Lost 1/2 of project. Help


My Mac froze yesterday and after restarting again, the project I was working on (with Scriv2) showed up missing the last two months’ work. I always SAVE file obsessively every time I finish a short section, btw. I was on Chapter 35 and nothing show up after 19, which was in Nov. (Luckily, I always save on a doc file and email to myself, so all is not lost). I would love to get what I did (especially the research files that I’ve been adding references) back before the crash, but more importantly, I’m worried about it happening again.

This shows up when I try to open the file or the backup file, and I have done as instructed below to no avail. Still missing Chapter 20-35.

could not be opened because the binder file appears to have been corrupted.
Scrivener attempted to restore the binder structure for this project but failed. Try restoring from backup or create new project and use File>Import>scrinver Project to retrieve work.

Any suggestions? Or should I just start a new file from scratch and import my saved doc master file?



That does sound as though the main binder file - the file that tells Scrivener what’s in the project, and what the structure is - has been corrupted, which will mean the project cannot be opened (but all may not be lost - read on). Which version of Scrivener are you using, version 1.x or 2.0? I ask because 2.0 makes a backup of the binder file whenever the program is saved, so it should be able to revert to a slightly earlier binder file in cases like this - it would be strange if the internal binder backup was corrupted, too, unless you are on version 1.x, which didn’t have that mechanism.

Anyway, the next thing to check: Scrivener (.scriv) files are essentially folders that just look like files on OS X. The bonus of this approach is that if a file gets corrupted, hopefully the files inside the folder are still intact. To check this, ctrl-click on your file in the Finder and select “Show Package Contents”. If you’re using version 2.0, drill down to the Files/Docs folder; if you’re on version 1.x, all the files will be kept in the top-level folder. You should see a mass of numbered RTF files (or RTFD files in 1.x), and other file types if you imported research. These are the documents from your project (they use an internal binder ID as their filename so Scrivener can access them easily, and because in general you wouldn’t want to access them this way so this layer is hidden from the user). Try opening up some of these files and see if the files you’ve lost are there.

Also, if you are on 1.x, you might want to try downloading 2.0 and try importing the project into a new 2.0 project - 2.0 has some improved project import code that should better deal with imported corrupted projects. But obviously I don’t want to do the hard sell. :slight_smile:

Hope that helps - let me know how it goes.
All the best,

YESSSSSSSS!!! Thank you!

I did as above and the files were there. I did upgrade to Scrivener 2.0 a couple of months ago.

This is a very silly question, but how would I tell if my project was in Scriv 1.54 or Scriv 2.0 ? I had assumed I updated the project to 2.0 since the layout looks different than 1.54, but perhaps I didn’t for what I lost was about when I had bought an update for Scriv. 2.0. I had some trouble with corrupt files when I updated so I had to go back to version 1.54 to find the files and then convert them to 2.0.

Another silly question, besides copy and paste to ‘import’ each rtf file into a newly named/created Scriv.2.0 project today, is there any other easier way to import the whole thing to save time?

The new thing I notice today since my ‘freeze’ yesterday is that when I close the same Scrivener project (click on that red circle), it automatically makes a backup copy EACH time (i.e. from today, I have 4 copies of the same projects on my desktop). This is new. It seems to do this to this one project but not the other project I’m working on concurrently with a different title.

I love the 2.0 version, btw!!!


Hi Lizzy,

I’m glad you found the files at least! To check which version you are using you can just go to the “Scrivener” menu and select “About Scrivener”. I can tell you that you must be using 2.0 though if you are seeing the backup screen. You can tell whether the project itself was in 2.0, too - when you dug through the files, did you see the Files/Docs folder, and were they all in RTF format (rather than RTFD format)? If so, it was in 2.0.

If so, it sounds as though both the binder file, and the binder backup file, and the search indexes file got corrupted - because all of these can be used by Scrivener to rebuild the file names on import. It’s definitely worth giving it another go to import the project though; otherwise you will unfortunately have to drag in all the files to the binder and then go through them renaming them, which would be painful. Fortunately, as long as you leave automatic backups turned on, you should always have a backup you can return to in the future.

Thanks for the kind words about 2.0!

All the best,

In Scrivener>Preferences:Backup you can set when and where Scrivener makes auto-backups. This will apply to all your projects by default, but if you want to exclude a project from the backups (as you might with a really huge project), you can go to File>Backup>Exclude from Automatic Backups. Just make sure then that you backup that project on your own!