Doing a compilation resulting in a reset to zero words?

I’m doing Nanowrimo (on track to win, yay me!) but the last few days I’ve read several, like maybe six or seven people, saying that after they compiling their novel they ended up either unable to open their novel at all (with error reports that the file was now incompatible with their version of Scrivener) or Scrivener opened the file but all their text is gone.

Now, I’ve been doing partial compilations all along, as I finish each chapter, but these reports have me very worried about doing a total compile for verification.

Does anyone know what is causing this? Did these people just screw up some how?

Is there a ‘relatively’ easy way to recover from this problem if it arises?

I am using the Nano beta version, if that matters. (I’ve paid for my license, but I thought I’d wait to update until after November.)

BethCutter, use the Scrivener File>Backup ability to create a zip file of your entire project, with timestamp.

Choose the folder for the back up to be in a different place from your project itself, so it will be safe. Making a new Backups folder in your Documents would be one idea.

You can do this whenever you want, as each result will have its timestamp, and thus have safe backups.

Scrivener Windows has been reliable for almost everyone, but these backups should save you even if you run into trouble.

You would unzip a copy of your backed up project, and have it recovered immediately. By keeping the zip file(s) themselves undisturbed, you could recover as many times as necessary.

Hope that helps.


As Clive suggests, making regular backups of your project is the best way to protect your work. With the official 1.0 release, an automatic backup feature was added to do this every time you close the project, but with the NaNoWriMo trial you’ll need to make sure you’re taking care of this yourself. Doing a compile of all or any part of the manuscript shouldn’t cause the text to disappear or any issues like that. (Where are you seeing these reports, by the way? I want to make sure someone’s helping these folk out!) There is a bug that occurs sometimes where the version.txt file within the project doesn’t save properly on close, causing the “Project incompatible” message, but it’s a pretty quick fix to get the project opening again, and no part of the project itself is affected. If you run into that, try running through the directions in this thread to get things running again.

Text going missing entirely sounds a more serious problem, but without details I could only stab in the dark about what’s going on there. If you have full project backups to fall back on, however, then even if such a calamity struck, you should be able to restore the project easily and keep moving forward.

Thanks for the replies! Yes, I religiously do a backup to zip at the end of each session, so I guess I’m safe. (BTW, I did a full compile for validation last night, everything went perfectly.)

Glad to know about the “16” solution.

(Where are you seeing these reports, by the way? I want to make sure someone’s helping these folk out!)

There are TWO forums in which nanoers talk about Scrivener, and come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone ‘official’ ever comment in the second. I never manage to do links right, so go to the Nanowrimo site, go to forums, then select: Resources & Writing Support → Nano Technology → Scrivener.

There are several hundred posts in that thread, but if you choose to view them as “flat” you can just go to the last several pages. As I said there are several people there who say they have had all or significant chunks of their text vanish.

Save them, Obi Wan!