Lost file after power outage

I had a power outage while working in Scrivener. When I restarted, I got a message that a particular file was unreadable, and that I should restart Windows. I followed the instructions, and this file seems ok.

However, the file that I was writing at the moment of the outage has lost its text. It still shows up in the binder, with its notes, references, snapshots and metadata, but the main text has disappeared. Is there any way to recover this? Perhaps the .rtf file is still there, but how can I find its id number, so I can search for it in Scrivener’s data directory?

I know I can get yesterday’s text from last night’s back-up, but then I’ll have lost today’s work.

Right click the file in the binder.

Paste somewhere (ctrl-v)

(I am sure there is a better way to recover the file than this, though…)

Many thanks.
I found it, and the content.rtf won’t open in a text editor. Notepad ++ shows a page full of NUL characters.

Is there?

I’ve seen similar scenarios over the years on the forums. Searching on something like “power outage data lost” will find them. It seems that in some cases of Windows crash the Scrivener file currently being edited is corrupted, in such a way that Scrivener’s autosave does not help.

Hopefully you can track down the .rtf and recover some or all of your text.

What I do to work around this scenario is:

  1. Enable File > Options > Back up with each manual save.
  2. During writing sessions press Ctrl+S regularly. Each time will make a zipped backup of the entire project, which means I don’t need to depend on Scrivener’s autosave in the event of a Windows crash, thus limiting my “lost text exposure” to whatever I’ve written since the last Ctrl+S.

I tend to keep my active projects light & small, but depending on the size of your projects, interrupting your flow while the backup happens might be an issue for you.

Consider adopting this approach going forward, particularly if you are prone to power failures or Windows o/s issues. (I’m on an extremely stable laptop, so the odds for me are very low, but I’m so risk averse that I still do it. :nerd_face: )



Sounds like the .rtf is corrupted. The data is there, but (I’m guessing) perhaps data was lost at the beginning or end of the file, making it unreadable.

But can Notepad ++ handle .rtf? I would think you’d need Word or some equivalent.

If you keep your projects on a cloud service, check to see if there’s a recent version you can recover from. For example, I believe OneDrive uploads versions of docs periodically.

ETA: I just tried to open a working .rtf in Notepad ++ and it correctly displayed the underlying .rtf code:

So it does sound like your .rtf is corrupted.

Sorry! :frowning:

The .rtf is 4.89Kb, so there is something there.
Libre Office can’t open it, and Notepad ++ (which can usually handle .rtfs) just shows a page of NULs.
Do you know of any other software I can use to look at what’s in there?

See the ETA to my reply above.

Wild guess : try importing it in scrivener, see what it makes of its own now presumably crippled document. (?)

File / Import / Files...

(P.S. Should I recommend that you make sure you have a proper backup before attempting a recovery ?)

Scrivener just shows it as blank.

I think after a few word processors have tried and failed to open the file, then you’re left with specialty data recovery software.

I googled “software to recover corrupted .rtf files” and RTF Repair came up, among others. There were also some sites that listed techniques for .rtf file recovery.

I have no experience with any of this, no idea whether any of these methods will work. I suggest that repair attempts be done on a copy of the .rtf, in case they make things worse.

ETA: If you do find something that works, please come back and share it! I’ve always assumed that “corrupted” = “gone for good”, so it would be super helpful to find a tool or technique to share with others in your position.


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I’ve been doing the same searches. RTF Repair couldn’t find anything.
I think this is gone for good.
I’m now concentrating on redoing today’s writing while it’s still relatively fresh.
Ho hum… :nauseated_face:

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That is why I backup a project up to 20 + times a day like a paranoiac.
(At the end of the day I only backup the last backup (the others still spending a few days on my HD), but as the day goes, any time I’ll walk away from my desk, or fall idle for a while, or whatever, I first —might as well— launch a backup. ALWAYS.)


After the fact, but given you had a power outage, there is nothing really to say same will not happen at some time again.

consider getting an Uninterruptible Power Supply. For one PC and perhaps your network router, they aren’t to expensive–especially when compared to the “cost” of lost data or worse. I have one that is an Amazon-branded one. It’s kicked in a couple of times in its lifetime.

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