Help! Scrivener lost everything

Hi, when I started Scrivener this morning, it gave me a weird error message, which I didn’t get time to read. Then it crashed. When I restarted all my work for this year was gone. I usually backup to Dropbox (saving 5 backups), but when I looked for a backup to restore, I discovered that they were incomplete (around 20KB instead of 19MB). No docs were backed up. I had an older backup on another computer, but I’ve basically lost everything I’ve worked on this week. Any suggestions for how to stop this from happening ever again?

That sounds eerily similar to the problem I’m having right now. Unfortunately they haven’t giving me the actual answer I want but instead keep repeating the same thing over and over about Google Drive not dealing well with packaged files…what does THAT have to do with lost data???

Destin82, a packaged file is what the Scrivener Project is. In Windows, it is a Folder with many many files inside it. It is a Folder with a .scriv extension. On a Mac, that .scriv extension, even attached to a folder, would be treated as a package file. Meaning, you double click on that Folder.scriv and the system launches Scrivener, because it is associated by extension. Windows will always treat a folder as a folder, even if you give it an extension, such as .scriv-- so far there is no getting around it. What I think Scrivener for Windows looks for, is the project file inside the Folder.scriv, called TitleOfProject.scrivx which tells Scrivener where to display the files found in the sub folders of a Folder.scriv Project, examples are Files, Icons, Settings, Snapshots, etc.

Now, think of the Folder.scriv as a .zipped package, even though it isn’t compressed that I know of and it isn’t treated by windows as a standalone file. Dropbox, understands that Folder.scriv is a folder with many files inside it, and will look for and sync each and every file inside it. GoogleDrive gets confused at times, too often I’m sorry to say. So, it’ll do its best to sync all the files, but it’ll miss a few here or there, which can lead to a damaged Scrivener Project. Although it has been known to work on occasion, GoogleDrive is spotty when it comes to a packaged file, like Folder.scriv-- basically use at your own risk. What GoogleDrive IS great for, is for storing your Scrivener backup files. Because Scrivener backups are .zip compressed and stored for potential use, (and Windows treats .zip files as actual files most of the time) in case of a damaged project. I set my back up to do so, for open and close of project, as well as manual save. And to keep the latest 25 copies of a project (since it generates 2 or more potential backups per work session, as well as append date to backup file) and store on GoogleDrive. My working project files, non .zipped files, the Folder.scriv projects I store on Dropbox, because it is very good at making sure everything inside the .scriv Folder, gets synced.

As to OP, you are correct, Dropbox saved Scrivener backups, although compressed as .zip files should be small, they should not be that small. I am glad you were able to retrieve an older backup/copy from a different computer. As to preventing it from happening again on this current computer you are using, I’d like to ask a few questions first. Comp1 and Comp2, I assume they share the same Dropbox account, or am I wrong? Did you maybe transfer the Project file another way? If so, please let me know how Comp2, the one you are using now, obtained the Project File, and how it is set up for backups. Then let me know how Comp1, the one where you were able to retrieve the old back up from, was set up to do backups. As well as both Comp1 and Comp2’s saving speeds, example, every two seconds? Was the Project file open at the same time on either computer?

One last question, what are the version numbers for Scrivener on Comp1 and Comp2? If they are different, maybe Comp2 uses 1.9.0, but Comp1 uses 1.8.0, Or vice versa. I could see a mix up happening in some way. Scrivener, 1.8.0 saves the files inside a scrivener project as project.scrivx, where as Scrivener 1.9.0 saves the project as TitleOfProject.scrivx, inside the TitleOfProject.scriv folder. What I understand, Scrivener 1.8.0 can’t open Scrivener 1.9.0 .scriv files. But Scrivener 1.9.0 can and will convert older projects into the current 1.9.0 style structure. Asking if you want to update the project upon first trying to open an older .scriv file where the .scrivx file was named project.scrivx as default.
The change from 1.8.0 to 1.9.0 was to tie syncing with Mac, Win and the upcoming iOS app.

I am by no means an expert on Scrivener and its problems, but I am willing to talk out your situation and discuss how it may have happened, with possible scenarios to prevent it from happening again. Example, even though Scrivener creates backups. You could try increasing the number of backups it retains, to 25, or every one. But, at the same time, have the backups be saved to the computer’s HDD, say to your Documents folder, in a Scrivener Backups folder of its own, called let’s say “ScrivBackups” for easy access. Then use a third party Folder sync program to sync Scrivener’s backup folder to Dropbox and then again to GoogleDrive at timed intervals of 5 minutes or every 10, 15, 30 etc. Or only when a change has been made to the backup folder on the computer. Maybe set it to keep different files, that way GoogleDrive and Dropbox will keep every .zip backup but the main computer will only 25 latest. I am talking about the .zip compressed backups. I used to have a syncing program for folders that could do this but I haven’t needed it since Win2000, and XP and external backup drives, since Dropbox came out, so I can’t recall the name, but hopefully there are free ones out there still. And if you can find one, try searching for it on Alternativeto website, to get similar apps ranging from free, to commercial products.


Thanks, DevanGelix, I was running the same version of Scrivener on both. What happened was that I had to travel so had copied the latest file off my PC (comp 1) to my laptop (comp 2). That worked well and I worked on the laptop for my 10 day trip. Then I did the process in reverse on my return. It was a few days after that that it all went to h*ll. I have never had them open at the same time, because I gave each computer its own backup folder in Dropbox.

I have now changed the backup setup on Comp 1 so it still backs up to Dropbox but without zipping the file. I now manually check the backup and copy it to a second folder on Dropbox and I backup the first folder to Carbonite. And as you suggested, I am now keeping 25 backups instead of 5. I think I’ve heard of a program that does what you suggest - I have a contact who might know the actual name of it. Appreciate the help.