Lost Words


Well I find myself in the situation I never wanted to be in - I opened my work today and found that the last couple of weeks’ work just seems to have disappeared - I’m looking at an earlier version of the draft, approx 2 weeks old.

I thought I was doing everything right:

Scrivener autosaves are pointed at Dropbox and set to save every time I quit or do a manual save - I looked in the DB folder and found one backup which is so recent it has saved the version missing the stuff I had yesterday, then a gap going back to the 12 of Nov. I set Scrivener to save only the last 3 autosaves so maybe that was a mistake. Not much to play with there.

I then checked Time Machine and according to TM, when I wind back the Scrivener file in question to 7.05 am yesterday the file info tells me it was last modified 12 Nov - the same date - whereas I worked on it yesterday.

This is so weird I don’t really know what I’ve done or where to start with it. Of course that makes it scarier because if I don’t know what I’ve done it could happen again. Any help at all hugely appreciated. I’m hoping I’ve done something obvious… sigh. I guess it’s back to the neuronal TM in my head.


Oh one more thing, I upgraded to 2.2 recently. Can’t remember the date and I can’t see how this could have any connection but just mentioning it.


Okay further investigation suggests I have inadvertently rolled back to a snapshot of 7 Nov.

The TM gap is explained by my failure to close and do manual backups. Not sure what’s happened with Dropbox.

Is there anyway I can un-roll back? Guess not. Damn. But how could I roll back by mistake without noticing??? Aaaah.

So when you restore from TM, the copy from yesterday morning, it actually looks like the copy from the 7th when you open it? When you restore, you can choose to restore it as a parallel file rather than replacing the existing one. So it is safe to explore.

Thanks Amber - I’ll keep searching, but… have you ever heard of anyone rolling back by mistake without knowing it? Is this a first??

I can think of nothing that would revert files on your computer without using the whole Whiz Bang interface by hand. I’m fairly certain that Apple never built in the necessary programming hooks for anyone to access TM, and so thus there would be no way to accidentally trigger a command line code or something that would do this. Otherwise we would have a bounty of third-party TM tools that work better than Apple’s clunker of an interface. That doesn’t rule out that it cannot mysteriously happen, but I would file such an occurrence under the auspices of a bug rather than a mistake. I have heard of files reverting spontaneously before. Never did find a pattern or even a plausible theory into how such a thing could happen.

One thing that does happen now and then is Mistaken Save As Syndrome. Maybe File/Save As... got used at some point in the past by mistake, and you’ve been working Project X2 this whole time unbeknownst, and then one day you sit down and double-click on Project X1 like you always do, and poof it’s suddenly a week or two stale.

I’m going to put it down to Alien visitation. It’s the only logical explanation.

I highly agree.

I’ve had that happen to me in programming projects in the distant past. Now I take every advantage of backups and revision control. Lost files/lost time… there must be an alien connection, but it sure as hell feels like I spent all that time working on something.

Since hard drive space is far cheaper than my sanity, I set my backups kept to 25 (the maximum I believe). The dropbox sync of each backup is slow, since it’s a new 11MB zip file every time, but the wait is worth the peace of mind it brings me.

Amen to that brother. I am also now on a 25 regime, and triggering a manual TM backup after closing Scrivener at the end of the day. I’m sleeping nights again!