Disappearing folder text

Working on my PC, I was just typing text into a folder when the entire folder of almost 1600 words vanished. The folder was still there, and as far as I can tell, nothing else was affected, though the report of 1500+ words was changed to 1, in the corkboard and outline.
What could possibly have happened?
I have opened my Backup folder, and tried to open yesterday’s work, but I get a message that says “Cannot access:”, and gives the project location. Then, even worse, each time I try again, it shows that it had saved another, faulty version, and I think I only have one previous version left of the 5 I had programmed into File/Options/Backup. I have now changed that 10 10 backups, but I don’t suppose that that will help me with this problem.
Desperate and annoyed, there must be a fix somewhere.

Hi Newbie, and welcome to the forum.

Could you please tell us where your Scrivener project is stored? That is, do you store your project in your computer’s Documents folder or on its Desktop?

Also, do you have your Scrivener projects stored in a cloud-syncing service? If you’re using a cloud-syncing service, which do you use?

I ask because many cloud-syncing services have changed their default settings so that the user’s data is stored “online-only” or with a setting like “storage-optimized” or “files on demand” enabled. That has all of the project’s data stored only on the cloud service, which can cause issues when a project is opened.

If your PC is automatically saving your materials to OneDrive or Dropbox, my first recommendation is to review those settings in case an “online-only” storage setting is affecting your main project.

As for recovering from the automatic backups, the manual offers the recommended steps to follow.

In the Scrivener 1 for Windows manual, the process for safely accessing backups is outlined in §6.11.4 of the manual.

If you are using Scrivener 3 for Windows, then please refer to §5.2.3 for the steps to safely access your backups. The Scrivener manual can be accessed in PDF from Scrivener’s Help menu.

We also have this Knowledge Base article with the steps on restoring from backups.

My backups are on my PC, in the Scrivener-generated backup folder.

I don’t use any cloud-based backups. At least not deliberately. Nor Dropbox or OneDrive.

I just tried your way to get to the backups, and it is essentially the same as my route through File>Options>Backup, with the same result: Cannot access.

Just thought of one difference about the disappearing file. I had posted an image copied from the web into this one, and had thought to do at least one to all my chapters. Should this have changed anything?

Speaking of which, in case it makes any difference, I’m using Windows 10 and Scrivener 3.

When you’re accessing the backups, have you unzipped those backup files first?

That’s typically the cause of that “cannot access” error.

If your PC doesn’t have a tool for unzipping those backups, a program like 7Zip or WinZip would work.

It would if you accidentally pasted the image over the text – for instance if the text was selected when you pasted the image. In that case, a timely Undo command would be the best course of action. Otherwise no, it shouldn’t matter.

Importing images shouldn’t affect the project like this. But, it does remind me of another ticket I saw recently where an imported file caught the attention of the user’s anti-virus program, which promptly quarantined the Scrivener project.

You might see if any security tools on your computer have flagged Scrivener or this project as suspicious.

As for OneDrive, I’ve been finding it getting more and more interwoven with Windows on my old PC with each update. Microsoft seem to be pushing a default of storing user’s data to OneDrive unless the user opts out.

You might see if the settings noted in this Microsoft Support page are toggled on, in case that is a factor.

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These would be my first actions, under the circumstances:

  1. When something like that happens and the content of a folder/file you were working on vanishes, press Ctrl+Z which is UNDO, and the previous state reappears. In fact, you can press Ctrl+Z multiple times, if need be.
  2. If you’re uncertain whether the folder/file is the same one you were working on, look in the Trash to see if your work isn’t there. Trash is simply a folder with files and folders you’ve deleted. Anything in it can be dragged or moved back to Draft/Manuscript.
  3. An alternative is to click on the magnifying glass icon and select Project Search and search for a unique word or phrase you know you used in your script.

The other option I would add is to look by date created or modified to see a list of recently created (c) or modified (m) files.
use mdate: or cdate:
could use #d to represent number of days you want to check for recent documents In Project Search window right click on magnifying glass and choose modified date to search for recently modified files.
So choose search parameter of all (will show files where text was modified).
mdate:>1d will show all files/folders modified in today and yesterday. Increase number of days to look back farther. The manual has a the list of date search syntax in table 11.1.
I hope this helps and good luck.

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