From Mac to Windows

I apologize if this has been asked before but a search did not bring back any good results for me…

I was working on a Mac but it died suddenly. I was able to recover the zipped backup. But I’m now working on a Windows version and trying to restore my backup. I’ve extracted the file and it opens. However, only the outlines/headings & folders on the left appear but no content. Just dashed lines.

Does anyone know if this is due to going from Mac to Windows or if I need to recover more project files besides just the zipped backup?

Thank you so much!

This sounds to me like a common problem with restoring the wrong file, or rather not enough of them. On a Mac a Scrivener project looks and acts like one file, but it is really a folder with many files in it—a fact that his hidden by Mac technology. On Windows there is no such thing, so you see the folder. It can thus be a common mistake to only restore the “scrivx” file, which essentially stores the details of your binder and nothing else. It’s a map for where all of the content exists elsewhere, but without the content you get exactly what you described: the binder is good, but nothing exists when you click on items.

So you need to try and restore the entire folder ending in “.scriv”, intact, from the zip. Everything inside that folder is a part of your project, and without parts of it, you’ll find things missing.

Hope you get things up and running.

Thank you for the clarification. Unfortunately, all my files recovered from my Mac were renamed as just numbers. I found the .scrivx by its zip extension. Do you know what the extensions of the other files are so I can search for them?

Thanks again!

Ideally you shouldn’t have to concern yourself with tracking down each and every file from the project individually, that would be very difficult and I would advise that only as a last resort. In nearly all cases they should all be packaged up neatly in a folder hierarchy, with the highest level of that hierarchy being a folder called “Your Project Name.scriv”. Everything you need should be in that folder, so if you restore it and all of its child items at once, then you will have a complete project.

You do interact with the .scrivx file in Windows—it is what you double-click on to load the project, but you need the rest of the project folder for it to be of any use.

UPDATE: Found some of them… as .rtf files. Each scene is an individual file. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the scenes so I’ll have to try again to recover them from the Mac’s hard drive.

The zipped folder I do have only contains the one file with the outline. Any idea what the extension of the rest of the files in that folder would have been?

To make sure this doesn’t happen again, will the Windows zipped backup have all the files or do I need to manually backup the content files as well?

Thanks for your help.

Hi iambella,

Take a look at Appendix G in the manual, it describes the “Project Bundle Format” - what is in all of those Scrivener project folders. Hopefully that helps in your search for your data. Best of Luck!

The Windows zipped backup will have all the files you need. But you really need to understand and be intentional about your backup process, or at some point in the future you may end up back here again trying to piece together your work from scraps of data. Here is some advice I gave another poster with a similar question: [url]]

Hope that helps, let us know if you have any questions.

Go back to your .zip backup file, right-click on it and choose “extract all”. You should end up with a folder with the name of your project that ends in “.scriv”. That folder will contain all of your project; In fact, the folder is an integral part of the project, and must remain intact along with all of its contents. Don’t remove files from within the .scriv folder. In fact, don’t mess with any of the files and folders within, with the single exception of the .scrivx file…

Note that Windows lets you browse the files within a .zip archive, but Scrivener can’t access files inside a .zip archive, so you must extract everything and interact with that extracted folder. Once you have that, just open the .scriv folder and double-click on the .scrivx file within.

Thanks. I think I just need to recover the rest of the files off my old hard drive. Since some of my files are in the backup folder, it looks like the recovery process was interrupted (hopefully). I’ll also need to find the updated Appendix G elsewhere (online on this site doesn’t seem to be most recent) since even the tutorial files are .rtf’s.


The manual at the support page is up-to-date.

What makes you think it is not?


Wasn’t sure if the manual was the most recent. Couldn’t find B12 “Saving” mentioned in your linked post. No worries, though. I’m almost certain I (ok, my brilliant son :smiley: ) will be able to recover my files as long as they haven’t been corrupted by my failed hard drive.

Just to flesh out what people are telling you, here’s a picture of one of my projects on Windows:

If you look at the file paths, the top Explorer window shows both the file of my project, as well as the top-level folder project sitting expanded in the same directory. If I were on a Mac, that Ice Mountain.scriv folder would look like a single file, but it’s really a file package. On Mac, you would click on this Ice Mountain.scriv object to open Scrivener.

On Windows, that file package is just a file folder with a bunch of other folders and files contained, as shown in the bottom Explorer window. There you see the Ice Mountain.scrivx file, as well as a bunch of other folders. Down in those other folders, you have all the pieces that make up your project – the RTF files for each document in your binder, the XML files, etc.

On Windows, as long as you have the top-level folder (Ice Mountain.scriv), with the .scrivx file and all other project folders inside, then you have your complete project. You simply double-click on the .scrivx file.

If your file doesn’t contain a structure like that, then something has happened to your backups – it is possible that you did not have Scrivener configured to place everything into a single .ZIP file. If you do have the .ZIP file, though, your entire project SHOULD be inside. You just need to extract the entire thing to a folder, then find the .scrivx and double-click. You don’t need to mess with the individual RTF files; the .scrivx is the card catalog that points Scrivener to everything else.

Sorry, you are correct! The “saving” section of the manual was moved to 6.3, my apologies for confusing the issue!