Girlfriend Worried She Lost Files -- Project Looks Like It's on iCloud Drive but Won't Download to new PC -- SHE's FREAKING OUT HELP

My girlfriend is a grad student who recently started using scrivener for her papers. She was on a mac until two days ago, when the cat knocked water onto it and totaled it.

She was using iCloud to back up all of her files. Every other kind of file we can download to her new Windows machine easily, but the iCloud download button simply doesn’t work with scrivener. We click it and nothing happens. If we try to copy the file from the iCloud drive manually or download it another way, we get a 0-byte .scriv file that scriviner tells us is missing data.

When we inspect the .scriv files on the iCloud drive, however, they seem the right size in mb, so the data seems to be there on iCloud, we just can’t get at it.

She’s going to set everything up with DropBox and do everything by the letter next time, but is there any hope in recovering her files?

Were the project files in iCloud or just the backup .zip files? If not the .zip backups - where were those located?

Are you viewing these files on the icloud drive windows app or on the web? May sound basic, but you may try a computer restart and try downloading the files again. Or if you are only using the desktop icloud drive app, you may try to download from the web instead.

In addition to @SkylerT 's advice and suggestions about the backup as *.zip (as created by Scrivener automatically if you tell it to, and you should), recommend strongly that you also setup and use TimeMachine (or equivalent) to backup the repaired Mac. Relying on a sync service (iCloud or even Dropbox) for backups is very risky as they only “sync” and if you have flawed files anywhere, the flaw will replicate.

With regard to the Scrivener project in question, do you just mean that she placed her Scrivener project on iCloud drive and would open it and work on it from there?

They’re .scriv files we’re trying to access in the browser version of iCloud drive and also by setting up iCloud drive on a PC (they’re all just 0 byte files when we do that.). She wasn’t syncing it/using it from there, they were just automatically backed up there with the rest of her documents.

I can’t find where her .zip files backed up to. They don’t seem to be on the icloud drive, unless they’re in a non-obvious place? It doesn’t seem like the app files themselves are backed up on iCloud, so I couldn’t follow the normal instructions to find the zip files

We didn’t repair the mac because it was too expensive and she was fed up with Apple – a $1500 brick.

Sadly, iCloud a dysfunctional “backup”. It’s a sync, not backup.

“Browser version of iCloud drive” is the problem. A Scrivener project is a complex object, with subfolders and potentially hundreds of component files. Attempting to access it through a web interface – whether via iCloud, Dropbox, or another service – is quite likely to give exactly these results.

Some services allow you to use their web interface to explicitly download a complete folder (which is what a Scrivener project really is) as a ZIP archive. I’m not sure how to do that with iCloud Drive: contact Apple support.

Alternatively, it should be possible to force iCloud Drive on the PC to download everything to the local system, but I’m not sure how. Again, that would be a question for Apple support.

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There is no iCloud feature specifically for Scrivener files. iCloud doesn’t know or care what application opens anything.

You can’t inspect (or see) them if you can’t get at them.

The way you describe the situation makes no sense, but my first thought (trying to guess what you meant to say) is that on a Mac, the project is a package and looks like only one file. You can open the project in Scrivener by double-clicking on it.

On Windows, the project is a folder. Double-clicking on the folder doesn’t open the project, but it shows you a bunch of files that make up the project. One of them, with extension .scrivx, is the XML index (Binder) file, and you open the project in Scrivener by double-clicking on that file.

That’s the clue I missed before, which @kewms pointed out. Your first post didn’t mention it.

You should be fine with the same files on iCloud Drive, though. If it says 0 bytes, maybe the sync is not complete.

There is a caveat, that iCloud sync is not terribly safe for Scrivener projects, but once the sync from iCloud to iCloud drive completes, you can drag/drop the project folder outside iCloud drive if you want, and open it there in Scrivener. The info in my first reply still applies.

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They didn’t repair the Mac.

well, the next mac so as not to get into this situation again.

Time Machine won’t help, if the response to a problem is switching to Windows,

oh well. twenty characters. as much energy i have with this issue.

I could assist with a Webex or Zoom session, in the next day or so, however, it would need to be in a window where I don’t need painkillers.

The alternative is call AppleCare and ask for a screensharing session.

Pros and cons.

I’m dosed up on painkillers and not as clearheaded as normal.

The AppleCare tech will probably not be familiar with the scrivener project format, so you’d have to fill them in on it. They will have the very latest knowledge and the great screensharing tool (even for Win)

I’m a recently retired AppleCare manager, so have reasonably up to date knowledge. (Even managers have to take some calls to keep current)

I’m also Microsoft certified.

If your need is immediate, call AppleCare or go on line and book them to call you.

If you can wait a day or two and want me to have a look and set up a time, pm me.

Very kind of you. well done. hope it happens.

I’m not too sure of the logic on that, but spill water in any $1500 laptop and you are likely to have a $1500 brick.

From direct experience.

It’s not going to be a component replacement, it’s going to be a complete motherboard for starters.

There’s also the likelihood of other components needing replacement.

I am aware of an incident where an Apple Store manager decided to surprise and delight a cx by doing a free keyboard replacement on a system that was working but had OJ spilled over the keyboard. My Senior Advisor had denied the free repair request and advised that under policy it would be a paid keyboard and motherboard replacement. Store Manager overruled the SA decision, which he shouldn’t have.

The keyboard is replaced and cx leaves happy. Two days later she’s in with a dead laptop and because Apple had replaced the keyboard she’s saying it’s Apple’s fault. Apple ended up giving a replacement laptop, all because someone felt sorry for cx (turned out to be ex Apple who knew how to game system when I investigated) The issue was, while the initial failure was KB, enough OJ had landed on MOBO to start corrosion and shorted later.

This is why usually the decision will be something like BER (Beyond Economic Repair), or a hefty charge to completely replace anything that could have been impacted by the spill.

End of day, it is customer fault, not Apple when liquid gets in a device. The cat’s involvement is not relevant. (It is often used by cx to get sympathy when angling for a free repair, though not saying this cx did - amazing how many cats spilled OJ, Wine, Water). Free tip, keep the cat, and any liquid away from your laptop.

I could write a book on the angles cx’s used to try get free/cheap repairs, but NDA (which I’ve probably already breached) and all that shit.


Oh, and just in case you think I’m the Grinch who stole Christmas with all the ‘it’s customer’s fault and no freebie for you.’, I did give a free replacement iPad to a mother whose autistic son had dropped his iPad . Because I had a tough policy, I had one or two up my sleeve to do a few proper ‘Surprise and Delight’. oops, there goes the NDA :upside_down_face:


In vino veritas Or in this case in opiods veritas. :laughing: