My entire novel draft is missing from the binder.
All the file headings are visible on the left folder screen, but when I click, nothing appears.
And none of the headings show on the cork board.

I closed and reopened the program – nothing!!!

A YEAR of work has vanished! How do I recover it?

Before you close and reopen again, go copy all your backups for the project from the backup folder (you can access it from the Backup tab of Tools > Options; if you haven’t changed the location, it will be either C:\Documents and Settings\YOURUSERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Scrivener\Scrivener\Backups if you’re on XP or C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Local\Scrivener\Scrivener\Backups on anything else). By default, Scrivener makes full backups of your project every time you close, saving the five most recent, so the most recent one or two are probably not any good, but earlier ones should be intact.

Before restoring a backup, I suggest you first rename your current project’s .scriv folder to something like “MyNovel-BadCopy.scriv” to prevent confusion and merging folders. (Be sure the project isn’t open in Scrivener when you rename the project folder.) Then, If the backups are stored as zip archives, you’ll need to extract a copy of the project before you can open it in Scrivener. To do this, either right-click the zipped folder and choose “Extract All” or double-click the folder and then drag out the .scriv folder to another location. You can then open the project in Scrivener as normal.

As far as what happened with the original project, it sounds like the project.scrivx file got moved from the project folder or the Files\Docs folder within the project was moved, so that the pointers from the binder to all the document files are currently broken. The most common cause of this is accidentally copying just the “project.scrivx” file when moving the project to another machine; you need to transfer the entire .scriv folder. If you moved the “project” file with the yellow Scrivener icon outside of its project folder, just put it back inside and it should fix the problem.

Another possible cause is using Dropbox or similar service to sync your project with a server. If the sync did not complete properly, you could be missing files from the project, so it’s not working properly.

Jennifer, thanks for the help –

I located and saved the three oldest saved backup files to another directory. They’re around 7,400 KB so I’m assuming the data resides inside them.

How do I rename the old .scriv folder to something like “MyNovel-BadCopy.scriv” ? Do I access the old folder from the ‘open project’ window and do it there?

Do I double click or drag the file to restore from the Backup window screen, or from the new directory I saved them to ?

And I’m not clear what you mean when you say ‘drag out the .scriv folder to another location.’ Another location where?

Sorry for the step by step requests, but I’ve never worked thru this procedure before…

To rename the project folder, you’ll go through the Windows file browser, not through Scrivener. So e.g. if your project is called “My Novel” and is saved in your user Documents folder, you’ll open Docments and then right-click “My Novel.scriv” and choose “Rename”, then give it whatever new name you want.

For the backups, let’s say they’re stored as zip files (with a zippered folder icon) in a “Backups” folder. You don’t want to open and work on any projects directly in this folder–it should just be storing your backups–so copy all the potentially good backups to another folder, like your Documents. Now, if they’re zipped files (which is the default), that means they’re saved in a special archive folder and are read-only. Windows will let you double-click the zipped folder and see the contents, but you won’t be able to open the project in Scrivener from there because Scrivener always needs to be able to save to the file.

So you need to extract a copy of the project from the zipped folder, which you can do a few ways. If you double-click the zipped folder to see the contents, you can just drag the My Novel.scriv folder from there to somewhere outside that zipped folder and Windows will extract it. You might also see an “Extract All” button in the file browser which will let you choose where to save the extracted copy. Or, rather than double-clicking and opening the zipped folder, if you right-click on it directly you should have an “Extract All” option in the context menu which will likewise extract a copy to wherever you choose.

Where you save the extracted copy is up to you; I’d just go with your Documents folder, or wherever you normally save your Scrivener projects. Since you already renamed the original, you don’t have to worry about confusing the two. Once you’ve extracted the project, you can double-click in that copy to open it in Scrivener, and if it looks good, then you’re set to carry on. If it’s not good, close it and try the next backup. Once you’ve found one you like, you can delete the other copies when they’re no longer open in Scrivener (just select the .scriv folder in Windows Explorer and delete it).

It’s worth pointing out that if your backup options are set to create a backup on project close, each time you open a backup copy nad close it, it will generate a new backup; if the project has the same name as the original it will be part of the same backup set, so older backups may get deleted when the new backup is created. You can temporarily disable the automatic backups while you’re sorting through this, or you can be careful to choose File > Back Up > Exclude from Backups for each of your opened backups if you decide you don’t want to keep it, but this is also why I had you copy all the backups for the project as the first step. :slight_smile:

Good news and bad –

The good news is that the files (chapters and notes etc) are there, in rtf.
The bad news is that I can’t get the saved, expanded files back into Scrivener.

I followed the instructions, copying and expanding the back-up files to a new directory. But when I try to open them in the program nothing happens: I drop down File/Open Project …go to the directory the file’s in, then to the folder it’s in, then highlight the folder (MyNovel.scriv), click on Open… but nothing happens.

I’ve tried it with all the backup files. Same results.

Any suggestions? If I have to rebuild this from scratch, I have about 250 rtf files, and they don’t appear to be in sequential order in the back-up list. That’s going to be a lot of work (and a couple of empty tequila bottles for solace) :cry:

Taken literally, it sounds like you might be trying within Scrivener to open the .SCRIV folder, rather than the PROJECT.SCRIVX file within it. If that’s the case, drill one level deeper (into the .SCRIV folder), select and tell it to open the PROJECT.SCRIVX file.

If not… here’s my verbose equivalent of MM’s note… And I sincerely hope you have been maintaining backup copies off your PC, i.e. on CD/DVDs or USB thumb drives or on DropBox, etc.

In Scrivener, going to Tools > Options > Backup
will show where the end of session backups are stored
and whether as folder whose name ends in .SCRIV
or as a single compressed file whose name ends in .ZIP

Likewise, if you also backed up elsewhere manually in Scrivener
via File > Back Up > Back Up To,
going there (i.e. File > Back Up > Back Up To)
will show where such manual backups are stored
and again whether as folders (.SCRIV) or compressed files (.ZIP)

Get out of Scrivener and fire up Windows File Explorer. Do the following in Windows File Explorer. It may be possible to do this within Scrivener, but is perhaps less confusing if we remove Scrivener from the picture at this point.

Likewise if you have also manually or automatically copied live project folder or backups discussed above elsewhere, look there.

Locate one such folder (.SCRIV) or compressed file (.ZIP) that seems should be good. Make a copy of it (copy/paste it) in some other location on your hard drive (desktop, or perhaps a salvage folder you create somewhere).

If it was a compressed file (.ZIP), decompress it (select it, right click and do “extract all” or do similar using an unzip program) to a folder.

At that point, you should have a folder whose name ends in .SCRIV.

Drill into it and you should see a file named

That’s what you want to open, to see if the project is good.

You can open it via:

  • Windows File Explorer, by just double clicking on the .SCRIVX file, which will cause Scrivener to launch and open it
    or by first launching Scrivener…
  • In Scrivener, doing File > Open, navigating to the .SCRIVX file and telling it to open it.

If the project opens ok and appears acceptable/complete, that’s what you are after.

Simplest thing then is to move/rename the old corrupted project folder out of the way and replace it with a copy of the folder you just determined to be good. Probably simplest to exit Scrivener and do that in Windows File Explorer, via moving/renaming the old corrupted project folder and copy/pasting the good project folder to where the old corrupted project folder was (where the live project should reside).

Hope that helps more than it confuses.

Again, thanks for the help, but I still have a problem.

I got this far:

And I opened the PROJECT.SCRIVX file in Scrivener by clicking on it. But I have the same problem as before: the complete binder menu on the left is still visible, but none of the files are viewable when you click on them. And no files, including the one visible text file, shows on the cork board.

A clarification: the program opens on a single text/file, the one I had been working on the past week. But only that one. And it doesn’t show on the cork board.

I used the oldest backup file available (4 days old). All my docs show in the Explorer folder. I can load and save them as Word files from Explorer, but they’re not recoverable inside Scrivener. Nor can I create new files or folders in the recovered project.

I do have older back-ups of my entire hard drive, on a portable drive via my Windows backup program, but it’s cumbersome to use that. I’m guessing I’ll have to bite the bullet and start a new project, and copy the doc files one by one back into Scrivener (sigh).

If you’ll send the zipped backup to AT literatureandlatte DOT com ATTN: Jennifer with a link to this thread, I’ll take a look at it. If the files are all present and the binder list is there too, it sounds like the filepath just got messed up at some point, and we can probably fix it much faster than re-importing everything to recreate the project.

Thanks for the gracious offer…
I sent the file to you this morning via email…
Hope it got there OK, and that it’s reparable…

Hope you can let me know asap the status, so if it’s not fixable I can start reassembling it here.

Thanks again…

Just sent you a reply. It looks fine–don’t reassemble! :slight_smile:

Working!!! :smiley:

Thanks for solving the problem…
If I had been more alert, I could have saved us all a lot of time!