Error trying to back up Scrivener project

I’m getting an error when trying to backup that I don’t usually get.
Normal steps:
“Fritz” project exists on Public (\\VBoxSvr) (Z:)
I create backups to E:/ScrivenerBackups
Then I copy the entire project from Public (\\VBoxSvr) (Z:) to my Dropbox file for additional protection.

Somehow yesterday I must have done cut-and-paste rather than copy to Dropbox and my Fritz project disappeared from the Public directory.

I opened the copy on Dropbox, did a ‘save as’ ‘Fritz_20230404’ onto the Public (Z:) drive.
I’ve been working on that saved-as version. But when I try to create a backup I get the error message:
Could not create project: Fritz_20230404 [2023_04-05_11_31_59]
Could not create project at E:/ScrivenerBackups/Fritz_20230404 [2023_04_05_11_31_59].scriv

Does Dropbox somehow mess with the project making it impossible to do the backup from the ‘saved-as’ version?

Or is something else going on?

To take a guess, I’d say perhaps something with the idea of having two timestamps mixes up the software regarding the destination file.

Try saving as, without this part:

But don’t name your project the same as it was before, as this may quickly become confusing, should you stumble back upon the “original”.

Thanks. But all my project versions are named that way (e.g. Fritz_20230404) and normally back up ok. In fact, I restored one of my backups (from thumb drive), did a save-as with it, and the new version backed up fine to the thumb drive (E:/ScrivenerBackups).

I think it’s something to do with the file I try to use from Dropbox and save-as to my hard drive. That’s disconcerting since my purpose in copying to Dropbox is to have a copy in the cloud should hard drive and thumb drive both fail.

If I may, I personally wouldn’t use dropbox for backup purposes, since it is designed to sync across computers, and therefor keeps the file you want to backup live and exposed to user errors.

I use google drive.
Imo it is a good 20-30 times safer.

And again, don’t use it (Google drive) in sync mode.
You log in, you upload your backup(s), you log out.

1 Like

Uh, Google Drive syncs across computers as well.

It also is known to mishandle Scrivener projects, so I assume you’re using ZIP files?

I don’t work on my Dropbox copy. I work on the copy at Public (\VBoxSvr) (Z:) and then copy that to Dropbox after I close the project.

If you don’t have Scrivener to produce a zipped (preferably timestamped) backup, meaning that you are uploading the raw project files (even though a copy) to Dropbox, then that is 1) the wrong way to go about things, and could very well, yes, 2) explain your current issue.

As @kewms implied, those cloud services like to take it upon themselves to “improve/optimize” your stuff.
The result usually being what you are currently experiencing. (A broken project.)
Having a zipped backup prevents them from messing around with your content.

So nice of them to “take it upon themselves” to mess with one’s files. I’ll switch to the zipped file.

Thanks for the suggestions.

1 Like

If you go to Options/Backup, you can set automatic backups (for e.g. when you quit Scrivener) and have them automatically zipped.
As an advice, set them to be timestamped too, as this makes it quite convenient comes the time when you need to know what is what.

I think you are making your backup regime too complicated, but in the spirit of “better”. May I suggest you consider this alternative approach.

  • Keep your working Scrivener Project on the local computer, not on a remote server or drive. IMHO Simpler and more performant. A good place would be the Documents folder (there is a reason for this).

  • Set Scrivener to do automatic backups. You chose on or both open/close, and you choose how many copies you want to keep. That will create a ZIP file of the entire project, a very “safe” way to keep backups of the scores/hundreds of files in a Scrivener Project. Direct the backups to your local machine in the Documents folder (there is a reason for this). Must be a different subfolder than holding your Scrivener Projects.

  • As you are a Dropbox customer, use their new Backup service to backup (not sync) the “Documents” folder. That is a standard folder that Dropbox will backup for you and do it automatically. That is why above I suggest putting Scrivener projects and backups each in their own subfolder of Documents. The new Dropbox backup servies is not a sync. See How to Use Dropbox Backup - Dropbox Help. (Syncing is not a good backup method, as mentioned above in and in many other posts here)

  • Stop doing the “save as”. Do if you must, but adds complexity and risk of lots of things going wrong (suggested in some of the posts above).

With above you have good backups local AND in the remote Dropbox backup site.

Also setup, if not done already, a full and regular backup of your computer. I recall Windows provides an app for that. On Mac that would be TimeMachine.

As an aside, if you are using Dropbox for syncing, take care to ensure you understand if the files you are synching are offline or online. Scrivener projects, if synced, MUST be offline. See Make your Dropbox files available offline - Dropbox Help. Offline/Online, controlled by you, might be one of the causes of your issues you report. Not sure.


Thanks for the info about Dropbox backup. I’ll have to explore that. Since I don’t do any syncing, all I need Dropbox for is a backup in the cloud. And I’ll make sure I zip my backup files.

I do keep my working copy of my Scriv projects on my local computer, in my Public (\VBoxSvr) (Z:) directory because I do a lot of non-Scriv stuff related to my projects on the host Linux machine.

The only reason I was doing “save as” was because I had somehow lost my local version of the project (probably clicked ‘cut’ rather than ‘copy’ when trying to copy to Dropbox). So I needed to re-establish the project in the correct directory.

But doing ‘save as’ is necessary after I restore from a backup, isn’t it? I need to give the newly opened backup a “regular” (non-backup) name and also use ‘save as’ to save it to the proper folder and not back to the thumb drive or Dropbox.

Syncing to Dropbox as a backup not a good idea. Any sync backup not secure. And I’ve had many of my thumbdrives fail over the decades of use, so I would not count on them either.

Not putting the projects in your Public folder and instead putting your Scrivener Projects and Backups in subfolders of Documents (or whatever Windows calls it now) is strategic to allow you to use Dropbox Backup. Using something like BackBlaze for backup also a good offsite backup and has fewer restrictions on folders than Dropbox. Just avoid syncing for backup.

Sounds like you do a lot of restores and renaming of projects, something that is rare for me. Unusual. I have never had to restore a Scrivener project despite all my backups. So I cannot comment further.

1 Like

How I deal with backups :

1 Like