Lost Work in Mysterious Circumstances

I have lost the last 5 days of work and I’m not sure what caused this, or if I can get it back.
First of all, I don’t have a back up, so that’s not going to help me. Unbeknown to me, automatic back up had been turned off.
I am confused about how I lost the work. I have opened the file several times since the save date that it has reverted to without any problems. The only difference is that today I opened Scrivener on a different computer (the file is saved to a usb stick) and it opened to this earlier save. When I opened it again on the original computer, I got the same thing.
I do usually save before closing the programme (I couldn’t be sure whether I did last night or not), but as I understood it, Scrivener saves after 2 seconds of a pause making this unnecessary.
Does anyone know what caused this or if there’s any way to get my work back ? I’m not holding out much hope :frowning:

There are a few threads in this forum about how saving your project on a USB stick can lead to losing your work. You may want to check them out.

When I see someone say ‘I do usually save before closing the programme’ I know they don’t understand how Scrivener work. Scrivener saves automatically. You don’t save as in a Word file.

Not having a backup strategy is a huge mistake.

What I would recomend is for you to get familliar with the Interactive Tutorial, which can be accessed through the help menu.

Good luck,

Have you inspected the USB stick to see what’s actually on it?

If there’s more than one copy of the project, then the second computer could have opened the wrong one for any of a number of reasons.


Thank you for the replies.

All valid comments about the stupidity of not backing up and problems with using a usb stick. I still don’t feel comfortable just turning off Scrivener and trusting that it has saved, though I just learned about the asterisk symbol, which should be useful.

The good news is that I got my chapter back, but I still have no idea what happened. I was missing three scenes altogether and when I hit the add item button three times each reappeared in the order I had written them. They were exactly as I left them, including notes, snapshots and footnotes, but without titles.

So that’s problem solved, I suppose. “¯_ (ツ)_/¯“

Just in case you’re not 100% clear on this, Scrivener has auto-save, so you never have to worry about saving your live project files to disk. You’re focusing on the wrong thing.

What you do need to worry about is ensuring that Scrivener’s zipped backups are running. I’m sure you’ve already turned them back on. See this post I wrote a couple of years ago on this topic for another user. Everything I wrote then is still applicable now. [url]https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/label-colours-not-working/41532/5]

These are symptoms that the .scrivx project file was somehow corrupted. When that happens, the data and documents you’ve created still exist, but the project can’t find them anymore. Then, when you start working again in the project, bits and pieces begin reappearing, as if by magic.One possible cause of corruption is that you pulled the USB drive out in the middle of some disk I/O. Or it could just be the USB drive is flakey. We’ll never know for sure.

Why are you storing your project on a USB and not on your hard drive? If you tell us the problem you’re trying to solve by doing so (sharing between PCs?) then possibly we can suggest some better approaches.


I have lost my second book (almost 50 000 words) when there was an update. After de update my work was gone. :imp:
I cannot find it. So, I am angry and frustrated. Is there someone who can help.
And sorry for my English, I am from Belgium. So it is not easy.
Thanks anyway.

Hi Freddy Was, Please provide version number you migrated from, and version number you migrated to. (Help > About).

Whenever Scrivener upgrades a project, it makes a backup of the old project first, in the same folder as the upgraded project. So unless you did some Windows cleanup and have been deleting things yourself, you should be fine.

This may seem like a dumb question, but what exactly do you mean by you lost your book? Are you saying when you navigate using Windows Explorer to the folder where the project used to be stored, it’s no longer there?

Another dumb question: When you say ‘update’, do you mean Scrivener upgrade, or Windows update? If you meant Windows update, was it something big like Win7 to Win10, or just a normal Windows update?