Lost a week's work

This morning I had open my most recent version of my project. It had all the work I’d done yesterday. I closed it, moved the file to a different folder in my Finder, and suddenly Scrivener is saying the file hadn’t been modified since a week ago. I looked through Time Machine to find that the file had this old modification date through out yesterday, even though I saved it multiple times and in fact opened it this morning with the most recent edits intact. What did I do to make Scrivener spontaneously revert to a random older edition?

Thanks so much,

Hi Yvonne,

First, I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve lost work - I work hard to ensure that this is something that never happens in Scrivener. Could you please tell me, was the project open for all that time without Scrivener being closed, and were you working in scrivenings mode?


I restart my computer every night, after backing it up with Time Machine. One thing I haven’t done is close the actual file. I quit Scrivener, using cmd-q, and reopen it when my computer has restarted. The project I’m working on always opens automatically, but it has always had the most recent edits. Did I wrongly assume this was enough to rewrite the file to disk?

This time, I quit Scrivener as usual with an up-to-date file, then in the Finder moved the source file into a new folder that included other related files (e.g. character maps made in Inspiration, etc). It was when I reopened the file from the new location that it reverted to the older version.

On the upside, I’m just at the plotting stage and was actually getting set to throw out a bunch of stuff that wasn’t working. I’ll take it as a sign that was the right thing to do. But I’d really like to figure out what I did wrong before I have something more finished!

Edited to add: Scrivenings mode: I only use this occasionally. I wasn’t in scrivenings mode this morning.

Hi Yvonne,

The reason I asked that is that we found a nasty failure-to-save bug in scrivenings mode if the project had been left open for more than two days with the same scrivenings session open all that time. The fact that you close down every day means that this could not have hit you, as does the fact that you don’t use scrivenings mode much.

In this case, there is actually no way that Scrivener could have just reverted to an earlier version of a week ago. The only way this could happen is if you have third-party software syncing things that messed up somehow. I would recommend searching Spotlight for “.scriv” and seeing if there are any other, newer copies of your project lying around - I’m hoping that it is as simple as the version of the file you opened being an older backup rather than the version you had been working on.

Thanks and all the best,

When I search for “.scriv” and sort by date opened, I only get the one file for anytime in November. When I go into Time Machine and search my backup from just after quitting time yesterday, I get the one file with a last opened date of 11/8/12 (not 11/16/12, which is the last time I closed the file.)

So, sounds like I was hit with a weird glitch, but maybe file it under unexplained in case someone else comes along with something similar. In the meantime, I have learned my lesson. Auto-save and Time Machine are not enough! It’s daily backups in multiple locations from here on out!

Keith – Was this “nasty failure-to-save bug in scrivenings mode” corrected in the current most recent version?

It’s been fixed in the latest beta - I only found and fixed it about two weeks ago. It’s only triggered if scrivenings mode is left open for more than two days without closing the project or computer.

Well maybe it doesn’t apply to all configurations, I’ve left Scrivenings open for many weeks w/o closing, not always the same set of files, but certainly the same set of files for days and days and days.

Could I have been “saved” by having my auto save set to 2 seconds of inactivity?

you have 2 problems , one is your disk permissions as your files are not properly backing up. It’s an easy fix bit it will not return your data that is more likely a problem on Scriveners side.
Open up disk utility and verify and repair the disk,that should fix any issue with files on the TM drive not being current.

Keith, when you say Scrivenings mode, is that only if you have more than one binder document displayed?

I leave Scrivener open all the time, but always in a single document. I also do manual saves simply because my fingers do frequent CMD-S’s without consulting me. I assume this means I’m safe from this bug?


Yes, Scrivenings mode is when the text of multiple documents is loaded in the editor, so you’re fine. The bug is very specific. You need to:

  • have multiple documents loaded in a Scrivenings session
  • leave that same session open for more than two days without changing it
  • not have edited a given document within the session for over two days

If that all is true, then following the 48 hours of no edits, when you go to edit that specific document in the Scrivenings session, changes to that document are not saved. So this won’t even necessarily affect all the documents in the session, just those that have not been touched in two days. (Note that it has to be edited in the text–just changing the label won’t do it, and manual saves won’t affect this.)

As Keith said, though, this has all been fixed in the beta, so you’re welcome (and anyone working this way is definitely encouraged) to download and install that until the 2.4 release is out.

Ok, thanks. I’m nowhere near the stage where Scrivenings mode is useful to me – I only ever use that to view the entire novel once I’m into final edits – and beta software makes me nervous, so I shall just note it for now and check back on the issue nearer the time.

I believe this is a Mac-only bug anyway, so since your platform is Windows, you don’t have to worry about this at all.

My platform is Mac, not Windows.

Edit: After puzzling why you thought I was using Windows, I spotted the ‘Platform’ tag. I used Windows a couple of years ago – have updated it now. :slight_smile:

I assume there is no way to recover the lost data? I’m afraid I must have just been hit by this.

I’m using Antony Johnston’s comic book template and it makes heavy use of Scrivenings. I generally keep the program open. I don’t think I’ve gone more than 48 hours since editing it though.

Anyway, I just accidentally hit the Scrivenings button up top by group mode. I’m not sure what it did exactly, but I seem to have now lost about 7 pages of my comic. It’s very frustrating. Maybe it is here somewhere and I just can’t find it? It isn’t even 7 consecutive pages which is weird. It’s two, then there is one page, then five more that are missing. I’m sure I’ve instinctively been hitting CMD-S as well. Shouldn’t that have saved it somewhere?

I hope you can help

That shouldn’t be triggering this bug. This bug requires you to have the same Scrivenings session open for over two days, and to then go back and make changes to sections within that session. This condition would cause all edits to no longer be written to the disk. It would not delete content.

Your case sounds more like this one.