Issue with backing up Scrivener back-ups in the cloud

Dear hive,

I have the Google Drive desktop app “backup and sync” installed on my MacBook, which syncs the Scrivener backup folder on my MacBook hard drive to my Google Drive. I do this in order to keep another backup of my backups in the cloud.

My issue is that each time Scrivener makes a back up, it renames all the five back ups in that folder, rather than just the very last one. This means that every time the Google Drive folder needs to sync all the files again as it recognizes the change of files. And this takes a lot of time of syncing in the background each time I close Scrivener (as it creates a backup each time I close, as long as I made changes in the project).

Does anyone know a way around this or have a better solution in mind for backing up backups in the cloud other than locally and on an external hard drive?

Thank you!

Best wishes,

I hope you are creating zipped backups, as Google Drive has been known to corrupt Scrivener projects that are not zipped.

Have you considered using the preference that creates backups with the date in the filename? (I assume you are using the preference that just numbers them 1-5 (or whatever maximum number you are using). The date in the filename ought not to be altered by any subsequent backup.

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Also, in addition to mbbntu’s excellent advice, please consider increasing your number of kept backups to 25. From sad experience, I know that if I’m having problems with my project, I can keep trying unsuccessful fixes until all five of the standard backups have the problem. Don’t be Old Me. :smiley:

I check Use date in backup file names. This doesn’t rename the backups.

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Thank you all so much for your responses and great tips!

I am creating zipped backups yes!

And I have been using filenames based on 1-5 numbers so far. I have now changed the settings to “use date in backup file names” as the two of you suggested. Thanks for this!

Does this mean now that once Google Drive has synced 5 backups, it will only ever re-sync that one that is being exchanged with the new one?

P.s. Silverdragon: 25 backups seem quite a lot to me, but I hear you though. How many backups do you guys (mb & auxbuss) save?

Thanks all!

My guess is the OP isn’t having their backups renamed, it just appears that way, because they have a max of 5, so the oldest is getting deleted when the latest is added. Adding the date will hopefully make it more obvious for them what is happening.

Once you have reached the maximum 5 backups, whenever Scrivener adds a new one, it will delete the oldest one.

5 backups is not enough. Set it to 25, as Silverdragon suggested above,

Imagine this scenario: through some accursed slip of your fingers, by accident you unknowingly delete the entire text of your most important chapter, and then you close your project. If your setting is a max of 5 backups, then your missing text still exists in 4 of your backups, but it won’t be in your latest backup . Then you open and close the project two more times, working on other stuff. Your missing text now only exists in 2 of your backups and isn’t in 3 of our backups, because of your max of 5 setting. You can see where this is going, right? If you don’t catch the problem the next two times you’ve opened and closed Scrivener, than your wonderful chapter is gone forever from the project. No one will ever know the brilliance that you’d put in there, how cleverly you structured your argument, how you found just the right words to make your case and tell the story as perfectly as it could be told. Yes, you’ll rewrite it, but you’ll know in your heart–and this will haunt you many nights around 3:27 AM–it’s just not as good as the original was.That’s when you’ll cry out to the heavens, “Why oh why didn’t I listen to those kind people on the L&L forum??? Why didn’t I set max to 25?”


And since you asked, I’ve set mine to ‘no max’, and I periodically go through and delete backups myself. I keep the last one from each day, because storage is cheap and my writing is priceless (to me).


FWIW, I only save five backups.

HOWEVER, I also use a Time Machine volume to back up my entire disk. Time Machine will keep your history as far back as the disk has space. And I use BackBlaze, a cloud backup service. It also saves as far back as my account has space.

The key question is whether you can retrieve older versions if necessary. Exactly how those versions are stored is less important.


FWIW, I once ran through all 25 backups on my internal drive and had to restore from Time Machine as KEWMS described. I’m debating getting a larger backup drive because it only goes back a year and a half… 8)

If your backups are named with the numbers 1 to 5 somewhere in the name to identify them, then when number 5 gets deleted, number 4 will have to be renamed number 5 and so on down the line. At least, I’m assuming that is what is happening.

My setup is exactly the same as Katherine’s.

I stand corrected, that’s exactly what the beta does: rename all of the backups.

Thank you all so much for the great advice - this has been super helpful!
Have a lovely Sunday everyone!

25 backups here, zipped to One Drive plus a robust local backup.

Haven’t managed to find a Win backup system that works as well as Time Machine - anyone?

I just use the native Windows 10 backup to an external USB drive. It’s not quite as slick as Time Machine, but it gets the job done.

Hey guys, I had one more question.

I currently have my Scrivener Project file save to my Dropbox folder on my local hard drive, syncing it with Dropbox. The zipped Scrivener back up files on the other hand are being saved to a folder directly on my local hard drive, which I am (as mentioned earlier) syncing to Google Drive as additional back up on the cloud (in addition to Time Machine).

Question: should I ditch the Google Drive desktop app and also move the Scrivener back up files folder to the Dropbox folder as well, similar to the Scrivener Project? And get rid of Google Drive to simplify things?

Sorry, I feel like I’m overcomplicating things.

Thanks so much for all the great advice so far!

Keeping your live projects and all of your backups on one cloud provider is ‘keeping all your eggs in one basket’.

If you keep your live projects and your backups on DropBox and somehow your DropBox account is compromised (account closed or hacked or you inadvertently delete your DropBox folder) then you’ve lost EVERYTHING. Far better to mitigate this risk by keeping your live projects and your backups on separate cloud services.


Hi. I haven’t used Scrivener in a while on my MacBook Pro, (OS Catalina). I’ve never been rock solid certain I am creating backups properly. Can someone point to the correct method of ensuring material is backing up locally and iCloud and through Time Machine?
Also, I like the idea of making 20 backups. How does one ensure that?
Thank you all very much.