I am FREAKING out - Scrivener opened today to a very old version of my novel

If anyone can help me I would appreciate it! I opened Scrivener today and a MONTHS old version of my novel/project showed up. No synopsis that I have slaved over. No new opening chapter, All the revisions and small things I’ve changed are gone!

Why in the world would this be happening? The only thing out of the ordinary is I started a new project for blog posts 2 days ago, the last time I opened Scrivener. Today, when I opened it, this project showed up. I went to “File” and then “Recent Projects” to open my novel again. But when it opened, it was the months old version as listed above.

Please tell me there is a way to get my current version back? I tried closing everything out and reopening it, but it just goes to the same version. And if I can get my current version back, how can I know this won’t happen again?!

First, back up what you have.

Then, refer yourself to section 5.2 of the manual, and use that to find your automatic backups, which should have happened somewhere along the lines.

I don’t see anything in section 5.2 of the manual about finding my automatic backups. It just tells me about using the “Main Window.”
In Scrivener I went to File, Back up, Back up to, and can see where it is saved on my computer (Documents, Manuscripts). But when I go to that location and file folder it is empty.

The automatic backup location should be:


If that’s where you checked, then… I really don’t know what to tell you.

The thing to do is read through that whole section on backups, and try to work out what went wrong, if anything did. Usually, when I run into these problems on the computer, it’s due to me having done or failed to do something I did not understand, and the way through it is to try to wrap my head around things.

It is unfortunate, but sometimes these things happen as a salutary lesson to ensure you’re performing good digital hygiene. On the plus side, at least you didn’t wipe out an entire network with an injudicious UNIX command, thinking you were cleaning up your share, only to find out you’d wiped the entire directory for EVERY user…

As well, I might also suggest taking a deep breath, backing away from the keyboard for a bit, and then once your blood pressure and panic levels are down to a manageable level, approach the issue again.

There are rarely totally irrecoverable issues with a computer. That user directory I wiped out, late one night? Turns out, the IT guy was able to salvage it, and it even turned out I’d done him a bit of a favor, in that they’d enabled far too many privileges for users like myself. I should not have been able to do what I did. Cost me a trip down to the local Starbucks and a lunch, but hey… Cheap at the price.

I’ve no idea what happened in your case, but I’d suspect that you somehow reverted to an earlier copy of your backup file. Find the latest one, and you should be OK.

The Recent Projects menu can be out of date for any of a number of reasons.

You can locate all projects on your system by searching for .scriv folders in Windows Explorer.

I believe the automatic backup location for Windows Scrivener is defined on the File → Options → Backups pane. (Edited to correct this.)


I got it back!

Thank you everyone!

I found it on my computer. I must have changed the name to Completed Draft when I compiled and saved the whole thing. But when trying to open it this time it opened from the version prior to any revisions with a different name.



Yes, changing the name of the project is one of the things that can make the Recent Projects menu unreliable.

Thank you for letting us know you’re back on track.