"Could not save project document" error coming up every minute or two as I work

I’m getting the below error every minute or two as I work on my project since I upgraded the other day from Scrivener 1. The project is saved in a dropbox folder in a mapped drive. The same project in the same location was working without incident for many months in Scrivener 1. The dialogs keep interrupting my work and make me concerned that what I’m doing isn’t getting consistently saved. Can anyone suggest a workaround or fix?


ETA - I tried saving to a different Dropbox location, where I got the same problem, then later to my local drive, and the local drive version seems to have stopped giving me the error–so I hope that’s helpful to anyone else who’s experiencing this! However, long-term, I need to be able to save this to my Dropbox location because it’s automatically backed up.

See https://scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb/cloud-syncing/using-scrivener-with-cloud-sync-services

I use cloud sync locations for backups, but not for working files. You can always set things the way you like under File / Options / Backup, such as making a backup every time you save the project. And there is File / Backup / Backup Now if you get nervous about saving your work.

Have you activated smart syncing for your Dropbox account, so it doesn’t keep a complete copy of your work on your HD?

From Scrivener’s point of view, the Dropbox folder is local. As Lunk suggests, it would be a good idea to check your Dropbox settings to make sure that the Dropbox software isn’t playing games behind the scenes.

Please do not rely on Dropbox (or any other synchronization service) as your only backup.


Let me offer a suggestion here, if it’s not too complicated to understand. It’s based on some experience with an iPad, and not Scrivener. I’ve yet to see any issue with Dropbox and Scrivener, and I use that pretty much daily, since an amount of my writing is done on an iPad.

Nevertheless, I’ve seen something like what you mention on another application operating on Dropbox for its files.

I know I have some issues with the wifi here, which is both very fast (200Mbps) and has sort of micro-dropouts. It’s to do wiith 5GHz wifi and not being able to select when to use that, at the edge of its coverage.

What the situation looks like is that Dropbox wants to ‘phone home’ to check if there have been any updates, and that it might be doing this on those micro disconnects and reconnects – and failing sometimes, when the wifi doesn’t reconnect smoothly . This would make sense from a technical view.

My other editor app gets confused, and appears to ‘lose’ the file it’s editing. The file is always there, in the way Dropbox works, but it’s also true that Dropbox can decide the file isn’t ready to be used.

If you’ve followed this, you can see that it might fit the problem you’re having – and that you can cure it by saving to some location that’s not part of Dropbox, under its control.

To test, you might try just turning off your wifi on the laptop, and then opening one of the projects in its Dropbox location, one of those projects that’s been having the failures. If it is now stable, maybe what I’ve described is the problem.

What could you do then? Well, it depends. Wifi can be unstable for many reasons. A first thing to try is the good old standby of unplugging your wifi router (the box with antennas) for half a minute, and then plugging it back in.

Once its lights say it’s up and running (generally a minute or two), you can turn the laptop wifi back on and verify it’s working by loading a fresh web page in your browser, for example (has to be a fresh page).

Maybe you’ll get lucky, and this restart fixed the problem, so that you know what to do if it occurs again.

If this didn’t fix it, then possibly you’ve got the problem I have. In that case, the thing to do would be to set your router to give a differing SSID name for each band of the router. Thus, ‘mywifi2G’ and ‘mywifi5G’, for example. Then set your laptop wifi to the lower of the two bands: mywifi2G. See if the problem doesn’t now go away.

Ok, that’s a stab in the not-quite dark for you, and you may need someone technically knowledgeable to help if you want to try it.

Scrivener itself is highly stable, and wifi issues shouldn’t affect Scrivener itself .They can affect Dropbox, it seems, so maybe there’s something in this idea for you.

Ok, and at worst or if you don’t want to bother with trying it, you can continue as you are, following also Katherine’s advice not to use wifi as a parking lot for backups, which she says just for the sake of full reliability.

I wouldn’t do it either. But as said , it’s very successful here to use Dropbox for sharing work on a project between two machines with Scrivener on them.

Best fortune, then,

Thanks so much for the replies in this thread. One factor I hadn’t been thinking about and therefore hadn’t mentioned was that I was using my Dropbox folder as a mapped drive. This is handy for me in Windows, because if I want something from my Dropbox, I can just refer to it as X:\WhateverFolderItIsInDropbox\filename . However, Scrivener seemed to be having trouble with it. When I opened the same Dropbox files using the full path from C:, however, Scrivener is fine, so that’s what I did in the end.

I should mention that I’ve used this mapped drive with many other applications in many situations for years and have not seen a problem like this, so I suspect there’s some subtle issue in Scrivener’s file handling logic.

Please do not rely on Dropbox (or any other synchronization service) as your only backup.

Just curious why you say this. I’ve been doing this for years and have found it reliable and also very convenient, mainly because I don’t have to think about managing backups. Perhaps there’s some limitation I’m not aware of?

Because damage to any of the Dropbox instances will propagate to all other instances at internet speeds. The most extreme example of this I’m aware of was someone who forgot to de-authorize his work computer when he left his job. His former employer wiped the drive, and his entire Dropbox folder with it.

While Dropbox does offer versioning and recovery services, (1) that’s only if you pay them, which not everyone does, and (2) reconstructing a complex Scrivener project 1 file at a time is tedious in the extreme.

FWIW, I always pause Dropbox syncing (I just recently learned that I can pause it rather than shutting down Dropbox completely) when I start working in Scrivener, and then restart syncing when I’m finished ('cause if’n I don’t pause syncing I get a report from Scrivener about some file or other I’ve edited failed to save (usually when Dropbox decides to sync at the same time Scrivener is saving the document.))

Just make sure you remember to un-pause!

Dropbox is supposed to be polite and avoid collisions like this. Make sure that the project is fully synchronized before you open it, though.

Interesting about the problem being a mapped drive – I would suggest, a mapped drive on a Dropbox folder. There’s an amount of jiggery-pokery Dropbox will do to keep your apparent current version of the file operable, and that could be crossing with the never-too-great Windows filesystem’s issues, in particular maybe what are called hard links. Forget I said any of this; just I’ve run into a few things before which didn’t have anything to do with Scrivener :slight_smile:

I’m glad you solved your issue, and can also say I’ve solved mine, by putting a spare wifi router to use as a range extender on that 5GHz band. Result: much better signal at high speed, and no more problems with dropouts. What looked like ‘enough’ signal wasn’t, and this was definitely giving Dropbox some moments when it wouldn’t be accessible. Again, Scrivener dealt with this apparently well, possibly because it only needs the connection at the syncing moments, while another writing tool, IA Writer, keeps checking all the time, and ran into problems, pretty much gone now.

Wifi is a very handy, and somewhat untamed beast – we learn our ways to be kindly with it :slight_smile: