HELP. Lost in Transfer 2

I have now successfully entered registration details (didn’t do anything different, it just suddenly accepted them) but there is absolutely NOTHING there of my work. How can I get it back? I am beside myself.

Have you used the Finder and/or a Spotlight search to look for the project? It will have a .scriv extension, and should be in your Documents folder if you didn’t explicitly set a different directory.


Thank you Katherine. I have used the search function but only have the last back up I made (it doesn’t seem to save anything automatically) to my desktop (indeed in documents) and to an external hard disk which was on the 7th of June. LOADS of work since then…any other tips?

ps scrivener is still crashing on opening. when i open it it is yet again empty of any content (despite importing my old back up) I am still getting the request to buy, try, or register…and I’m screaming and crying.

Ruth, I had a strange thing happen when I was a new user of Scrivener. My file disappeared. It wasn’t on Scrivener’s Recent Projects list, it wasn’t in Finder. I was desperate. Eventually, however, I found it in Recent Items under the Apple logo. I swear, it could not be found anywhere else. Please try this location before you give up.

BTW, it has never happened since. Sun spots? Who knows?

Best of luck to you :smiley: .

Scrivener has an autosave function that should save everything every few minutes. Is it possible that it’s been saving to a network drive or a USB stick? Or to somewhere else other than your main directory?

You actually have two problems here. The first is missing data, the second is Scrivener’s refusal to run. I would strongly recommend that you separate the two issues by using operating system tools (such as Finder and Spotlight) to look for your data, then make a copy of the project before opening it in Scrivener. Since Scrivener is misbehaving, you shouldn’t trust it to tell you what data exists (or not).

(Note that the .scriv file is actually a folder in disguise. Internally, Scrivener uses RTF files. That means your data is safe and can be extracted by other tools even if you can’t get Scrivener working.)

Now, as for the problems with Scrivener itself…

When you say “empty of any content,” what does that mean? Have you tried opening your project from the File menu? If you closed the project window before you shut Scrivener down, Scrivener will run without automatically loading a project. That’s normal behavior and not a cause for concern.

Also, if Scrivener is crashing on opening, how are you able to tell whether it is empty of content? I’m having trouble visualizing what’s actually going on here.

In any case, the nuclear solution should solve any problems with your Scrivener installation: delete Scrivener. Delete your downloaded copy of Scrivener. Empty the trash. Then download and install a fresh copy from the Literature & Latte site, and try your registration code with that. Make sure you have the most current version, which is at

Keith (the developer) will probably weigh in soon with additional suggestions. He’s in the UK, so the time zone difference means he’s around at what seem like weird hours in the US.

Hope this helps.


When a crash occurs, the program’s preferences can get trashed (OS X does this, I believe, in an attempt to help the app start properly again). The preferences files holds both the licence information and a list of recent files, so if it gets lost then Scrivener will ask you to re-enter your registration details and the “Open Recent” list will be empty. However, that most certainly doesn’t mean that your work is lost - the list there is just a list of paths to recent files. It being empty has nothing to do with deleting the files from your hard disk - they should still be there, as Scrivener most certainly would not delete them.

What search term did you use in Spotlight? I would recommend searching for .scriv and then making sure you select “Show All”.

Also, if you could post the crash report here - in full - that would help. If the crash is happening whilst trying to open a particular project, try the following:

  • Ctrl-click on the project in the Finder.
  • Select “Show Package Contents”.
  • In the Finder window that opens, look for a file called ui.xml and move it to the Trash.
  • Now try opening the project again.

Let me know if any of the above helps.
All the best,

Hi Keith,

Thanks for that, and Katherine. London time good for us as Londoners in Provence!

We’ve done that already (my husband’s helping now). He opened the package as you explained to check the contents and saved it as a folder on the desktop. We’ve taken the xml.ui file out now and called the folder ‘novelcopy.scriv’ (can’t remember what it was called originally) but when we try to open it it crashes scrivener again. This happens on both computers. You should have received the crash report and the folder as an email attachment by now. Can you confirm that my most recent work (17th June) is somewhere?

Give my love to the Queen,


:smiley: Just to thank you Keith for your stellar service and patience in fixing my problem via email whilst in London. Back to work!