Files with name plus "Backup"

When I search for a word or phrase on my Mac (normally using HoudahSpot, which is much better than Spotlight’s basic search), I often get results which are Scrivener projects with a .backup suffix; eg “Stories backup.scriv”.
I thought the Scrivener backup system had changed so that backup files were hidden, and didn’t have the word “backup” in them. Am I wrong?
It’s a bit hinky when this happens, because I’m always nervous that I’ll do something like missing the word “backup”, opening one of these projects, writing a draft in it, and then basically it’s lost forever because I tend not to open projects titled “backup”, being nervous of changing the original project by doing so.
Is there a solution to this?

Oh, and another strange thing; sometimes when I search for a word, the “Backup”-named project comes up as a result, but the original project doesn’t.

In Preferences → Backup, tick the box to zip the backups. That way Scrivener can’t accidentally open the backups. You would need to unzip them first. And if you need to do that, make a copy first, move elsewhere, then unzip.

Those are old backups that you in all likelihood don’t need to keep around at this point in time. When you switched over from version 2 to version 3 and started to open old projects, this is the naming convention and placement it will use prior to updating the project file format. It’s meant to be in an obvious place, in the same folder as the original, so that if something goes wrong you can delete the updated copy, rename the backup, and try again. You can do whatever you like once you’ve verified a good update, personally I discard them. I have no need for the old v2 version, and as time goes by that backup will be years old.

So, moral of the story is that if you ever did accidentally load one of those, you would know it, because you would get an error message about it needing to be updated to the new format, and if you didn’t really read that and just clicked “OK”, then you would end up with a “Stories Backup Backup.scriv”. Thus, if you do have any “backup backup” projects, it would be worth checking the “backup” copy to make sure it is (a) indeed a v3 project and (b) has nothing new written into it.

Can’t really say why that would happen; sounds like an issue with the search engine or the settings you’re using. Given the above though, if you go to the location of the backup in Finder, you should find the other version right alongside it.

That zip-the-backups option seems to be checked already.

[attachment=0]Screenshot 2021-03-02 at 13.27.13.png[/attachment]

In fact, I have a vague memory of asking about this before, and subsequently tracking down a bunch of Scrivener projects with “Backup” in the names, putting them in a folder, zipping it and trashing the original folder. But these must have reappeared after that.
I wonder is the problem that I’ve been using Scrivener for so many years that some of the projects are very old; they may be using the old system?

It’s quite possible! I still come across the occasional ancient project that requires updating to the new format. :slight_smile:

Turns out I have a whole series of zipped folders of “Backup.scriv” files, from 2015 to today.
How do you update a project?

I’ll send this question as a separate thread.

To avoid having lingering projects in an old format, search your hard drive for .scriv projects. Sort by name, and discard the “backup” copies of those that have them. For the ones that don’t already have backup copies, open them in scrivener. If they needed to be converted to the new format, they’ll do that, creating a “backup” copy in the process. Do that for all of your old projects, and then you can archive or discard your backup copies.

If you’re using Time Machine, just make sure it runs for a week, and then after that, delete all of the “backup” copies made for the conversion. You’ll be able to retrieve them from the folders where you keep each project using Time Machine so long as Time Machine keeps up with them.

I don’t quite understand what you’re saying, rdale.
Most of these projects are in constant use. I’ve trapped various “…backup.scriv” files in folders and archived them five or six times since 2015. They seem to keep breeding.

That probably means that at some point you opened “Project backup.scriv” and continued working with it as the “live” version of your project. For example, you might have needed to revert to the Scrivener 2 version of a project for whatever reason at some point in the distant past. The solution is to identify which project(s) that is, and rename it.


In theory that sounds right, but where do these backup.scriv files appear from? I keep capturing them and zipping them in folders. At that point there are no files with this extension. Then they start creeping back.

However, for the moment I’m rid of them. Thanks for your help; when they reappear I’ll come back.

If you open a project that is in Scrivener 2’s format, Scrivener 3 will create a backup copy of that version, and then convert the original to Scrivener 3’s format.

If you go back and open one of those backup copies (being in Scrivener 2 format), Scrivener will create a new backup copy of that, and convert the one you attempted to open. And if you had previously, in Scrivener 2, created copies using File->Save As, then those copies may also be ones that Scrivener keeps converting (and creating a backup in v2 format).

If you want to deal with this once and for all, use Finder to search for .scriv files. Once it’s found all of those, open each one in turn, let Scrivener open and if it’s a v2 format, convert them. That search may also help you identify copies of projects that you didn’t realize you had.

Once you’ve gone through the above process, do another Finder search for backup.scriv, and archive all of those.

Ah, thanks, rdale. I was a little baffled there; had just opened a project from 2017 to see what it was, closed it, trashed it, and found a backup.scriv version had appeared.
When exactly was Scrivener 3?

October or November 2017 if I remember rightly.