"Incompatible with this version of Scrivener"? help

I have a project, I’ve been working on for quite a while, I was in it last night, and this morning, on my netbook, I closed everything down, and restarted the netbook and now I’m getting this error on both the netbook and the desktop.

Both are running Beta 035, and have been since the day it was released.
Netbook is running Win XP
Desktop is running Win 7 64bit
I sync between the two with dropbox, and I know there have been issues with drop box, however as long as I make sure not to open the project on more than one computer at the same time, I have no issues.

how do I go in and rescue my files? I have a book and a half, and 3 short stories in this project.

Probably the version.txt file just got changed somehow (possibly with the Dropbox syncing, possibly if the project didn’t close down properly at some point). If so, this is a fairly easy fix you can do yourself. First thing, make a copy of your project’s entire .scriv folder, just for safety’s sake. Then, try these steps:

  1. In Windows Explorer, open your project’s .scriv folder, then open the Files folder
  2. Open the “version.txt” file there in a plain-text editor (e.g. Notepad)
  3. In the editor, select all, type “16” (no quotes), then save

Then try opening the project again in Scrivener.

If that works, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, you can right-click on the copied .scriv folder and choose “Send to \ Compressed (zip) file” and send that zip file to support AT literatureandlatte DOT com (if it’s 20MB or under) and I can take a look at it to see what we can do.


the version.txt file was empty, completely. Putting 16 in and saving it worked, the file opened normally again.

now off to do an immediate back up, I’d gotten lax at that, and you can bet I won’t be doing that again.

Great, glad that worked!

Secretly, this is just a little built-in scare tactic to remind users to backup regularly! :wink:

I’ve heard the magical 16 several times now and I am now extremely curious. What exactly is the magic in putting the number 16 in a .txt file?

It’s nothing fancy. That’s just the project format version number. So in the future when format version 17 is released, Scrivener will be able to open a project and know with what code it was last saved in and handle it accordingly to update it. It’s just a way to future proof the format. If there is no number, then the program doesn’t know what to do and it probably wouldn’t be safe for it try and assume it is anything at all. Assumptions like that can end up with data getting lost, even if it seems to open fine in the current code. So it just faults and tells you the project isn’t compatible.



I had gotten that same problem with crashes in the NaNoWriMo version. (Latest 1.0.2 version has been working great so far, though)

THANK YOU. I got this message after an unexpected shutdown and panicked. My file is back now!

Just got this bug when opening Scrivener 1.03 release this morning, with the ‘project incompatible’ alert.

version.txt contained NULL NULL according to Notepad++. I replaced this with the magic 16, and my project came back.

Latest 1.03, clean installed by removing all beta traces, Windows 7 Prof. all up to date.

This could be some slight flakiness with my laptop, as it didn’t want to come alive from sleep and had to restart it. Still, the NULL NULL is interesting, so reporting it.


Could we get a sticky that you guys update periodically with what this value is supposed to be for a given version of Scrivener? I’ve already helped one person with this issue by searching the forums, but I didn’t know that putting the wrong number in it might cause an issue, and if that number changes… well, I’d rather have an easy reference to the right info.

Also, why is this particular file so fragile? When this is the issue, none of the other files appear corrupted, so I get the vague feeling it’s a Scrivener bug. If that’s the case, shouldn’t the file be opened read-only under almost all circumstances (except when updating from a previous format version, of course), to protect it from getting corrupted?

I am having the same problem with being unable to open my project. I have tried the “16” trick on a previous occasion and it worked, but not this time. I’m getting the “project is incompatible with this version of scrivener” message.

Please, is there any way to open my project? It’s over 77,000 words.

ember_firedrake - I’m sorry you’re having trouble getting the project to open! Quickest might be if you can send a zipped copy of the project to windows.support AT literatureandlatte DOT com so we can take a look–there might be another file in the project that needs some attention. (Did the computer crash when the project was open?) To make the zip, if you haven’t already, right-click on the project’s .scriv folder and choose “Send to \ Compressed (zipped) folder”, then just add that as an attachment to your email.

You can also check your automatic backups, since you may have a good copy there you can restore easily. In Scrivener, go to Tools > Options and click the “Backup” tab. There you’ll see all the settings for the auto-backups, including the file path where they’re currently saved and a button at the bottom to open that backup folder. Click that, then go through the backups and copy out all the ones pertaining to your corrupted project. Paste these on your desktop, then open them (starting with the most recent) by right-clicking the .zip and choosing “Extract All”. I recommend renaming the .scriv folder of each with the date of the backup to avoid confusion with multiple projects of the same name; after that, you can then open the backup projects in Scrivener. (Renaming them also prevents accidentally creating a new automatic backup of the backup that would override the originals of the same name–though you can also choose File > Back Up > Exclude from Automatic Backups once you open the project to avoid making a backup of it at all.)

If you find a good one, you can close that and then move it to wherever you normally store your projects (e.g. your Documents folder) and replace your current corrupt one. I’d likewise suggest just renaming the corrupt version for now, rather than deleting it, until you’re confident you don’t need it any more, since we may be able to restore it or salvage text out of it. Just call it something like “MyProject-BADCOPY.scriv” so you know what it is and don’t get it confused with the new version you’re working from. Rename this one before you copy the restored backup to this location, just to ensure you don’t end up with Windows trying to merge the folders if they have the same name.