How can I find the version of the chapter that existed yesterday?

Help!!! Last night I had a scene just as I wanted it. I don’t know if I closed out without hitting save or what, but today it’s some weird mix of a much earlier version and a little bit of last night. I essentially have to write it all over, after having edited it for hours last week.

I don’t understand what could have happened? It was all there last night, I didn’t write anything new yesterday other than maybe editing one or two words – I just opened it and read it to my husband. Then tonight I open it and it has been mysterious replaced and I don’t know how to find last night’s version.

Assuming you haven’t changed the default settings and closed Scrivener when you were done working, you should be able to retrieve a backup copy from last night. Go to Settings (or Options) → Backups and click the button to open the backup folder.

As for what may have happened, there are two common causes of missing work:

  • If you use the Save As function, Scrivener will create a new copy of the project, and continue editing in the copy. If you don’t realize that it did so and open the “wrong” copy, you’ll find that any work done after the Save As operation is “missing” – actually in the other copy.

  • If you use a cloud service, the service may have stored part of your project exclusively on their servers, where Scrivener can’t see it.

The first of these sounds more likely in this case, as the second tends to result in completely empty documents rather than this kind of “mixed” version.

Thank you, that worked!!! Although when I first clicked on open backup it said I was saving it to the wrong folder and may be erasing my backups so I guess I need to figure out how to fix that problem as well.

I am so grateful for your advice, thanks again!!!

If you need to recover a backup, move it out of the backup folder first, that’s all. More about the error message here:

Just making note of the fact that after I compiled my “final” draft (PDF) Scrivenor no longer has the draft project. I may have checked or not checked a box or something. There may be a way to “recover” my original scrivenor file or not.
Either way I don’t have any text that follows book submission protocols, it is a DRAFT.
This is oddly liberating for me because I despair of finding the information I need to recover or reintroduce my PDF to Scrivenor for further editing.
Scrivenor is potentially a terrific program but benefits are easily lost when users have to peruse reams of information on various topics which may or may not apply to “my” case.
Richard Reid

Compiling a draft is a completely non-destructive process. It does not, and in fact cannot change the source project.

You can locate all projects on your computer by searching for .scriv files in Finder.

You can also locate Scrivener’s automatic backups by going to Scrivener → Preferences → Backups and opening the backup folder in Finder.

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Yes that’s why I was surprised and dismayed when it went missing.
Searching for .scriv files worked. But I learned this PC will not allow access to .scriv files the search finds! (That amazes me. It’s not a Scrivenor problem.)
The Scrivener file was in the Recycle bin. I swear I didn’t put it there! (Not a Scrivener problem.)
“You can also locate Scrivener’s automatic backups by going to Scrivener → Preferences → Backups and opening the backup folder in Finder.”
I have to admit I was unable to follow these directions; “going to scrivener” - I had Scrivener open to my project but I couldn’t find Preferences from there; I searched the manual for Preferences and lost patience.
Anyway after two anxious days the file is restored to its original glory! I will continue to look for Preferences but it isn’t urgent.
Richard Reid

As you’re on Windows and not Mac, you should look for options under the file menu.

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Yes Windows 10 (not by choice).
Options Menu is just for templates; Set template as default; hide "getting started’; Import/Export template; edit template info; reveal template file location; deletetemplate.
I doubt that I will be doing any of those things. So it’s not a problem for me.

Scrivener wouldn’t do this, but a PC cleanup utility might. Do you run any?

Yes, this is what you see from the Project Templates panel.

But if you open a project, any project at all, even the Scrivener Interactive Tutorial, you will be able to access Scrivener’s Options panel. This is what the poster above was suggesting you do, so you can locate your zipped backup files.

Open any project. Then select File > Options from the menu like this:

That will launch the Options panel, from which you access many of Scrivener’s settings.

Choosing Backup takes you to the Backup settings:

Clicking the button Open Backup Folder will open your current backup folder using Windows Explorer. There you will find the zipped files saved by Scrivener’s automatic backup system. Read more about Scrivener’s automatic backups in the manual or my post here. (My post was written for Scriv v1.9, but still applies to Scriv v3.)