to pick and choose among my Time Machine backups to see if they survive on a new, clean, formatted drive. But I thought I’d run the problem past you first.

I’ve also announced my problem to support. So if there’s a resolution or an insight, I’ll be sure to share it here.

Also, copies of my books to whomever solves the problems. PDFs to all who try. How’s that? (Meh.)


  1. Try a Scrivener file on another computer.

  2. Try uninstalling and reinstalling Scrivener.

As far as I can tell (I don’t use it myself) EDF works by finding any identical files on your system and then deleting them.
Scrivener projects aren’t single files, they are actually folders containing lots of little files. After backing up a few times, you may find you have a number of what EDF considers duplicates.

If EDF is removing some of these duplicates from the internal workings of the scrivener projects that could cause issues.

If this is the cause, then that means that at the very least all of your work exists somewhere on your hard drive. Depending on exactly how EDF works, you may find one of your back-ups for any individual project is still good. It may not. In other words, it might take a lot of work to plug it back together.

But… if that was the cause I would have expected a pre-EDF Time Machine backup to yield a working result.

The official LitNLat support are your best bet… Send them a non-working file and they should be able to tell you why it isn’t working, and probably both a cause and rectification. In the meantime, make sure you preserve as many of your current backups as possible: Scrivener keeps a rolling number of backups and every time you close a project, one of your older (i.e. most likely to be still okay) backups gets overwritten.

Open Scrivener and go to Scrivener>Preferences…
Go to the backup tab.
Click open backup folder…
Make a copy of all of those files and store them somewhere safe so that Scriv can’t overwrite them.

Pigfender’s explanation seems the most likely. A .scriv file is actually a file package, which is really a folder that just presents itself as a single file in the Finder. If you were to move a .scriv file to a Windows machine or to a Mac that doesn’t have Scrivener installed, it would look like a regular folder. If Pigfender’s theory is correct, then it means that EDF isn’t distinguishing between file packages and folders, which would be a pretty serious bug (seeing as file packages are used throughout the Mac, and are meant to indicate that the folder should be treated as a single file by anything that touches it). As Pigfender says, it may be that EDF has removed different files from different packages. Any backups of your projects will have some files that are identical to newer versions inside the .scriv package, of course. (To avoid this in future, you could set Scrivener to back up as .zip files, so that the files get packed into a single archive.)

One thing to try is this:

  1. Find all versions of a Scrivener project, and have them each visible in a separate Finder window.

  2. Ctrl-click on each version of the .scriv project and choose “Show Package Contents”.

  3. In another Finder window, create a new folder.

  4. Starting with the oldest version of your Scrivener project, copy the contents of the .scriv package (which will have been revealed in step (2)) into the new folder you created in step (3).

  5. Move on to the next most recent, and choose to overwrite the files in the folder with newer versions - always ensure you only keep the newest versions of the files. Keep doing this until you’ve done it with the most recent version.

  6. Finally, rename the folder you created in (3) (which should now contain the newest versions of all the files from all the versions of the project you have on disk) so that it has the .scriv extension. This will cause it to turn into a Scrivener file package.

  7. Try opening it.

The above assumes that EDF has been through and deleted all duplicate files from the internals of your .scriv project, and that all the files of a valid project are still stored on your hard drive but scattered among numerous projects.

All the best,

Keith and Pigfender – thank you. And thank you again.

Is it the case that EDF (EasyDuplicateFinder) has come up before on the MAC forum? Your cogent explanations of EDF and .scriv interactions helped me to understand what EDF would have done with a .scriv file. Sadly, it was only doing what it was supposed to do. So –

I think (haven’t tried it yet) that it makes perfect sense that EDF would view all the iterations of a .scriv file and decide (quite logically) that there are redundancies within them. My direction to EDF was to keep the newest of my files and move the others to a special folder – no deletions. As a consequence, a redundant “detail” present in the newest .scriv file (let alone those it placed in a save folder) would be missing an “element” and would not open, having been unintentionally corrupted. Unless, of course, the .scriv file was unique. And there are such files on the drive and they will open, behaving normally.


First, I’m going to determine when I ran EDF. Then I will look at the “preferences” solution to recover the lost files, assuming I can determine if those files pre-exist my use of EDF. Alternatively, knowing when I ran EDF, I will also check the the Mac “Library” where .scriv files are backed up multiple of times, five, if I’m correct; the assumption being that EDF would not (as it claims) touch any fundamental Mac files. Assuming, as well, that EDF views the ~Library>Applications Support region as off limits.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your help. I will reply with good news, I hope, ASAP.

Best, Jeff

pf logo.jpg


Technically it was a hypothesis, not a theory :smiley: (I don’t want to open myself to ridicule should the cause prove to be something else - especially since, as KB suggests, that would be a pretty significant bug).

Keith and Pigfender, thank you. I looked through my files and figured out that EDF was used on 28 January. I then went to preferences and backups and pulled up clean working copies of Scrivener made prior to the 28th. And voila. Y’all saved the day.

Before you ride off into the sunset I’d like to keep my promise. Please send an email address or a mailing address to, and I will send you the promised books. However, if you’re in the UK, then I can only send .PDFs. The postage would be outrageous! :frowning: Here’s the buzz on the series I write:

You’re name is Jackson Guild. You’ve slowly fought back from the agony of PTSD and now you’re somewhat sober and a crack investigator on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But you’ve uncovered something you never wanted to see: The “Eyes Only” notice that there’s nuclear weapon on American soil loosed by terrorists. An H-bomb ticks down toward detonation. But where? That was seven months ago. You didn’t find the bomb, and it blew a hole through the heart of America. That Halloween night you get the word that there is a second bomb out there. It’s a dirty trick. Finding it will be no treat. You stare into a world of pain. Fortunately, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, you still must pay the price. Ask yourself, what’s your life worth when millions of others are at stake?

Drop me a note if you’d like a read. But please do know that most of all I am grateful for your help, your thought, and your attention.


Jeff, Glad to hear you’ve been able to rescue your work.
Thanks for the offer of a copy of your book. I’ll ping you an email with my contact details. :smiley: