Lost Hard Drive with scriv. file. Any other back up?

My hard drive recently crashed wiping everything on it.

I’ve lost 40,000 words of my book (my last back up via email was before I added 30,000 words…I know, I’m a fool). Before I cry into my cup of tea, is there any other record of what I have written that I might be able to find?
Does the Scrivener program hold any back up?

Any advice would obviously be very gratefully received. Thanks


I’m afraid Scrivener can only back up or save where you tell it to. Did you point the backups folder to Dropbox by any chance? That is by far the safest way of ensuring you never lose anything, because that way, even if you lose your hard drive, all your backups can be downloaded from Dropbox.

Sorry it’s not good news…

All the best,

A horrible story.

I once had a hard drive crash while I was updating my ipod. The drive failed and took the ipod with it. Or it could have been the other way round. In any case, I lost the info on both.

Luckily (!) I only had music stored on the drive, so whilst it took a very long time to reburn (no, wait, burning is when you put data on a disk and this is the opposite - so I guess I was… err freezing?) my CD collection to the computer, at least there was no creativity required.

It can be expensive, but if all else fails you can recover some data from a dead disk. I did a quick search and found this, but a more thorough investigation might yield more results.
popularmechanics.com/technol … s/4294038#

If you didn’t do it this time, in the future make sure to set up Scrivener with automatic backups to your Dropbox folder. This is the simplest and best way to be protected.

Are you sure you did not have auto backup enabled for Dropbox?

In addition, did you not backup your entire hard drive via TimeMachine? Or, even better, SuperDuper? If not, put that on your checklist for future improvements.

Living with one hard drive for your materials is madness. (Sorry to be so blunt, but I’ve seen this happen countless times. It’s as people believe they are protected by divine intervention and won’t be touched by any badness in life. Yikes.) In the future, invest in a dedicated HD just for backups, and wise to BU every day. It will cost you about $70 to $100: a pretty small investment.

In addition, just because your hard drive crashed doesn’t mean you’ve lost all the files. This happened to my wife about 2 months ago, and we retrieved virtually all the “lost” files via DiskWarrior. You need an extra computer (obviously) to connect to the seemingly dead one. It’s rare that one can’t recover lots of files from a “dead HD”.

If you can get the hard drive out of the Mac and then hook it up to another computer using a SATA/IDE adapter, you might be able to recover data.

You need a friend with one of these:

And if you don’t like Dropbox for any reason, Cubby also works well…

Hi Guys. Thanks for all your input. I am indeed a muppet…my previous drive has got most of my music and photos on it so I’m spared to some extent. Just not the book I spent the last few months writing.
I’m going to chalk it up as a necessary ‘draft’ that can be improved on and try to be stoic. It probably wasn’t very good anyway.
Right…dropbox…time to modernise. Automatic backups sound like a good thing.

Thanks again…and if I’ve been clicking on save a lot…does that still mean its gone?

CrashPlan is another good BU for Macs.

Sadly, saving often doesn’t magically copy the file to another hard drive (without the help of Time Machine or Dropbox at least). In Scrivener, File->Save doesn’t even do much of anything 99% of the time; by default, when you pause for 2 seconds, Scrivener automatically saves your changes for you; but not to a place that’s safe from a hard drive crash. Your backup settings can be configured so that File->Save triggers a full backup though.

Yes, it is an awful feeling to lose everything to a hard drive crash. But think of Hemingway:

“Hemingway had his language stripped clean all right. Indeed, with the loss of the manuscripts, and with time pressing to replace those vanished words in his bid to become a respected writer, Hemingway may have adopted and adapted the lean prose style for which he became famous.”

See this article:

lostmanuscripts.com/2010/07/31/h … -suitcase/

I realize you’ll do things differently in the future, but it seems you may have given up on trying to retrieve your info this time.

I don’t know if time, or money, is the barrier for you, but DiskWarrier (about $100) has recovered many a “lost” file from a dead hard drive. It’s really worth exploring. There may even be a better solution than DiskWarrior, but it’s amazing how much and how well these programs can work.

Having a good BU plan is essential for a number of reasons. One of the most common ways to lose your data is by having a laptop stolen: in which case DiskWarrier is useless. But you fall into that category where it may help. Of course, you have to be the judge of whether spending $100 plus some extra time is “worth” potentially saving your data (Scrivener and otherwise).


Sorry if this is a dumb question but now I’m confused. If I set my BU preference to Dropbox, does that mean there’s no local BU on my hard drive? Can I set Scriv to BU locally and in Dropbox? Or can Scriv BU in only one place?

Dropbox is BOTH local and cloud. When you have Dropbox account you get a cloud account, and a hard drive folder for each of your computers (if you have multiples). This is one of the marvelous things about Dropbox: even if you lose an internet connection, all your materials are on your hard drive. When you have internet access again, new materials will be uploaded to the cloud account, and subsequently downloaded to other computers you have with Dropbox installed.

As you can surmise, Dropbox syncing is slower than iCloud due to this process. For very small files it matters nada. For larger files you’ll start to see delays due to the various upload/download. But currently Dropbox is a LOT more reliable for me than iCloud (not really saying much, actually). So while iCloud is “in theory” quicker, in practice it’s quirkier.

Put differently, if you have 8Gb of materials stored at Dropbox, this also means you have an 8Gb folder of Dropbox materials on each of your computers linked to the Dropbox account.

Also consider Cubby. Similar to Dropbox but you can set any folder (or folders) to be mirrored in the cloud. So, for example, I have the folder containing all the classes I teach set as a cubby, along with my Scrivener back-up folder, folders for specific iPad apps (e.g. Notability, GoodReader), plus a folder for work documents I want to be available to my website and another for documents I share with individual clients.

Although I have now stopped using Dropbox (and SpiderOak) entirely and only use Cubby, in the end it comes down to personal opinion. For me, I like the fact that Cubby allows you to mirror multiple folders and it is very easy to use. Dropbox is probably second in ease of use, but doesn’t have the flexibility of Cubby.

Note: I use the term “mirror” deliberately because this is a useful metaphor for thinking about what cloud services like Cubby, DropBox, etc do. It is an inadequate metaphor, as they can do more than just copy local folders to the cloud, but it is helpful starting point.

I’ve used DiskWarrior and it’s good. But you have to pay the full freight even to try it. Another product I’ve used is also very good – Data Rescue III. It has one big advantage: you can do a trial download, connect it all up, and see whether you have a shot at recovery. It’s full-featured in the sense that you can attempt anything, with the trial, but you can only recover something like 250 mb. So with DR 3, you don’t have to spend anything to learn whether a recovery’s possible, or not. If it is, you pay the price. If not, you don’t.

And it’s also important to note that sometimes DW will succeed when DR3 cannot, and vice-versa. They work in fundamentally different ways.

Finally, I do encourage you to try it. Even if you’re not technically-inclined, so long as you can get your hands on the drive, you’ll have no trouble connecting a temporary SATA-USB connection kit – really, they are very simple – and then you give it a shot.

As others have suggested, maybe you’re giving up too soon.

The dropbox website should walk you through this, but just in case you miss it; You have to install the dropbox application and set it up with your dropbox user id and password before it becomes useful. Setting Scrivener to back up to dropbox just means that you tell it to save the backups to the “Dropbox” folder on your hard drive (created when you install the app). The dropbox program will then take care of uploading a copy of that backup, as well as downloading any changed or new files from the server if there were any put there from another computer.