I lost almost all text and can't access backup with Windows


I started just normally to write with Scrivener today. I was so happy to hear about this tool because it has helped me a lot to write my book. However after writing this text about 3 pages today, something happened.

There are “0 words” in most of my chapters/files, and I have lost not only the important text I wrote today, but also the content I have written during 1-2 months. I’m devastated and very anxious at the moment.

For some reason the latest backups are almost as small as when I started my project in the summer (most likely because of the loss of Scrivener data), but the back up of today at 5:40 pm when I finished my writing is the “biggest” with more kt.

This gives me hope that the Scrivener support would be able to save the text and send it to me in some form, so that I have not lost everything.

It would have been bad to loose this three pages which was like a very meaningful summary which I have been working on in my head for weeks, but it’s unbearable to loose it all.

I’m very thankful for any tips or encouraging that my content could still be saved from the backup, even though I can’t access it with my Windows laptop for some reason. I don’t understand why Scrivener just does not open the previous backup and why it gives a notification “no access”. There was a Windows update between, though…


Scary stuff. Scrivener is very carefull not to delete any text you’ve written.

One thing I can say is that Backups are compressed (zipped), so you’ll have to unzip them before you can open them in Scrivener.

When your writing is not inside the Draft/Manuscript folder it will not be counted. Maybe your documents are inside an other folder?

Can you search for a fragment you know should exist?


Sounds like some sort of cloud storage (OneDrive?) moved your files to the server, leaving just the placeholder files on your disk, to “free up some space”. (They appear empty, but the good news is: Once you download / make them available offline again, their content should show up again.)


Thank you for your kind answers. You know what - my problem was, that I did not realize that the backups can only be opened inside the Scrivener programme… So from there I was able to recover one which was close to the latest one, thank God!

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As @November_Sierra said, if your files are in the reach of a cloud service, make sure they are set to be available offline.
If you have no intention of using the sync feature of Scrivener to work on a project on different computers at different times, if it is only that one computer that you are currently using, do yourself a favor and place your project(s) somewhere whatever the cloud service you have (OneDrive, I suppose, if it is not intentional) CAN’T TOUCH THEM.

[EDIT] If indeed your issue comes from a cloud service that snatched the files off of your hard drive, you should be able to salvage the whole of your project by toggling the files in the cloud to be available offline. (I am clarifying this because you seem to be on your way to do with the next to best version of your project…) Those files will then download back to your hard drive, after which you can either leave things like that until the cloud provider decides otherwise (usually without a warning nor a note post factum), or move them out of the cloud service’s reach.

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Would be good to figure out why the files were lost else it may happen again. Clues in previous replies above.