crash % synchronising search strings

for the last 2 weeks, Scrivener freeses regularly. And when I restart I get a message that says ’ synchronising search strings’. This takes several minutes.
I don’t trust Scrivener any more, but would like to be confident working with it again. What happens. What can I do.
I have a MacBook Pro, OS X 10.4.11. Would it help if I ungraded to Leopard?

What version of Scrivener are you on? . Make sure to save the console and crash log, if any, when this happens and send them to Keith. As no one else is reporting this kind of behavior, there is probably something else going on besides a Scrivener bug.

Try the usual: Delete all Scrivener system files and check your disk with Disk Utility or Disk Warrior. Try repair permissions; download a fresh copy; and re-install. Try starting up in safe mode if you have any third party preference panes or haxies. There may also be a conflict with another ordinary application, so disable your other login items and try the new installation with Scrivener alone. Then activate your regular apps one at a time and see if the problem recurs. Scrivener 1.11 betas work pretty well in Leopard, but an upgrade to Leopard can bring its own problems with other Apps. I suggest that you stay in 10.4.11 till you’ve solved this.

When you do upgrade to Leopard, I suggest that you back up your HD; and to a complete erase and install, then upgrade immediately to the latest version (now 10.5.1). The erase and install by itself will be good for your system.

Good luck!


I second everything Steven has said. I’m running Scrivener 1.11b3 on a 17" MBP original version, under 10.4.11 … I’ve hit no problems at all. I’ve taken delivery of my copy of Leopard, but haven’t yet had the time following a full bootable back-up to install it yet.

I would also advise downloading the 10.5.1 full (combo?) updater from the download site rather than using the system upgrade pane. Open in Safe mode, do a “repair permissions”, install and then do another “repair permissions” when it’s rebooted after the upgrade. Bit of a belt and braces approach, but I think it’s worth it.


The “synchronizing search strings” message will always appear when you open a project after a crash. This was added in 1.10. This will be annoying only if there has been a crash or something has gone wrong - otherwise it actually improves things. The “search strings” are internal strings that are used for spotlight searches. Previously, these were saved to disk every time the project was auto-saved, which could slow down saves substantially. Now, instead, these strings are only saved when Scrivener quits. If it crashes, though, they don’t get saved, so Scrivener has to fix them when the project reopens, which can take a little while on big projects.

So, the question, really, is: what were you doing when Scrivener crashed? If you can tell me that, then I can help you. Did you check the “Known Bugs and Workarounds” thread in the Bug Hunt forum? For instance, it is well known that Scrivener is likely to crash when you go to check project statistics… But it is also easy to fix this (and the next version fixes it without you having to do anything).

If the crash is caused by something else, then I really need to know. Just saying it “freezes regularly” gives me nothing to work with, so until you provide more information it is really very difficult to help.

Sorry you are experiencing difficulties.

All the best,

All the advise sounds very thorough, but a bit difficult. I just (3 months ago) left the Windows world ans joined the MAC heaven. Try to look at the things you suggested.
I have version 1.095 Beta. If I ask Scrivener if there is an update it tells me I have the latest version. But I see that you have later versions.
Is it better to upgrade to a later version?
Were do I find the latest version?
Thanks for the good advise


The beta versions don’t recognise the update - only the release versions recognise that there is an update (this is a problem with the auto-update framework I use, unfortunately).

You can download 1.10 from the main product page, or, even better, download the 1.11 beta from the Beta Testing forum.

Does the Project Statistics bug sound like it might have caused your freezing issue?


Hi you are as fast as lightning
I’ll try to download the 1.11 version.
One question of a beginner.
Last time I upgraded to 1.095 I lost my projects I was working on. The new version didn’t find Scriv files anywere.
Do I have to make backups forst of all the scrivener projects on another place than the Scrivener map, e.g Documents ? Does the new version clean the datafolder?

No, you should be fine… I’m not sure why you would have lost the location to all of your projects with 1.095, though. That certainly shouldn’t have deleted any of your projects - they should still have been on your hard disk.

Your old project files should be wherever you saved them to. A spotlight search for files ending in “.scriv” should find them.


the new version 1.11 is much faster.
Think / hope the problems will be over

I too am having the same trouble where I get the synchronizing search strings dialog and then the program hangs up. The program first froze when I was trying to import a large PDF. I force-quit the program, and then when I opened it again and tried to open the project file, it did as I described above. I tried a few times, downloaded version 1.11, still nothin’. Any thoughts on how I might solve this? Thanks so much.


Just wanted to mention–I had a similar problem last night opening an old project for the first time with the latest beta. Scrivener hung on “synchronising search strings” and wouldn’t open the project. I force quit once or twice and other projects opened fine, but not that one. It had a lot of PDFs, as I recall.

I had moved the oldbackup file Scrivener was creating to the trash before the new version of the project was open (though without emptying the trash). I figured that might have been the problem.

Stupidly for troubleshooting purposes, I trashed the project. I wanted to anyway, I just had planned on opening it first. I thought it was my fault and I wasn’t really planning on reporting it, except I happened to see people describing something apparently similar.

Otherwise, Scrivener is working normally and I have opened all other old projects with the latest version.

So I guess I’m just adding my anecdote to the pile. Probably not too helpful.

Sorry, “the latest beta” was not correct. It is 1.10.

Thank you, but as you note, without the file, anecdotes won’t help me locate the bug, if there is one. :frowning: It may just have been that Scrivener was taking a long time to process the strings, for instance; there is no reason that the synchronising of strings would cause a hang.