Lost project?

Howdy, I’m having a moment. I downloaded Scrivener in January. I used it for a few months on and off and then had a bit of chaos and haven’t logged in for a while.

When I click on the Scrivener logo now (the one that looks like a yin-yang sign) it says “Scrivener Project Not Found” and dings at me unhappily. Takes me through to the tutorial screen, which it wouldn’t let me load.

So I logged through and found out there was a Scrivener 3, figured the old one might be unsupported now? So I downloaded that, but it doesn’t have my old project in it. I have no idea how to find my old scrivener files, they don’t seem to be anywhere.

My computer is an utter bastard for turning itself off without my permission to do updates and crashing everything, so presumably that’s happened sometime. Is my project lost?

Probably, your project is not lost. It would be unlikely that the Windows Update mechanism has destroyed your project. But let’s approach this step by step.

Please confirm: You are on Windows, not on a Mac.

When you say, “I click on the Scrivener logo”, where exactly are you clicking?

  1. In the task bar (at the bottom of the screen)
  2. on the desktop and it’s one of the program icons
  3. on the desktop and it’s a shortcut to your project
  4. on the desktop and that is where your project lives
  5. in Windows Explorer on the .scrivx file

If you don’t have difficulties to distinguish between options 2 - 4, then tell us what is written below that icon.

We will try to get things straightened out from there.

Thanks for replying! Yes, I’m on Windows. It brings up the “Open Project: Scrivener Project File Not Found” message from an icon in the task bar at the bottom. It also does it when I go through the Windows button at the bottom left and open the Scrivener file that way. I don’t have any icons on my desktop (except a new Scrivener 3 one now since I just downloaded it).

Okay, here is what probably happened: In the Scrivener settings you had the option

General → Startup → Reopen projects that were open on quit

set (this might even be the default). Now Scrivener starts and is looking for your project, but it is not at the place, where it expects it. That can have several reasons:

  • You moved the project meanwhile to a new directory or disk drive
  • You deleted the project (let’s hope that is not the case)
  • You are starting the new Scrivener version (V3) and this one does not know the location of your project yet.

Did you install the new version of Scrivener on the same directory as the old one? Or do you have both versions installed in parallel? How to find out: Here is a very detailed step-by-step description:

  1. After Scrivener comes up with that error message “Open Project: Scrivener Project Not Found”, click “OK”. Now you are on the “Project Template” dialog.
  2. Select the “Blank” template on the left, then click “Create”. Now the “Create Scrivener Project” dialog will appear.
  3. there you enter “xxx” – just a dummy name, as we just want to create a scratch project. Before you click “Save” notice on which directory path Scrivener want to create this new project. You see it at the top of the dialog. The Path Box should contain something like:

This PC → Volume (C:) → MyScrivenerDirectory

This is the directory, Scrivener uses by default when you create new projects. Please let me know, what the directory path is and make a note of it. This might help us locate your project later.

  1. Now click “Save” and within a few seconds, Scrivener will create the new project and open its main window.
  2. Now you can find out, which version of Scrivener you just started:

Help → About Scrivener

At the very bottom of the pop-up dialog you see Scrivener’s version number. Let me know, which version is starting up.

If you are familiar with Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer, but Windows Explorer), then you can try to look for your project by searching your disk drive(s) for all “*.scriv” directories. Once you found it, use the File → Open command to open it and you are good to go again.

If you are not familiar with Windows Explorer, I will have to talk you through the process of finding your project step-by-step. Just let me know. Rest assured, we will eventually find it – except you have accidentally deleted your project, which is unlikely.

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Ok I found it!!

It was My PC → Desktop which was the problem - I went through and cleared up all the icons that were annoying me a while back, which I hadn’t even thought about as being the issue because I’ve never had anything that was a program saved to my desktop before. It’s always somewhere else, and just throws up an icon there, and I figured I’d kept the icon in my task bar…

Fortunately it was less than a month ago, so I’ve gone through OneNote and restored the project files and it is all happy as Larry round here again.

Thank you so much for your help!!