How do I safely use Scrivener on different computers without losing track of my latest version?

Please do not allow Google Drive to ZIP your Scrivener projects, though, as it may have “helpful” ideas about how to do so. ZIP them yourself, either via Scrivener itself or your system’s Compress utility. Google Drive Advisory / Cloud Syncing / Knowledge Base - Literature and Latte Support

Sure.
I actually took for granted that we were talking backups generated and zipped by Scrivener.
Preferably with a timestamp.

If Dropbox ($8.3B market cap at the moment) fails or I stupidly delete my projects AND the backups, I still have three external time machine drives to fall back on.

Dropbox saves deleted files for 30 days, and their servers are massively redundant, but sure … it’s not impossible for them to lose all my files, but even if they do … I’m not worried.

If someone loses everything, they had to both (a) make it happen by deleting things they shouldn’t and (b) fail to keep other backups. Those are not arguments against taking advantage of all the convenience I can get.

If your latest backup is on a laptop that you then lose, then you don’t have access to that backup. There’s one reason to sync backups to the cloud. Reason two, which I already covered is that you can have one computer that’s always connected to its backup drive that gets the backup via cloud sync, and then so long as that backup copy remains (in my case, I have backups going back 2 years), you can always get to it, even when that backup ages out of Scrivener’s rotation.

That is not a real backup. It is like only half of it.
A cloud service offers a good place to store (one copy of x copies of) your backups. It is the sync part that is unnecessary.
And to take your example, if something happens to the sync folder of any of your computers, it kind of happens to all of your computers…
You are the one who first said “don’t put all your eggs in the same basket.”

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It doesn’t happen to my Time Machine drives on three connected Macs.

Of course.

I admit that this that I said is mostly based on an assumption of the way cloud sync services work.
I don’t know the specifics of each.
I personally chose to do things the old way. I just don’t use them.
To me they seem like way more potential trouble and issues than what I would get in return.

Way to cherry-pick my point. Look at the second reason I pointed out. Sync to cloud + sync from cloud to computer connected to a true backup system/service = real backup of a file that would be lost without cloud sync.

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I am not cherry picking anything or anyone’s arguments.
(We can have a divergence of opinion while remaining friendly.)
To me, what you described in your second point is nothing more than a complicated version of using google drive.

How can you justify the comparison of Time Machine to Google Drive?

Once my Mac Mini, which is always on, syncs a backup from any cloud service, the file is on my hard drive for Time Machine to create a real backup from. Unless there’s an immediate problem where the file is deleted quickly, that file will go on to be preserved until my backup drive fills up or fails. (Not relevant to the point, but I have 2 drives that TM alternates between hourly in case one of them fails).

The most common way for people to completely lose files from their Dropbox account is through their own error. This is especially common with older files: if it takes six months to need that file you accidentally deleted, the Dropbox 30 day window doesn’t help much.

The second most common issue is third party access to the account. One person neglected to deauthorize their work computer when they left a job. Another person’s data was victimized by a malicious ex. Toddlers and pets are notoriously dangerous.

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Same result from what I can see.
But I can only take your description for it, I don’t use Time Machine. (I already said that.)

I use google drive, all my backups (timestamped, of course) are safe there (some are more than a few years old), I can get them anytime and from anywhere I want or need (so long as I have access to the internet).
They never delete my stuff, there is no expiration date on anything.
What more should I wish for?

(By the way, google drive is only my fourth line of defense. I have three more. They can one day melt their servers, that I’ll still be fine.)
(Also note that I am not here talking about syncing projects. Just cloud space for backups. The idea being that in my opinion, syncing backup files is futile.)

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Google only keeps files/revisions for 30 days after deletion.

Time machine is a true, incremental backup solution. A full system copy that gets incremental updates of all changed files hourly. Hourly backups are thinned to 1 backup a day after that period. Daily backups are thinned after 30 days, keeping one incremental backup per week. Weekly backups are kept until the drive fills up, then the oldest backups are deleted to make room for new ones.

Whatever your other lines of defense are… they can capture files that are synced from computers, right? Even if that computer is stolen/destroyed/malfunctions? That’s my point. There’s a reason to sync Scrivener’s project backups; so you can get to them to a computer that is part of a more robust backup schema with no extra effort.

If that’s not valuable to you in your backup strategy, then don’t do it, but not everybody is you, and arguing that it’s not valuable period is false.

15 gigabytes of backup space. (Need more? Create a new Gmail email.)
Why delete anything ? (It can wait for you to be done with the project.)

I upload my last backup to my cloud everyday, and I get exactly that.
I am my own sync engine. Not much of an effort, really.

But I get your point.
You have good reasons in your case, given your “process” setup.
But for an everyday hobbyist, to think he/she gets any extra security or whatever from having his/her backups synced, is… well… no.

(Make that a catastrophe waiting to happen if the backups end up where the project files are.)

I think you got a little excited here. I haven’t said that.

And it’s difficult to use when you need to restore something. It may be simple enough if you want to restore everything, but that’s a rare occasion.

Absolutely. Dropbox migrates my files to 3 other Macs, 2 of them running Time Machine … and I’ve never seen Dropbox lose a file unless it was my fault.

Sync services may not be perfect, but any copy in another location yields extra security. I have restored 200GB from Dropbox several times (to new machines).

You just said it didn’t give us any extra security.

You qualified that by saying something about everyday hobbyists, but those are precisely the folks who may not have any other backups and therefore will get the most benefit from the sync backup, imperfect though it may be.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the sync.
Ok ok, it does upload the file somewhere on its own, but that is the end of it.
Nothing the user couldn’t do better himself, and without keeping live the risk of user error.

My whole point was that it is useless to have the backup follow you everywhere you go. Nothing more.

For the rest, I’d recommend users develop a real backup method. Something that actually provide real security.

When you have a safe behind the counter, you don’t open it every time you add money through the slot to count how much is in it. That would defeat the safe’s purpose.
Well, it is kind of the same here.
You upload your file to the cloud, it is there for if and when you need it. Period.
You don’t have it accross all your computers in a state where if something happens to the sync folder of one computer, it’ll affect not only the others, but what you thought to be your safe place as well.

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Those are also the folks who are most likely to not understand how Dropbox works and lose material through their own error. Which they will then be unable to get it back because they have no other backup.

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Yes, they are the very same people.

Do you know how to turn Smart Sync off on Dropbox? I’m using a Mac if that makes a difference. I have tried everything and can’t find it. Thanks!

To turn it off for a folder and everything in it, right-click on the folder:

To change the default for all files (but not necessarily the settings for them), click on the Dropbox menu bar icon, click on top-right icon (my image in my case), then preferences, then sync, and here’s the setting: