Imported old Scriv File - All written text gone

I used Scrivener last time in July 2015 for writing an academic paper and back then exported an entire folder with all the pdfs, images and my own texts into a Scriv file. I know fired up the software again, but when I accessed the Scriv File all my text was gone. All other files that I imported back then are still there. Also the structure of the folder (all text files with correct names) is still there, but all the text files are empty. Am I doing something wrong? I am kinda panicking right now.
I tried to open the Scriv files with old versions of Scrivener but it didn’t help either…

There are a few things that could cause that to happen. The problem we see most often is where the project was stored on some non-Mac system (like Dropbox for example) that, when displayed using its own mechanisms, doesn’t present a Scrivener project the way you see it on your Mac, but rather as a folder. A common mistake here is to download just the one “project name.scrivx” file, which contains your Binder information but none of the actual data, resulting in an empty project.

As I say this doesn’t necessary require Dropbox, it could be an offsite backup service, or any number of factors. What I would do is try and go back to the original source where you recovered the project from and make sure to download/restore/copy/whatever the whole folder with its name ending in “.scriv”. Without everything in that folder you do not have a complete project.

I did have it on an backup storage and now tried what you suggested both from Google drive and my external harddrive where I had it exported to. In both cases all my text was still gone. Also I don’t think that was the problem as all the pdfs and graphics are in there, which implies I took the right folder with me.

Is it by any chance possible that there is an export option that exports everything BUT the text you wrote in Scrivener and I accidentally used that one every single time? On the other hand I distinctly remember reinstalling Scrivener in between and could access those files. Weird.

The PDFs and graphics would have been in the Research folder, while the text you wrote would have been in the Draft folder. It is possible to export them separately.

Also, Google Drive is known to have its own ideas about how to handle RTF files (your text), but leaves other formats alone.

Did you save to the external hard drive, or export to it? The save option should have copied over a complete duplicate of the project, but the export option is designed to allow you to access your work from tools other than Scrivener. As such, it wouldn’t include the Binder files and other Scrivener-specific metadata.