Hi everyone,

I’ve recently started using Scrivener and I’ve now run into a few problems.

To explain what’s been happening:

My computer has crashed a couple of times in the last few weeks when I’ve been writing and when I’ve subsequently tried to re-open my project I get an error message an one of my chapter sections (whichever one I was working on at the time) is missing.

I then try to open the file from backup and I get the following message (see image)

Could anyone give me a sclue as to why this is happening?

Many thanks in advance.



The backup that you are attempting to open is in compressed (.zip) form. You first need to use File Explorer (or some third party compression/decompression utility) to right click on it and extract all of its contents out to some other location. You will then be able to open the result (the .scrivx project file inside the decompressed .scriv folder) in/via Scrivener.


A regular live Scrivener project is a regular Windows file system folder (name ending in .scriv) containing numerous subfolders and files, rather than a single physical file like a typical Word document (.doc) file.

Scrivener project backups, both automatic and manual (File > Back Up > Back Up To), can be created in either that regular live Scrivener project form (.scriv folder containing subfolders and files) or in compressed .zip form (single physical .zip file containing the above in compacted extractable form).

There are pros and cons as to whether to back up Scrivener projects in regular folder or compressed .zip file form.
Backups in regular form are immediately usable. (Unless are on read-only media such as CDs, DVDs… in which case must first copy them back to writeable media such as hard drive or solid state drive.)
Backups in compressed .zip form take up less space, result in less disk fragmentation, and are simpler and safer to deal with outside of Scrivener (copying, offsite/cloud backup and syncing, email, etc.).

Whether to compress/zip automatic backups is controlled in Tools > Options > Backup.
Whether to compress/zip manual backups is controlled in File > Back Up > Back Up To.

The more recent versions of Windows support the ability to navigate into and view the contents of compressed .zip files… but not to edit/change them as if they are a regular file system folder. So while navigable and viewable (to some extent), the contents present as read-only (unchangeable), which is what the Scrivener error message if referring to. Even if the contents were changeable in realtime, the performance hit involved would render doing such impractical.

The same holds true on Macintoshes, though the OS X operating system hides the fact the Scrivener projects are folders.