Data Lost

Hi :

When I opened Scrivener today, my most recent scriv.ex file opened blank. I then opened the one before that and it also was blank. This is not the first time this has happened. I re-entered all my data from compile a few weeks ago.

I realized that I had backup set to automatic so the program was making a backup before it opened the file and on shutdown. When the backup ran, the file came up empty. When I intercepted the backup and stopped it, I was able to pull up a file that had some of the text, not all. The first 30 or so chapters are ok in that file, then scenes start being missed here and there, then entire chapters, then some scenes will reappear. This pattern all the way to the end.

I’m awfully distressed about this and my first instinct was to give up on Scrivener entirely. However, Scrivener has been a nice program except for this so, if there’s any way to fix the problem, I might give it another try.

Any thoughts?

– Just tried to extract 2 of the backup files and the scrivx is missing. Actually, most of the files are missing.
–Also saved a file, opened it, and it was empty. Still had my chapter and scene designations but nothing in them.

Hmmmm… I can see how that would be distressing…

Having some chapters present and some missing sounds like it could be a side effect of the Save As command. Save As creates a brand new copy of the project under a new name, and then continues working in the new project. If you inadvertently switched between the old and new versions, you could cause all kinds of problems for yourself.

So the first thing to check is to use Windows Explorer to search for .scriv files and see if there are any unexpected ones scattered around. In particular, check any flash drives or other removable media that you might be using.

This kind of problem can also happen if you’re using Dropbox, or any other software that can update the project outside of Scrivener’s control. If Scrivener’s internal reference to a file is broken, the file can seem to disappear even if it’s still there.

Just to double check, you are running the release version of Scrivener for Windows, correct? One of the betas had a very nasty bug whereby files appeared to be saved but weren’t, but that version should have expired months ago.

To make sure your installation of Scrivener is functioning correctly, you might try creating a brand new, empty project. Create a few files in it, save it, make sure it’s saved and backed up properly. I’m thinking that might be a good check in case the project you’ve been working on is corrupted in some way.

Edit: One more thing. If you’re poking around inside a project, be sure to tell Windows Explorer to show all files and all file extensions. Some are hidden by default, which can be confusing. Also, as noted above, don’t change anything except through Scrivener itself, and MAKE A BACKUP, as you could potentially make the project unreadable.

Hope this helps,


Hi Katherine:

I did as you suggested, created a new project and put some files in it. Then I saved it and backed it up. Everything was fine when I opened it.

Things are also ok today with the draft I saved yesterday. No lost data that I can tell. I have my fingers crossed that it stays that way as I usually save a draft in a number of iterations over a day’s time.

My compile is also all right except for the usual problems of the first chapter being deleted as well as all the chapter heads. A small price to pay for having an intact MS.

BTW, I don’t use dropbox and am running the current Scrivener.

Thanks for your help.