HELP!! My files are being vanished!

This afternoon I downloaded the new version of Scrivener for my Macbook. It said it would re-open automatically, but it didn’t, so I reopened it manually, and all initially appeared OK. But each time I click on ANY file on the left-column – each one is a chapter of a novel – it goes absolutely blank. Instead of the icon showing a page with writing on it, it shows an absolutely blank page. And the right-hand part of the screen – where ordinarily I’d see my work – is blank as well, and says O words, O characters at the bottom. What’s going on?? Please, if anyone has any advice at all, I’d be very very grateful.

(And, for the record, I never disabled any fonts (or even know how too), so that isn’t the problem.)

Could you please give more details? To ask the obvious, you haven’t accidentally opened a different project by any chance? Check the File > Recent Projects menu to ensure you have the right project open. If you can provide as much information as possible, that would help me help you.
Thanks and all the best,

The same thing just happened to me, I’ve lost months and months of work, so I’m pretty desperate right now to get this fixed.

I had been saving everything under the default “Tutorial” .scriv file. So when I updated the program I still had all my projects there but they were completely empty. I think that the new version simply replaced the old Tutorial .scriv file; in doing so Scrivener removed whatever I had written in my projects.

What do you think, Keith?

I would really really love to fix this problem, the situation is devastating.

Only guessing but if you’ve been saving your work in a default system file (why???) I imagine the new install would have overwritten it since it should install a new tutorial file. You could go to a backup. If you use Time Machine you could restore it through that too. You should then save the file as a new file somewhere in your Documents folder.
By way of information here is how I backup my files - automatically through .Mac on a daily basis, hourly through Time Machine, and weekly through the export of a zipped backup file to Dropbox. Dropbox is free at its most basic level so everyone can use that. If you backup none of these problems will happen of course (and if you don’t you can bet that one day they surely will).


In both of these instances (I’ve been speaking to the op via e-mail), the problem has been caused by the user saving work in the Tutorial file. Before giving information on how to retriever your work, I must reiterate:

Please never save critical work in the Tutorial project. I cannot emphasise this enough. The tutorial project is just that - a tutorial project. As such whenever the program gets updated with new features, the tutorial project will get reset and updated too, as you would expect. The tutorial project is a place to learn about the features of Scrivener. Once you have finished the tutorial, you should set up your own projects for your own work, by going to File > New Project (just as you would create your own files in any program).

Don’t worry, though, all is not lost - provided you have not emptied the Trash on your machine after updating. Here’s how to retrieve your work from the old Tutorial project:

  1. Open the Trash on your machine by clicking on the Trash icon in the Dock.
  2. Locate Scrivener inside the Trash folder. This is the copy of Scrivener that you were using before the update - the update will have moved this old copy to the trash.
  3. Ctrl-click on the copy of Scrivener inside the Trash and select “Show Package Contents”.
  4. A new Finder window will open. Double-click into the “Contents” folder to open that and then the “Resources” folder to open that.
  5. Inside the Resources folder you will find the copy of the tutorial that is stored within Scrivener. This should be the copy of the tutorial that you had been working on. Ctrl-click on it and select “Copy” or select it and hit cmd-C to copy it.
  6. Go to your Documents folder in the Finder or another location where you want to store your project, and hit paste.
  7. Rename the copied project to something meaningful for whatever you are working on - presumably you won’t want to call it “Tutorial”.
  8. Now open the project and carry on working - you can feel free to delete the tutorial files.

I hope this helps - and I hope you haven’t emptied the trash!

All the best,

Hmm, this has never happened to me, but if it’s a recurring problem, maybe the Tutorial project could ship with a default lock so that the file can’t be changed by the user without going to some effort? Hope everyone recovers the work.

The point of the tutorial is that it is interactive, so it can be changed. Also, Scrivener can’t open locked files. These days Scrivener asks you to save the tutorial out to a different location rather than use the one inside Scrivener, but this doesn’t help for older versions, of course.

Thanks for the help,

Unfortunately I already emptied my trash. But thanks again.