Lost work -- even though I saved, I still lost days of work

I did a whole bunch of work on one of my projects over the past couple of days, but today I had to force a shut down on my computer. I MADE SURE to save my changes before I did so. Still, looks like NONE of my changes saved.

What’s up with this? How do I remedy? I’m furious.

You should have Scrivener’s automatic backups. You can find them by going to Scrivener → Preferences → Backups, and opening the backup folder in Finder.

If you’re running a Time Machine – which all Mac users should – you could look there as well.

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Unless you have radically changed its settings, Scrivener writes your changes to disk after a few seconds whenever you pause. It is virtually impossible that a couple of days of writing did not get written to disk. So, something else must be going on.

  1. First thing I would do is find the project in Finder and make a duplicate for safety – before I did any messing around.

  2. I would try opening it directly from Finder (not the Recents menu in Scriv) and look for my stuff. ((People sometimes inadvertently open a previous version of their project file by relying on the Recents menu – which can make it seem like stuff disappeared.))

  3. And I would definitely follow @kewms suggestion and check out my latest project backups.

(If your computer seized up, it is hard to gauge what the OS might have not done properly at that time.)

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This is an excellent suggestion. The Recents menu is managed by Mac OS, not Scrivener directly, and is fairly fragile in the face of system updates, crashes, and other unexpected events.

I’d also recommend searching the forum for “lost work”. Almost all of the threads say basically the same things.

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Thanks, everyone. I’ve done all of those things, and I still cannot find the work. I’m pretty upset. There are many backed up versions in the backup folder and in Finder (in various places) and I’ve opened every single one and none of them have the most recent work.

This has happened to me with Scrivener before. It can be devastating. I am sorry that you’ve lost your work. Scrivener isn’t perfect and sometimes shit just fucks up. Though I will say, the three times this has happened to me, they ended up NOT being solely Scrivener’s fault, but a fault with my Macbook. It sucks. I hope you’re able to take some time and think about what you’ve lost, get back on the horse, and write something even better than what you lost.

When the dust settles, you might want to check your Backup settings. If a crash deprives you of days of work, something (besides the crash) is wrong.

Are you using Dropbox, iCloud, or a similar service?

The most common cause of lost work, recently, is a default setting in some sync services, like Dropbox, that seeks to save local disk space by keeping files online (in the cloud) only. I’m surprised no one on this thread has mentioned it. If your project is in Dropbox or iCloud, try dragging it OUT of the sync folder and open it somewhere else.

If that doesn’t work, we can try a Zoom session if you like:


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Could you please clarify: what is the date of your latest Scrivener zipped backup PRIOR to this force shutdown event.


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