Last Save Gone, Backup Won't Open

Scrivener started lagging real bad and I thought my computer was having issues. Before closing I waited for the autosave and noticed that it wasn’t triggering, so I manually saved and made sure it backed everything up before closing the program.

I restarted the computer and opened Scrivener again. It loaded a save from the previous day, not the one I had just made. In case it’s relevant, all the icons in the binder were blank, and I had to open a text/folder to bring its icon back.

I checked the backups, and the one with the save I need will not open and Windows won’t unzip it. I manually extracted it with 7-zip but the resulting folder was empty except for a 0kb file called Binder.autosave. But the zipped backup file is about the same size as the previous one, and a little larger, so I’m pretty sure it contains all the project data in some form.

I made a substantial amount of progress since the last save and losing it would be a problem, Is there anything that can be done?

How are your backup set up? Backup on close? Backup on manual save? Or what?
And what do you mean you waited for the autosave? Scrivener does it all the time without saying so.

The Project Name at the top left of the screen has a * that appears if the project is unsaved. I watched it to make sure it disappeared and it didn’t, so I manually saved.

My settings were set to backup on close, so even though I thought it saved and was going to restart the computer and let it terminate the program, I decided to close it and make sure it backed up. You know, watched that green bar go and whatnot.

I’ve got the backup file with the timestamp, so I know it worked. The problem is it won’t open.

So… Anyone got anything?

So the problem is that because your computer failed during backup the backup was not properly recorded. Windows throws up its hands in confusion, and 7 zip pull emptiness out of the void.

If that is the necessary file, and it is important, it is possible that something was written. If what you needed was written before it died, then it is possible a zip recovery program could recover it for you. I did a search on ‘recover corrupted zip files’ and got lots of hits. I have no idea if they are any good though, and I don’t remember enough about the zip method to predict the likelihood of recovery.

I’ve tried a few and they’re unfortunately only giving slightly different results. I end up with a binder.autosave file with 19kb, as opposed to the 0kb file I got from 7zip. Apparently the binder.autosave file has the titles of the documents, so I might be able to recover some info on the new topics I created, but other than that, I don’t think much else can be done.

Anyways, I appreciate the suggestion. I think I’m just going to have to redo as much as I can, but I’m still kind of surprised that an entire day’s work was lost. The program was definitely saving earlier, so I’d have thought it could’ve loaded the last successful save without falling back on the last backup.

Well, the repaired zip won’t let me extract the binder autosave file. Comparing the file’s size to the working one implies it’s got the data… but it’s corrupted or something. …Guess that’s the end of that approach.

So does anyone know what might’ve caused the whole thing? I’m using a 2017 laptop, I wasn’t running anything else, and I’ve scanned for viruses, so it shouldn’t have had any trouble with slowdown.

I’m posting these too quickly, but another update:

I decided to directly go through the .txt files in the working project, and I discovered that the lost files are actually fully intact in the .sriv folder even though they don’t show up in the application. I guess the earlier saves did work.

The issue then is getting them back into Scrivener, I’m assuming this should be fairly straightforward, but I can’t figure it out. Help would be greatly appreciated.

The binder.autosave file I tried to retrieve earlier was 19kb, and the working one is 17kb, so I think the problem might be that the binder is missing the links to the files, even though they’re still in the project.

Here’s what I’d do. But first, I strongly suggest you learn the structure of Scrivener projects. Here is a great post from 2010 that will explain that;


I copied it into Evernote, so I have it to refer back to.

Now, What I’d do is restore your backup into a folder with another name, as “my project aug2018” or something to differentiate it from the current project. Rule: Don’t ever overwrite what you have!

Then, I’d try and add the topics/ article titles into the binder that are new.
Then I’d use file explorer to go through the rtf files and find the articles that match your titles and copy and paste them back in.


Yes, I’m familiar with how it all works. And don’t worry, when I found out the files were still there I made copies immediately.

I was wondering if there was a way to get the files back into the binder without having to copy and paste every single one into a new topic. I think the issue is their titles have disappeared from the binder file.

All I’ve got are numbered rtf files, no titles to go on unless it was written somewhere in the file. I’m willing to go through them and copy and paste it all, but I was hoping there was a way to just import them or something, like detect unlinked pages in the project and create new pages for them in the binder.

Going through the menus just now, I found a way to access files from the project directory. This may be what I was looking for.

It says I can’t import them because they’re already in the project. So the program is recognizing them, but won’t let me access them. Is there a way to make them show up in the Binder?


So I hadn’t previously done anything else in the project since I was afraid of overwriting something, but I finally went to copy and paste everything back in…

When I created a new document, it had the text of one of the missing files. I continued to create new documents and that brought everything back. I had to rename and organize everything, but the text was all there, including document notes.

So, I guess that’s what you do when your binder loses links to a bunch of stuff. Create a new document and it’ll be a link to one of the “lost” files. I should’ve tried earlier, but like I said, I was afraid of overwriting something.