Disappearing Work? GHAK!

OK… I had a slow down on the system, so I carefully saved and closed all programs.

Scrivener SAID it had saved all the work in the two projects, and it closed (as far as I know) normally.

But I just opened Scrivener after restarting the machine, and two-thirds of what I had in the project is GONE.

I can re-create it. I still have the Word files. But… ye ghods! If Scrivener does this to something which is wholly original and created in Scrivener… I would lose my mind!

And then there’s the fact that this represents many hours of set-up and organization!

There are a couple of distinct possible causes of apparently missing work in Scrivener, most of which can be recovered from.

Regardless of the cause, and before you go on to do much else with Scrivener, visit Tools->Optoins->Backup and locate your automatic backups. Copy those backups to another location for safe-keeping. It’s possible that your missing work is in one of the backup copies of your current project.

First, and easiest to recover from; Did you use “File->Save As” to create a backup of your work before you started on your latest session? Is it possible that you left that version open and added writing to the backup copy, instead of the ‘main’ version? If so, open up the project that you created using the “save as” function and look for your writing there.

A second possibility is that you are using some kind of cloud sync service, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or One Drive/SkyDrive. The latter to are highly problematic, while Dropbox and other cloud sync programs will work, but only if you are diligent, as discussed here: scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb/ … c-services

This sync service possibility can be as simple as you delving into the .scriv folder and looking for files that deviate from the norm. Dropbox created files with “conflicted” in their names if there was some kind of error during the sync, and that can have the effect of Scrivener losing track of new files. See the “Fixing Problems” section of the above link for details on what to look for, and how to fix it.

Good luck!


Now that I know where to find the back-ups, I will be making copies regularly. I tend to operate on the premise that just because one is paranoid doesn’t mean the universe isn’t out to get you. Multiple back-ups have saved my keister on more than one occasion.

No, I did not do a Save-As because I didn’t know one should.

No, I am not using a Cloud Service. I have read all the comments on the issues with keeping (and working on) projects which are in a Cloud. That is why my co-author and I do an awful lot of exporting and re-importing of individual files, since we each have individual notes in our respective copies of Scrivener, so exchanging whole projects wouldn’t work.

Are you saying I should take a copy of one of the back-ups, put it elsewhere and unzip it, then rename it and try opening it in Scrivener?

I did check, with Explorer, and most of the added files are in the files section of the project. (No, I didn’t actually open any of them, I just previewed them.) It appears that the index is screwed up.

This is the error message I got this morning:

However, following the directions to rebuild the index did not restore the set-up.

Anyone else with an idea what happened? I notice someone else had work disappear!

My opinion is that one should not use save-as to create backups. Use file->back up->back up to to create manual backups if you are so inclined, and if you want more backups in more places, I suggest you up the maximum automatic backups to keep in the tools->Options->Backup section and point it at some place that gets backed up regularly (either a dropbox-like service folder or similar off-site backup).

It’s certainly an option, and kind of the purpose of the automatic backups. If you did your writing, closed the project, and Scrivener performed it’s automatic backup, then the files should be there. However, consider my answer below…

Two distinct possibilities here; you have a binder file or folder that contains the text you wrote, or the entry in the binder for these newest files were destroyed.

First, try a project search (in the toolbar, click on the magnifying glass and make sure none of the options selected will limit where it might look) for some of the text in the files you found browsing inside the project folder. Scrivener may have ‘recovered’ these files during the index rebuild, but those recovered files may not be where you where expecting to find them. Also, be sure to look in the Trash folder of the project.

If that doesn’t turn anything up, then try creating a bunch of empty files somewhere in the binder. This will create entries that may point, non-destructively, to the files that have lost their binder entries. You won’t have the titles or the binder positions of the files, but the text, synopsis, and document notes should all be safe.

If all else fails move the files you found out of the project, and then drag them back into the binder. You may want to search for similarly named synopsis and notes files, which would contain the synopsis and document notes (if you made any), respectively.

Okay, thanks… I’m doing a bunch of re-creation.

Fortunately, I was setting this project up, so I will be re-importing everything. Easier to break things down in order, I fear.

I did figure out that some how, the index must have been destroyed, but what concerns me is that I do not know how, so that I can avoid doing it again.