installation troubles

It appears that I downloaded Scrivener a couple of times without realizing it. I downloaded the free trial and then purchased a copy. I believe I registered the downloaded version with the serial number, etc. Not sure what I did wrong but I ended up losing two weeks of work on a project I had saved multiple times. I went to restart my computer and found that Scrivener would not shut down. When I force re-started my computer I lost everything. Sucks, but now I want to start again. I want to use Scrivener and I don’t want the same thing to happen. I can’t figure out how to make sure I have only one copy of the software on my computer. I tried getting rid of it and reinstalling but that did not work. There are still at least two copies of Scrivener on my computer.

Please help.
Thank you.

  1. Nothing bad will happen if you have the software downloaded more than once. I probably have around eight different copies of Scrivener on my main work machine and they are in constant flux. Now, there is typically no need for more than one at a time, and it may be confusing to be in this situation, but I just want to reassure you that the way computers are designed to work, by and large, this is not a problem—especially on a Mac.

Okay, as to clearing superfluous versions that shouldn’t be too difficult. Your Mac comes with an extensive universal search tool. Simply search for “Scrivener” and Command-click on any results, removing them until you only have the one in your Applications folder (or wherever you want your copy installed, but that’s the customary place). I’m curious what leads you to believe there is more than one copy installed however, as the only way to really know that is to be looking at it in Finder—and then couldn’t you just move it to the Trash if you can see it?

  1. You’ll have to be more specific about what it means to lose two weeks of work. Does that simply mean the “Recent Projects” menu is empty? If so that’s fine—as the naming implies, it just stores a few of the recent projects you’ve worked on. It has nothing to do with storage. Likewise, the convenience feature that automatically loads the projects you were working on when you closed the software implies nothing about storage. Scrivener is like everything else on your computer where you make files with it and load them later. So if that is all you mean, your work is probably just sitting there waiting for you to load it.

If that’s not the case, then let me know exactly what is the case. For example, lost work may mean that you have definitely verified that you are loading the correct project off of the disk and not an older version and have searched the project itself using all text fields and “any words” search mode, for bits of text you know to be written into the areas that are missing, and have confirmed nothing comes back in search results. If that is what you see; we can probably help you with that.

Thank you for your help.

The reason I believe there are two copies of Scrivener on my computer is because there are two different icons that appear in my dock. One icon, white paper with pencil/ruler/paintbrush won’t ever close when I try to shut Scrivener down. It won’t even force quit. I have to physically restart the computer to shut it down completely.

The other icon, a black and white S with a single quote in the top and bottom, bounces when I click on it, then a dialogue box comes up telling me I have not properly installed Scrivener, asking if I would like to reinstall it. I’ve reinstalled it about three times and the same thing keeps happening. I tried uninstalling and re-installing but can’t be sure that I uninstalled correctly. Clearly, I did not install correctly. Advice on how to fix this?

I have gone looking for the project(s) I started before they disappeared, that two weeks of work I mentioned. I can’t find it in Scrivener. I can’t find it in my Documents. When you say I need to load my work to recover it, what do you mean, exactly? Load it from where? Where is it hiding? I would love to have it back and I hope you are right that it’s just missing from Recent Projects but saved somewhere else. Not sure where else to look.

Thanks, again.

Ah, yes, I agree with you it sounds like it was never correctly installed to begin with. Perhaps it was copied straight from the installer to the Dock. What I would recommend first is to drag all of Scrivener icons (including the pencil and paper ones) out of the Dock, wait a moment until you see the little “cloud” icon, and then let go. This will remove them from the Dock.

Next, go through the step-by-step installation instructions we have provided.

Basically when you drag stuff to the Dock you are just making a shortcut to it. It points back to the original, and that is it. If you drag straight out of the installer into the Dock, all you’re doing is making a copy of the installer copy, which is why it keeps asking if you want to install it—hence confusion!

Okay, as for finding your work, Scrivener uses files like most other programs do. For example if you create a document in MS Word, you would save it is a .docx file somewhere—probably Documents. Word may lose track of it over time, but you can always go hunting for it and double-click on it to load it. That is all I mean by loading your work.

But if stuff ends up in a place you didn’t expect, it can be hard to find. Fortunately the Mac makes finding stuff pretty easy. We even have a built-in tool to make this easier. Once you get Scrivener installed correctly and running, go to the File menu and select “Find All Projects in Spotlight”. A window in Finder will pop up with every Scrivener project in the index. So long as you saved your work somewhere where your computer can see it (e.g. not on an external hard drive that isn’t plugged in), you should see it in the list. Double-click to open.

If you don’t see it here, then it must have been deleted at some point. There are some things we can try to recover your data in that case. Scrivener has safety nets! :slight_smile:

Thank you, again!

I believe I have successfully re-installed Scrivener. It appears to be working the right way. I can open it and close it and all documents are present at every phase. No more dialogue boxes telling me to reinstall.

I followed your instructions to spotlight search for my two weeks of documents that went missing and it appears they were actually lost (deleted?) when I forced the program to quit before it was correctly installed. I remember before I force quit there was a dialogue box telling me I would lose any changes. I made sure to save the documents before forcing the program to close.

I would like to hear more about the other things we can try to recover the data/Scrivener safety nets. If I can recover that stuff, I must.

At the very least I didn’t want it to happen again. Re-installing has made me feel more confident about using the program because it appears to be working the way it should.

Thanks, again, for walking me through that.

Well in theory that should not have happened. It is true that if you force quit a program it does not have a chance to properly shut down, and part of a graceful shutdown is to clean up all data in memory and make sure the user gets a chance to save it, or in the case of programs like Scrivener, save it for the user. Our software doesn’t require you to do anything. In fact 99% of the time, unless you have been furiously writing for minutes on end, your work is saved already (it does so after two seconds of inactivity) and force quitting will only result in a minor problem of the project not having been fully closed (you may get a warning the next time you load it). That message you got from the OS was just a generic statement. It will even say that changes will not be saved if the program you are force quitting has no data—a simple clock widget or something.

So it strikes me as more likely that something went wrong during the crash, but it’s hard to say what without a complete diagnostic.

At any rate, when you close your work for the day, Scrivener automatically creates a copy of the project at that point in time and sets it aside, away from view. It will do this up to five times, and then the sixth it will remove the oldest copy and replace it. So for a project you’ve been using for a while, you should have five separate backups that represent the last five times you closed the software (normally, at any rate!). To find these backups, open the Preferences panel and click on the “Backups” icon. You will find a button at the bottom of this that takes you to your backup folder. If all is well you’ll find a few copies of your project—from from when the crash happened, like I say that’s part of the graceful shutdown sequence, but from the time before.

These will be zip files. I recommend copying, not moving, them to your Desktop, and double-clicking them all to extract them to the desktop. You’ll have a bunch of projects equal in number to the original zips, which can now be removed. Go through these one by one and look for the most complete version. You can discard the rest once you have it.

If this was a brand new project and you never had closed it, there may be no backups though. Hopefully with two weeks you would have closed it a few times though!

Thank you. I looked and found that my lost projects are definitely not in the backup folder. The only thing in the backup folder is five backups of the last document I had open before I force quit the program. Just one essay. I don’t think I ever successfully closed the program while working on the other documents I had started, so that may be where the loss happened. I was not able to close for some reason (maybe because it was not properly installed). I don’t know what happened, but I appreciate you explaining how to look for the lost docs and I hope to never lose any work ever again.

Sorry to hear that! Now that you know where the backups panel is, you might wish to review the rules there to make sure things get backed up with regularity. A combination of open and close, or even whenever you press Cmd-S to save could be useful. Just remember that the more options you enable the faster they will rotate out, so bumping the maximum number of saves up may help.