I made a simple mistake that has cost my some 291,000 words of my book. Even worse, the automatic backups Scrivener creates every few minutes were made of this mistaken file, and I can’t find any versions that include these chapters. Let me explain:
I have a “Final Manuscript” group file in the Scrivener page, within which are all the chapters of the book. Usually, when I click on this group file, I can see all the pages and get a full word count. For some reason, this didn’t work, so I “ungrouped” that group file, and then highlighted the chapters, to get a full count. And then, I moved this highlighted section of all my chapters, to put them back in the “Final Manuscript” file. However, I forgot to change that back into a group file. When I did this, all the chapter files disappeared. I thought they went into the “Final Manuscript” file, but they did not. They just vanished. They aren’t in the Trash file, they aren’t where they used to be. THey are just gone.
How is this possible? I’ve been trying to find them, trying to figure out what possible setting I need to change the “Final Manuscript” file to in order to see these chapters. I am at my wits end. Is it possible they are simply lost, or is there something very basic I am missing?
Just as strange, my Dropbox backup “rewind” inventory doesn’t have any backups even from yesterday. Everything in the universe seems to have stopped dead at 2:55 AM today. So I am left with only a back up from February that somehow escaped the wrath of the Scrivener Gods, but that’s four months of work lost.
If anyone has any ideas how to find these chapters, please let me know.
Hi. The first thing I would do at this point is stop everything.
Drop any attempt of recovery you may have going.
Go to your project’s .scriv folder and manually zip it using windows explorer share panel.
Give this zip file a clear name, and then back it up somewhere.
After taking the above very good advice…
And then, I moved this highlighted section of all my chapters, to put them back in the “Final Manuscript” file. However, I forgot to change that back into a group file. When I did this, all the chapter files disappeared. I thought they went into the “Final Manuscript” file, but they did not. They just vanished. They aren’t in the Trash file, they aren’t where they used to be. THey are just gone.
Are you perhaps not using the ability to display the contents of groups in the binder, leaving them all collapsed? As a quick test, try using the
View ▸ Outline ▸ Expand All menu command after clicking anywhere in the binder. Do you see your work now? Assuming you do, take note of where they are, and you can use the opposing Collapse All command to clean things up again. Note the little arrow icon to the left of the group these items are located in, and click that. See how that expands the group so you can see it, without having to use this command to expand everything?
For future reference though, you shouldn’t really ever need to move things around just to get a word count. For example just click on the group you want to count the total of, use
Project ▸ Statistics, and click on the Selected Documents tab. If that looks low, make sure Count subdocuments is ticked, in the Options tab.
Even worse, the automatic backups Scrivener creates every few minutes were made of this mistaken file, and I can’t find any versions that include these chapters.
That doesn’t sound anything like how Scrivener backups work. By default backups are created when you close a project. There are no settings that would cause a backup to be created every few minutes.
For the actual backups Scrivener creates, go into the Backup tab of
File ▸ Options and click the button at the bottom to load the backup folder. Please refer to §5.2.3, Restoring from Backups, in the user manual PDF for further information on how to use these files.
Thanks, unfortunately, none of these measures work for me. File-View-Outline-Expand all expands everything except the Manuscript file. I’ve already checked the Scrivener backup folder, and that’s where I find 4 versions of the same messed up file created by Scrivener, all within 11 minutes of one another. The only version that’s older than 11 minutes is almost 4 months old.
I really can’t comprehend why Scrivener works this way, or where my files are to be found. I would think if by block-moving a bunch of files to another file, and that was somehow not allowed, it wouldn’t let me do that, rather than just eating them and not showing them inside the file I moved them too.
I suppose I should mention that when I open the “Final Manuscript” file, it displays in watermark “Draft Folder” with a picture of a folder with 4 punch holes on it.
Okay, I just discovered something promising but still very weird. When I right click on the folder, it opens up many options, and when I hover over “move to”, it opens another set of places to move to, and one of those places is the same folder, “Final Manuscript”. When I hover over that, it opens up a huge set of places, each of which is the chapter title of my book. Which is giving me hope that it’s there. I just can’t figure out how to access those places. This only shows me how to “move” something to them, not how to access them. But maybe they are still “there”, wherever “there” is.
I was able to move a test file into this invisible folder, and it appears in there (as a title) when I go through that “move to” process of opening stuff up. But I still can’t find out how to actually access these files.
I thank you for all your help. Maybe this puzzle can be solved?
That’s the path to where you’ll find them in the binder.
Just take note of it, and then go there in the binder.
I’ve been trying like hell to find those places in the binder, but no luck.
However! I’ve been trying endless options and desperate measures. So I finally tried “duplicate” and this created an entirely new version of “Final Manuscript”. And viola, the duplicate version doesn’t have this problem! All the chapters now appear in the binder, and nothing has been lost.
I thank you so much for your help. I don’t think this actually makes any logical sense, what happened to the original folder. But somehow, when it created the duplicate, it didn’t have any problem displaying all the files in the binder.
This is what happens from trying everything possible. No brains on my part at all.
Again, thank you for your help and concern and kindness in working this through.
Oh, and now it’s too good to be true. The new duplicate just disappeared when I tried to move it to a new position near the top. All of it. Still have the original folder with the “invisible” binders.
Oh, well. At least I believe it’s still somewhere here. Just have to make a permanent copy.
I think, at this point, some screenshots might help. There is a disconnect between how things are being described, and how the software is expected to work, in very fundamental ways. This is making it very hard to understand what steps you are taking, or what your project looks like at a very basic level.
Here is what would help:
- Screenshot of the “empty” group, with enough context to demonstrate how you are ascertaining its emptiness.
- Screenshot of a newly duplicated group that isn’t empty, and again how that is being ascertained.
I’ve already checked the Scrivener backup folder, and that’s where I find 4 versions of the same messed up file created by Scrivener, all within 11 minutes of one another. The only version that’s older than 11 minutes is almost 4 months old.
Could you describe how these backups are being created, because again the software cannot actually do that? Have you perhaps tied the
Ctrl+S manual save to creating backups, and are pounding on that every other minute? If so, you are right now looking at the massive downside of doing that, without tweaking other settings like how many backups are saved in total for each project. You really want more than one day of backups, let alone fifteen minutes. But, I would myself seriously question the utility of creating four backups every ten minutes. I’m pretty careful about keeping my work backed up, and even I don’t take more than one or two per day when I’m working hard in a project.
Bear in mind, Scrivener is not the type of software that needs to be saved. It does that automatically as you work. That “Save” command is almost 100% a placebo unless you do tie other functions to it, like backups or snapshots. Then it does become functional, and one should be mindful of those functions foremost, rather than thinking of it as saving—because those functions do not change the fact that saving is unnecessary.
Do you ever click on those ?
Okay, finally, got it back again, and permanently.
I have to get some sleep. Been up all night working on this. I’ll try to fill you in on the questions you ask about backups, because it doesn’t make sense to me either.
I never press Ctrl+S to save. I understand the software does this automatically. And it keeps four backups, but I didn’t realize it does that so often as to make it useless by backing up mistakes so fast they can’t be replaced. I will have to check my settings and see what is going on.
Yeah, I’m really curious to see what is going on with the backups. A screenshot of your Backups pane settings may also be useful. I cannot think of a way of coercing the settings into backing up so frequently though, that’s very weird.
All right, rest well. Hopefully we can get all of this de-mystified!
I checked my backup settings, and nothing seems strange there. It’s supposed to keep the ten most recent backups, but that doesn’t seem to be happening correctly. And I really don’t know why it is saving so often. I guess to keep me from losing more than a few minutes of work if something goes wrong? But that seems crazy insofar as it can’t keep more than a very short range of backups to protect me.
I have never had any problems navigating through the binder folders before. Or moving them around. I have no idea why this particular one went into invisible shutdown mode. It really makes no sense.
I’m just glad I finally got it back.
Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping the screenshots can help with. Maybe you’ve found some kind of bug that makes groups full of things not capable of being expanded, and if so, that’s definitely something we’d want to take a look into. But it could just be an usual condition or setting that I’d know by eye.
Glad to hear things are working good for now though! What we might do at some point is try and rebuild the project, but we can save that for when you have time. It’s not too complicated, but there are some things you want to go through on a checklist to make sure you don’t lose metadata and compile settings.
For backups, until we get that sorted, make use of the
File ▸ Back Up ▸ Back Up To... command, and save those somewhere separate from the usual backup location for now. Do that whenever you’ve done a chunk of work you don’t want to lose. You can put a keyboard shortcut on it to make it easier, as well.
After thinking it over, my basic theory is that my computer is probably at fault. It’s ten years old, it’s very slow, it makes strange noises now and then, and I run into small problems here and there that give me the impression that it may be on its last legs. So after talking it over with my wife, we’ve decided it’s time to just buy a new computer and re-install everything. A pain in the ass, and an extra expense, but it’s probably worth it. I just can’t take the chance of even weirder things happening at this point.
So I don’t think the problem is in your software. I’m also apparently having problems with dropbox backup, so I think it’s something much more basic that’s wrong with my equipment. So I’ll just see what I can find out there and hopefully these problems will just go away.
(I admit to not reading this thread closely, I’m not a Windows user, and I haven’t had my caffeine yet this morning - so please forgive me if I’m out of line with this comment).
Anytime I hear Dropbox and weird things happening mentioned in the same breath I immediately think to check that the “Smart Sync” feature is turned OFF for the folder(s) where your Scrivener projects are.