help! corrupted files?

Scrivener has gotten into an odd state and I’m worried I’ve lost 100+ pages!

  • I try to open my file, SMB.scriv
  • a dialog pops up:


The project you are trying to load uses an older format and cannot be opened. Would you like to update it? A Copy of the old project will be saved in the same directory.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you choose to update this projec, make sure that you do not try to open the updated project using a version of Scrivener earlier than 1.10. Versions of Scrivener earlier than 1.10 will mistake the newer format for an older one and offer to update it- but doing so will corrupt the file (although a backup wil be created which will still be usable).

  • If I do “Cancel”, nothing happens

  • If I do “Update Project,” the project opens… but it has no contents! Just the trash. what happened to my work?!

  • How do I get my files back?

OS X 10.5.3
Scrivener 1.11

Hi Brian,

I’ve just replied to your e-mail, so if you can send me a zip of one of the projects that were backed up when being updated, that will help me take a look at what might be happening.

Also, if you can give any information on what you did right up to this happening, that would be very helpful.


Hi Keith
I’ve the same problem and it’s a real concern that I seem to have lost my data. I synchronise my files between my office and home computers and I suspect that maybe this might be linked to the problem. The ‘created’ date of the .scriv file is 1 January 1980 and I also suspect that this is something to do with the problem.


When you say that you sync them, exactly how do you do that? That could indeed be the problem. Scrivener files are packages (folders) and some synchronisation software doesn’t work too well with folders or packages, as they sometimes only copy/update the most recently updated files. If a .scriv package was created in this way with only the latest files and none of the older files, you would indeed see this behaviour. It is always best to zip up the files before synchronising them.
All the best,

If it is of any assistance, I have also experienced this, and lost the complete outline and few paragraphs of a short story I had been working on.

My only consolation was that the story wasn’t all that good, and it gave me opportunity to recycle some of the ideas into what I think is a better effort. :smiley:

In any case, I think part of the problem might have been that I was storing the project on my MobileMe iDisk. This was very convenient when I was on the road because my work would be secure, even if my laptop died/got stolen/got destroyed while travelling. Now, I only keep backups on iDisk.

I am using Version 1.11.

I’m using Synchronize Pro X to synchronise files between my home computer - memory stick - work computer. This software sometimes gives errors - haven’t recorded error numbers but will do that later - on synchronising but I always ignore these and there’s never been a problem. I may be able to retrieve an old version of my files; I was merely adding my tuppence worth in case it might help in solving the problem.


Synchronize Pro only copies files that have been recently changed.


I’ve been a Synchronize Pro! X user ever since I moved onto 10.0.0 and wanted to set up a back-up system. I guess, in all these years … it runs every night at 3 a.m. … I’ve probably had under a dozen errors posted. I always leave it to ask me to decide what to do if it hits a problem file. I have never really checked, but I think that happens if it’s trying to back up a file that is actually open for some reason. I tell it to skip that file and continue, so the problem file, whatever it may be, doesn’t get copied across. The next time the app runs, I find it does so without a hitch.

I guess if you ran Synchronize Pro! X while you had a .scriv project open you’d run into problems, but I always try to remember to shut all apps down before I retire for the night so that it can get on with its job unhindered.


Thanks Mark. Yes, closing down applications does seem to be important, but there’s more to it than that. I’ve just done a synchronisation with Scrivener closed and I had errors with both the zipped file and the scrivener project. The error is “An error occurred while setting the read/write permissions for the destination file”. The copied .scriv file is only 1MB while the original is 6.6MB, so obviously this error screws things up big time. The same error in other situations doesn’t seem to be a problem. I’ve retrieved the original version of my .scriv file but perhaps this thread may be of assistance to others. I’m not sure if there’s any advice other than to manually copy over the .scriv file if Synchronise Pro generates an error of this type.

That type of error, with Scrivener not running, seems unlikely to be connected with Scrivener.

You might want to check things such as write permission, available space etc. on the destination computer. If you try to copy over other files of a similar size, does it work correctly, etc?

Matt may be on to something there.

This also points to a user permissions issue. Not very clear in the message is wether the “destination” is the local to machine (internal HD) or the remote (meaning second location). The the destination is local (or a removable media like usb) it might be worth while to do a “verify and repair permissions” from disk utility. If the sriv is not local I would highly suspect a space issue. It could be a quota or simple filling disk †

†[size=75]This does not mean 100% full as unix based systems will only allow user space to occupy ~98% of a disk before telling user space progies that the disk is full. This is to allow core files like the kernel and the window managers to start even when the system should not be working. Think of it like the emergency $50 in your wallet. Of course if you are like me your wife always takes the emergency $50 the day you actually have an emergency and need it. Maybe not the best analogy, but it will have to do as I am not awake enough to think of another. [/size]

Yes, good points. I don’t think it’s a disk full problem because I’m able to replicate the problem with plenty space on the USB stick that I use to copy files from work to home. Synchronise Pro has two options under “Permissions” that may be relevant though I haven’t been able to find out what effect these have. One is “Don’t set permissions of copied files or folders” while the other is “Don’t check permissions after setting them”. Both are unchecked by default. I’ll do some experiments with these, though I’m a bit worried that it’ll raise other problems.

Verify and Repair permissions isn’t an option for the removable media (USB key) that I use to transfer files between work and home (btw, Synchronize Pro normally works fine in transferring scrivener files). Here’s the blurb from Disk Utility Help: “Disk Utility repairs the permissions for files installed by the Mac OS X Installer, Software Update, or an Apple software installer. It doesn’t repair permissions for your documents, your home folder, and third-party applications.”

if you are comfy with the command line (doing things in terminal) PM me and I can help you manually check permissions.

Thanks Jaysen, but I wouldn’t be that comfortable in terminal. I set the Synchronize Pro option to “Don’t check permissions after setting them” and that seemed to eliminate the error though. Whether or not this will cause other problems I don’t know. I think I’ve gone as far as I can go on sorting this problem out. Thanks to one and all for the help.