Lost work, bad backup

Scrivener has failed me for the first time in several years of use. I lost almost 3,000 words (a full day’s work) that didn’t save. It’s working fine today, but now I’m leery about trusting it.

The backup brings up this message, which doesn’t make sense since I’m using version 1.53, and updating just gets me an empty project:

“The project you are trying to load uses an older format and cannot be opened. Would you like to update it? A copy of the old project will be saved in the same directory.

“IMPORTANT NOTE: If you choose to update this project, make sure that you do not try to open the updated project using a version of Scrivener earlier than 1.10. Versions of Scrivener earlier than 1.10 will mistake the newer format for an older one and offer to update it - but doing so will corrupt the file (although a backup will be created which will still be usable).”

This message usually indicates that one or more important files from within the .scriv file are missing. The usual suspects for this are:

• Synchronisation software.
• Copying the file between two places and the copy failing.
• Moving a file while it is open.
• One or two users have reported odd things happening if they store a project on the ~/Desktop, presumably because of optimisations OS X runs on the Desktop folder.

However, it’s difficult to know or help without more information. Please give me the exact breakdown of everything you did leading up to the problem, in step-by-step format (preferably as a numbered list), including any backups you made and how you made them, where the file is saved, whether external drives are involved or iDisk or anything, how you came to notice that 3,000 words were missing and so on.

All the best,

Opening the file this morning showed me that half was missing.Basically, I didn’t do anything different than I usually do. Made backups throughout the day and before closing it, then copied it from the Documents folder to two external drives. Didn’t move any files. From what you’ve said, I doubt that it’s going to be possible to figure out what happened. I’ll just consider it a lost cause, and start over, and hope it doesn’t happen again.

I did notice that the date for the most recent save of the file was wrong - from the previous day, which means that it didn’t save at all. So what I wound up saving to the two external devices was a day old file. But why the backups all failed is another question altogether. Just too much to deal with. Whatever went wrong, I’m sure the material isn’t retrievable. Thanks for giving it a try.

If the save date was wrong, one possible cause could be that you inadvertently (using the Save As command, for instance) created a second copy of the project and were actually working in that. The second copy may well be fine, if you can only find it.

Try a Spotlight search for .scriv files, looking first at your Documents folder, then at your entire drive, then at the two external drives.


If Scrivener can’t save, it generates an error, so it can’t be that it just didn’t save. I’d definitely recommend searching for .scriv files to see if the file with the wrong date really is the most recent version, as Katherine suggests. Even if it sounds overly obvious and you are sure it can’t be that, it can’t hurt to look just in case. :slight_smile:

How are you doing the backups? Are you using File > Backup To or using a different solution (if using File > Backup To, I definitely recommend checking the “zip” option)? If you are using a different backup solution, it could be that it is only saving changed files rather than all files inside the .scriv package.

All the best,

Did the .scriv search - no help there. I’ve looked all through Documents, of course. I never use “save as,” only "back up to… And regular saves are on automatic.

Appreciate the suggestions, but it looks like a lost cause, never to be solved.