So you just upgraded to 2.0. You’ve been working for years with this little Recent Files menu that lets you find your projects easily, or maybe you don’t even use that and just let Scrivener open everything for you every single time. In short, you have no idea where your work is actually saved on your computer, and maybe even are not sure if Scrivener uses files to save your book at all.
The upgrade happens successfully, and suddenly everything is gone. Years of work, erased!
Okay, not really.
Scrivener 2.0 is a whole new program. It doesn’t use the same lists of “Recent Projects” and won’t remember whatever you had opened the last time you quit Scrivener 1.x. There is no need to panic however, because those two statements above are all that has changed in this regard. It just doesn’t know where the projects are either. It needs to be informed.
First, if you are using (Snow) Leopard, try checking your sidebar in the Finder. If you need, to create a new window with Cmd-N, and then scroll the sidebar down until you see “Search For”. These handy tools show you ever program or file that you’ve loaded in recent history. Chances are, unless you haven’t written recently, you’ll find your project in one of these.
After that, the best way to find your work (especially the stuff that might have been sitting around untouched for months or more) is to use Spotlight. Click that little magnifying glass up in the top-right corner of your screen. This search tool indexes your entire Mac for you all the time. It even indexes hard drives you plug into your computer. What this means is that you can search for not only names of files, but phrases within those files. This latter point might be helpful to you if the first tip doesn’t work.
First tip: just type in “.scriv” into this search bar. Every single Scrivener project you have ever made will be located instantly. Cmd-Click on any of these to find them, and I do recommend finding them so this problem doesn’t happen again in the future. Learn where your files are and you’ll have just a bit more control over your computer. Each one of these files is some project you’ve created; a book, an article, whatever it is you do. Hopefully the names will make sense to you, but even the names are unfamiliar…
Second tip: try to remember a phrase from the book that you have written recently and type that into the Spotlight search bar. You might get a bunch of results, but if you see any Scrivener icons, chances are that’s your book.
If Spotlight doesn’t work for you, then you’ll need to do a little digging around. A common location is your Documents folder. This folder might be really messy because it is the default dumping ground of just about every program on your computer, Scrivener included—but if you sort by Kind in this window it should be easy to find everything. If you still can’t find anything and have looked all over your home folder and external disks (if any) then feel free to make a thread here in technical support. We can walk you through some more advanced searching techniques if necessary.
Once you find everything, simply double-click on any of the project files to open them in Scrivener. The first time you do this you’ll be asked to upgrade the file. This is a safe procedure which creates a backup copy immediately, before doing anything else, and then upgrades the project format to the new version. Depending on how large your project is, this might take a while, please be patient. Once it completes, the file will be opened in Scrivener. Soon your Recent Files menu will repopulate, and things will be back to normal; but I do recommend keeping track of where your files are nonetheless. These tools are meant to be a convenience, not a file system management method. It is possible for them to “lose track” or get wiped out, because they generally considered to be expendable bits of information. All they are is lists though, your real work will remain as files on the computer.