Forcing a Master Project—Urgent!

I’m not sure how, but I’ve got so many enough different versions of a project that I won’t bother to describe them in detail. The problem began when a single chapter I’d written on my Mac went missing on all machines: Mac, Macbook, and iPad. And no, it didn’t end up in the Conflicts folder either. No trace of it on any machine in any file. Attempting to use backup versions and make ‘just in case’ copies has only made matters worse. And to make matters more confusing, playing around endlessly, that missing chapter 24 suddenly appeared.

My iPad now has a 20-chapter version of the book that quit existing a week before the Scrivener for iOS even came out. The iPad also acquired has that chapter 24 that had for the second time disappeared on my Mac. Getting inventitive, I cut that chapter into iA Writer on my iPad. Then on my Mac, I pasted that chapter from iA Writer into what seems to be otherwise a complete version. The Mac version seems now to be up-to-date, but I’ve become paranoid that it’ll again lose chapters.

FYI: I get the impression that some of my troubles lie in ‘ghost’ synching connections that continue to exist when a file is saved to a zip backup or duplicated in macOS and moved to a different folder. In that other folder and in a new copy on a Mac, when the project is opened, it seems to still know how to ‘phone home’ and synch with the iOS version. Is that true? If so, that explains why those backup copies became corrupted.

And for what it is worth this project has grown quite large, 88.6 MB with all my research documents. That may be an issue.

OK, here’s the meat of this problem:

MY PROBLEM: I’m in a situation where I can fix this problem. I have what I think is an up-to-date version, so two days of writing are not lost. But to make all right again, I need that now-open Mac version to become the MASTER, obliverating all others. But I’m not sure how to do that without continuing to have trouble. When it comes to synching, these projects seem to have minds of their own.

A POSSIBLE ANSWER: Can I Save As that project to a new name on my Mac to the Scrivener Dropbox folder? Will that then sever ALL connections to any existing project on other devices, including my iPad? I need a clean start. I don’t need any project on any machine thinking it is linked to a previously existing project. That leads to all sorts of horrors.

This fix should also help others who’ve developed synching issues but have a backup project file that they could make into a new master. It would give them a clean start.

–Mike Perry

There are no “ghost links”, provided you wait for all uploads/downloads to/from the Dropbox server to finish.

I made what you describe as creating a Master file, earler today. I Save as under a new name, in my sync folder. I then made some final editing, icluding getting rid of unnecessary research and emptying the project trash. Saved, quit Scrivener, moved the old surplus projects out of the sync folder, waited until the Dropbox app reported that all syncing with the server was done, and that’s it! Now all machines work only with the new Master project.

Many thanks. It’s the first time I’ve had a tech problem solved by a computer-literate cat—and a quite cute on at that.

You’ve done what I’ve thought of doing and the sky did not fall. That’s good. The sheer weirdness of these problems has left me afraid to try anything. Chapters seem to come and go for no discernable reason.

And you’re right, my book is almost done. I really should get rid of those research documents. Harmful or not, they are certainly not doing the Scrivener file any good. Here’s a draft of its cover. … 215cc064d1

–Mike Perry

Thanks Lunk! Saving under another name worked perfectly. Stripping out all but the book itself shrunk that project down from 88 meg to a far more manageable 1.7 meg.

This trouble has rattled me though. There are few things I hate more that losing writing. I think I’ll come up with an outside-Dropbox way to do an occasional backup.


I have my ordinary backups on the laptop (Macbook Pro) which is automatically backed up to one Time Machine at home and one at work. So the project should be safe enough.

About project size - emptying the project Trash can often shrink the project quite a bit if you’ve been working on it a long time.

PS, Cats usually hate to be called pretty, even if they are. They usually see themselves as ferocity incarnated on four legs. A case of self deception? Maybe…