HELP! Computer crashed and one chapter lost!

Before you dismiss this as the rant of someone who doesn’t know anything about computers, you should know that all of my backups are corrupted now too, and that I’ve checked my Windows Temp files with no luck.

I’m freaking out here. I was working in Windows 8 when I got a Blue error screen that told me I needed to restart my computer. That’s never happened before, but I didn’t think anything of it.

When the computer restored and I opened Scrivener, I got this error:

Errors Reading Project
Error: Error reading template info: Line 1 Column:2 Error1

When I hit OK and the project opened, one whole chapter was gone - zero words, zero characters.

I tried to restore the most recent file, and got this error:

Cannot access: ‘C:/Users/Andrew/AppData/Local/Temp/Temp1_name of storyzip/name of story/project.scrivx’ File is not writable: Access is denied. Auto-saves need write permission to your project.

Keep in mind that I always run as an administrator.

Meanwhile, every time I’ve tried to restore a backup has resulted in other backups with the same problems, with those new backups overwriting the backups that potentially have the information I need. I’m scared to shut down again, or to update Scrivener in case that creates more problems.

Anybody have any ideas? I’ve tried everything I know how to do and am left punching walls and contemplating throwing my computer out the window and my body after it. The lost chapter represents a lot of work, and I doubt I could recreate even a small part of it from memory.

If you have any ideas, please email me at

Here’s what I would do.

Do you have a directory called C:/Users/Andrew/AppData/Local/Scrivener ?

If so, try going into C:/Users/Andrew/AppData/Local/Scrivener/Scrivener/Backups Uncorrupted backups might be there?

Or open a Scrivener project and go to Tools > Options > Backup Have a look at Backup Location and it should tell you where your backups are being stored. I have a feeling uncorrupted backups might be somewhere other than where you’re looking.

First, find your automatic backups and then copy all of them to another location. That will prevent them being overwritten by newer versions as you’re working to resolve the issue.

The “file is not writeable” error message and the file path suggests that you’re trying to open the project backup directly from within a zipped folder. You’ll need to extract a copy of the backup first before you can open it, since the archive format is read-only. Either right-click the zipped folder and choose “Extract All” or navigate into the zipped folder and then drag out the .scriv folder to the location you want to save the project. You can then open the project in Scrivener as normal.

If you want to prevent that newly opened project from creating backups, you can chose File > Back Up > Exclude from Automatic Backups. Or you may prefer to turn off the automatic backups entirely for the moment while you’re working to restore the project, which you can do from the Backup tab in Tools > Options. Just remember to turn it on again when you’ve got everything settled. You may want to adjust the settings as well to suit your work style.

Although the open document was corrupted in the system crash, earlier backups wouldn’t be affected by that. If you have any from prior to the crash, you should be able to extract them and copy the chapter into your current project (or just replace the current project with the restored backup, if they’re otherwise the same).

If you’ve opened and closed the corrupted project enough times that you no longer have any earlier backups, you may be able to restore an earlier version of the file via Windows File history, if that is enabled on your machine: … le-history

The other error message about reading the templateinfo file project is innocuous. That file is only used to auto-populate the “category” and “description” fields when using Save As Template, and you can delete it without affecting anything else in the project. With the project closed in Scrivener, navigate into the .scriv’s “Settings” folder in Win Explorer and trash the “templateinfo.xml” file. The project will then open without that error message. This is unrelated to the corrupted chapter file, however, except that templateinfo file was presumably damaged in the crash as well, so addressing this error message won’t do anything to restore the lost work. Focus on that first, and then take care of this if needed as a final step for the cleanup.