Lost comments/footnotes

Hi there,

Spilled a drink on laptop…
Thankfully had everything autosaving to google drive. However, when I download the scrivener project to another computer, all the comments/footnotes are missing. Can anyone help with this?


oh, have found them, under recovered files, see pictures. Is there any way of automatically linking these back to their main texts?

None that I’m aware of.

You’d be better off trying to recover from the zipped backups that Scrivener makes when you close the project. Do you have these available?

I have a ‘binder.backup’ file - is this it?

Please do not save live projects to Google Drive.

What has probably happened is that it “helpfully” changed the extensions for Scrivener’s .comments and .footnote files to .xml, causing Scrivener to be unable to find them. (See this article for more details: Google Drive Advisory / Cloud Syncing / Knowledge Base - Literature and Latte Support

If you’re comfortable poking around inside the project structure – make a backup first! – you can change them back.

Alternatively, you can find Scrivener’s automatic backups by going to Scrivener → Preferences → Backup (or File → Options → Backup on the PC) and opening the Backup folder.

Ah, okay… for the poking around option, is that a case of renaming the relevant .xml files .footnote then? thanks

I just double-checked in one of my own projects. Footnotes and comments both go in the same file, which should be named content.comments.

  • Make sure Scrivener is closed.

  • Make a backup first.

Alas doesn’t seem to work for me. thanks though. Guess I’ll put them back in manually…

I went through the package and found the content.xml files which I could see were comments/footnotes, and renamed them all content.comments. On opening project again still just showed as recovered files, but now unreadable…

Perhaps there should be a large popup that displays when Scrivener is first opened to warn people not to use certain applications such as Google drive or risk losing their work.

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Considering how often people seem to run into this same problem, absolutely yes. But I’m not sure how Microsoft, Google and even Apple would enjoy that much honesty.

There must be some way to do this that covers L&L’s legal a$$. I would suggest rather than saying that X should not be used, instead say that the user is strongly recommended to use Y instead. Be creative. Perhaps provide links to disasters caused by using X. And then get legal advice.

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I don’t think a specific warning would be necessary or desirable.

Something more along the lines of “If you intend to use Scrivener with Cloud Sync services, we strongly recommend you see the latest warnings/advisories in our Knowledge Base.” Strong enough to make people click the link and read, but generic enough that there’s no risk to L&L’s legal a$$.

Whatever the popup says, it would need to include a means to disable it, so we don’t need to see it every time. :nerd_face:



Can’t speak to these broader issues, but thanks for everyone’s help. I’m going to have another attempt recovering the file from the original machine, and if that doesn’t work, well at least its only the footnotes/comments, could have been a lot worse…

For anyone following this, I managed to retrieve the old file!

No more backing up to google…

That’s great to know. I wonder if Lit&Lat can make the “don’t use Google Drive for active projects” more upfront, rather than in a support advisory, which many newcomers probably don’t read.

I assume it’s OK with zipped backups, which are a single file which GD is unlikely to mess with … I am a virtually google-free zone!



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(Basically just moved my reply.)

Congratulations! Glad you got it sorted.

Here’s a post I wrote a while ago on syncing and backups. (Scrivener’s automatic zipped backups should have been the first thing you reached for to resolve this challenge.) The post was written for v1 so the menu paths have changed, but everything else is still applicable. It would be worth your time to read it.


The problem is that Scrivener has no way of knowing that Google Drive (or any similar service) is being used.

Scrivener saves to a folder on the local hard drive that just happens to be called “Google Drive” (or “Dropbox” or “iCloud” or whatever). From Scrivener’s perspective, this folder is no different from one named “My Awesome Novel” or “/user/home/documents.” Then the Google Drive (or other) software comes along behind Scrivener’s back and does whatever it is going to do.

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That’s not relevant to the suggestions above, which are that L&L make the information in the Cloud Service advisories/warnings in the Knowledge Base more upfront and visible in Scrivener itself, via a popup when the app is launched. Pop up should always be shown at launch, but user can disable via “don’t show again”.

Or some other method would work too. The idea being that useful information hidden in the Knowledge Base isn’t helping people. So how can that situation be improved?

Another way to look at this: What percentage of tickets in L&L’s support queue have to do with issues related to Cloud Services?

If low, then do nothing–continue business as usual.

But if high, then consider being more proactive in saving your users from their lack of knowledge regarding how certain cloud services settings could ruin their day. At the very least, direct them via pop up to the cloud advisory in the Knowledge Base.