False Report of Project File open on another machine

I currently use Scrivener on three computers (2 at home for a complete level of local hardware and data backup, and one at my office for offsite data backup). Do you think I’m paranoid? I admit it; I am. The work computer and one of the home computers run Windows XP/SP3. The other home computer (the one I really do all my writing on) is running Windows 7 (current maintenance level). I use a product called Jungle Disk to sync all data and project files across the three computers. I’ve used Jungle disk for a couple of years with no problems of any kind. It is functionally similar to Dropbox but, at least in my opinion, is easier to use and provides flexibility that Dropbox does not. On Wednesday (11/23), I upgraded my computer at work to Scrivener 1.0.3. After the update, I executed Scrivener 1.0.3 on that computer, opened the project I’m currently working on, and all seemed fine. When I left work, I terminated all applications, logged off, and powered off my computer. Today, I updated the XP/SP3 computer at home to Scrivener 1.0.3. I did not start Scrivener after that update, so I did not open any project files. Then I powered off that computer and powered on the Windows 7 computer. I started Scrivener to check the currently installed release (I didn’t remember if I had already updated to 1.0.3 on that machine). As it turns out, I had not updated yet and that computer was running 1.0.2. I have Scrivener configured to open the last project file at startup. When Scrivener started I got the following message.

This project appears to have been opened on another machine and could still be so. Editing projects on multiple machines is likely to corrupt project files. Continue to open?

At this point I selected cancel and proceeded no further. I’m 99.9% positive that no Scrivener project was ever opened simultaneously on any two of the three machines involved, but I admit I’m a little gun shy about continuing because of some of the recent issues users have noted where they claim to have lost data or experienced corruption of some kind.

I’ve been using Scrivener for windows since early beta releases, in this same fashion, with Jungle Disk, and have never experienced any file syncing issues of any kind, and I have certainly never seen this message before.

Do you have any ideas what might cause this?

I appreciate any assistance you can provide.

Dick Keaton

For what it’s worth, I’ve received this message, or one very similar to it, using Scrivener betas over the past six months. I have three computers and use SugarSync to do my backup/version control. This warning has only happened two or three times and in one instance it was correct and I understood what prompted the warning, but the other times I did not. I’m not sure what files Scrivener checks to prompt the warning, but I think the warning is only an ultra-cautious suggestion for you to manually confirm that you are not causing problems for yourself. I don’t think it’s a bug so much as a safe-guard. Since it has made me pause and did catch one problem, I like that it does this check. I’m fairly sure that nothing bad will happen if you are sure Scrivener is mistaken and go ahead and continue with the new editing session.



Thanks for the response. I went to all three computers and double and triple checked all Scrivener project files and verified (as much as possible) that everything was okay, but it’s nice to get a confirmation from someone else who has received this message that nothing is seriously wrong. Thanks again for taking the time to respond. You mentioned that you use SugarSync for syncing and backing up your data. In the interest of returning your favor, I’d like to caution you with regard to using SugarSync. First of all, let me state emphatically that I don’t champion or denigrate any software. However, when I’ve had personal experiences that are relevant I think it’s a good and reasonable practice to share them.

I loved SugarSync’s interface and the way it worked (according to the product definition) so much that I struggled to make it my product of choice. I really wanted it to work as advertised. However, in the final analysis, I had to abandon it. In actual use I had several data integrity problems - the most serious was erroneous reporting by SugarSync with regard to what was actually being backed up. SugarSync reported to me that certain files and directories were backed up when in fact they were not. To make matters worse, their tech support was of very little assistance. I’ve searched far and wide and have tried just about every major file-syncing product around. There are three that I have found that work efficiently and reliably. Those are DropBox, Syncplicity, and JungleDisk. I use Syncplicity and JungleDisk extensively. I prefer them over DropBox because they both allow you to sync any files and folders without the requirement to put them in a ‘DropBox’. Just my personal preference.

Anyway, that information is provided free of charge, and it’s probably worth exactly what you paid for it. Just one more struggling writer’s unsolicited attempt to be helpful.

Good luck and keep writing.

Dick Keaton

I use dropbox to access the file on two computers, I used to, when in beta, get that, or a similar message regularly. Basically any time I’d forgotten to close on one computer before opening on the other.
I didn’t get it at all in 1.0, 1.1 or 1.2. but I’m getting it again in 1.3. I’ve never lost info, but I like that it warns me that there could be an issue.

I’ve had the same problem with all of the betas. I use Dropbox, and Scrivener frequently warns me that a project is open on another computer when it’s not. I’ve learned to trust my memory and ignore the warning unless there’s a reasonably high possibility that the project is open elsewhere.

I’ve also just revived this message when trying to open a file I had been working on a Macintosh and transferred to the windows computer.

Scrivener checks to see if a userlock file is present in the project; if it’s there, you’ll get the message. It’s possible in some cases that the file isn’t being properly deleted or is being regenerated due to sync issues, and all is fine, but as an earlier poster pointed out, it’s good to double-check. The scenario to watch out for is where you’ve closed the project but not allowed enough time for the project to entirely sync before shutting down the computer or have not allowed enough time on the second computer for the project to completely update there before opening it. The first of these two could cause the warning message, if the network connection was shut down before the sync was completed and thus before the userlock file was removed. There may be other files that didn’t update as well, so if that’s a possibility (you closed Scrivener and then almost immediately shut down the computer, without ensuring your sync had finished), you’re probably safer making and working from a copy or keeping the project closed until you can ensure the sync finishes on the original computer.