lost story scare...have you noticed? just fyi

So, I had lots of fun discovering strange Scrivener file behavior this evening. I’ve only had the program a week, so I’m still learning the ins and outs.

I’m lazy, see, so I didn’t want to save the entire project folder (with Icons, Files, Setting, Snapshots, etc.) to my desktop, because that would mean I’d have to open the folder, then open the project file. That’s a lot of work, you know? I wanted to just have the project file itself right there on my desktop, just a double-click away, so I saved the folder under Documents but moved the actual project file out of said folder and onto the desktop. That’s it.

But when I went to open it, it exploded–or maybe imploded? I do not know how to explain it. The project file became several different folders, most of which contained nothing, or at least nothing useful, and the project file renamed itself “Desktop.” Cautiously, wondering what had just happened, I open the “Desktop” project file… and it’s like a project ghost town. All the settings were still the same, the binder was still the same way I had it organized, but there was no text, pictures–no content. I freaked, and for the life of me, I could not figure out what I’d done wrong, where I’d sent my story. Panicked, I started crying, because just an hour before, when I decided to take a break from writing, I thought, “I should probably back this up on my external hard drive… Nah, later.” Just my luck.

Eventually I gathered up enough common sense to Google search “Scrivener backup” and followed very simple steps from this handy forum on how to go under Tools>Options>Backup>Open backup folder. I did so, and there it all was, a garden of beautiful backup flowers. I extracted what I needed and opened up the project to right where I had left it before taking that break–and immediately copied it to my external hard drive.

Going that extra step of opening the folder first doesn’t seem so inconvenient anymore.

I wanted to share this experience in case anyone else suffers a similar heart attack.


PS - However, I had some hope that all was not lost before my Google search. In one of those mostly-empty folders was a very non-empty folder called Files that contained Wordpad files of my story, but each chapter, each profile, each scene was on a different file, and if it came down to copy and pasting into a new project and re-organizing it all, it would have taken FOREVER.

In case your googling didn’t uncover this, I wanted to maybe shed a little light on what you experienced.

The .scrivx project file that you moved to the desktop? It’s an index of the contents of every entry in your binder. It contains the names you see in the binder, the location of those names in the structure of the binder, and a number of other bits of info, but the .scrivx file does not contain the text, the notes, or the synopses of your project.

As you discovered, you cannot separate the .scrivx file from the containing .scriv folder. Scrivener expects to find all those files and folders surrounding the .scrivx file, and when it doesn’t, I guess it tries to recreate the structure around it.

If you want to be lazy (in the long-run), try this:
First, close Scrivener and then move all your .scriv folders to your Documents folder (or a sub-folder of that).
Then in the windows file browser you used to move the .scriv folders, click on the Documents folder.
In the search field in the upper right corner of the windows file browser, type this in: .scrivx
It should show you all the Scrivener files you have in the Documents folder. Now click on “Save Search” in the upper left area of the window.

From now on, save all your projects to Documents, or a folder under documents, and when you click on the saved search, you’ll get an up-to-date, sortable list of projects that you can double-click on to open them in Scrivener.

That makes a lot of sense. I didn’t think about the fact that the contents of a project are all different kinds of files-pictures, text, etc.–and therefore would be in different homes when not being viewed together in a project. I’m sure there’s a clever analogy for it somewhere.

Thanks for taking the time to explain. It’s good to know and understand. :slight_smile:

A folder on the desktop containing shortcuts to the .scrivx files works for me especially since we can rename them.


Yes, creating shortcuts to the .scrivx file is very easy. Also, in Windows 7 on, you can pin a .scrivx file to the Scrivener icon on the taskbar (assuming you’ve pinned the Scrivener icon to the taskbar, of course). Then you just have to right click the Scrivener icon and choose the project to open from a list of pinned projects. (A little more work at the beginning, but very easy to use once implemented)

I think I remember reading that they’ve fixed it in 1.9 so that your .scrivx file name automatically becomes that of your project (I haven’t updated yet, though, so I can’t confirm). If you’re using an earlier version, you can rename the .scrivx file in the project folder. This won’t affect your project, and if you don’t do this, all the projects you pin to the taskbar will be called “project,” making it difficult to choose among them.