Lost work when using Scrivener on two computers

I’ve used Scrivener on two computers for years now. One is a laptop and one is a desktop. Both Windows 10.
Yesterday morning I wrote a few hundred words in my manuscript on my laptop, closed Scrivener, and turned the laptop off. This is my daily routine. Then, in the evening, I opened Scrivener on my desktop computer only to discover the file had reverted to the one BEFORE I worked on my laptop. In effect, I lost a few hundred words of my manuscript.
Hoping it was just a hiccup, because it’s never happened before, I got back to work writing on my desktop computer and added a couple thousand more words to the manuscript. I then made sure the file closed properly, shut down the computer and went to bed.
This morning, I opened Scrivener on my laptop and was horrified to discover all of the work I did on the desktop computer was gone and the file was back to the original wordcount from before I wrote on the laptop the day before.
In effect, I’ve lost an entire day of work.

Can anyone help me either find the missing work, or figure out how to prevent this from ever happening again?

Tech info:
Both computers are windows 10. The Scrivener files are kept in my Google Drive folder and automatically synced to the cloud. I’ve been doing this for years with no issue and there has been no change to my computers in the last week, not even a Windows update.

Thank you for any help/advice.

Check your cloud settings.
Likely your files are no longer syncing locally.
They need to be made available offline.

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Thanks Vincent. I have checked that and both computers are still syncing properly. Also created a test Word doc and that synced fine between both computers.

Word files are not an accurate test. I would suggest using a disposable Scrivener project.

Also, have you checked specifically that both computers are making the entire contents of the project “available offline?” A service can appear to be “syncing properly” while still storing your project exclusively on the server, and in fact that behavior is the most common cause of these symptoms.

Thank you Kewms.
Used a disposable file just now and they synced properly, no issues.
My Manuscript is identical on both computers, meaning it is missing all of yesterday’s work, even though I made absolutely sure yesterday evening that the Scrivener file had been properly closed out and the computer properly shut down.
Again, I’ve been doing this for years now, with no changes. Very confusing that it would happen on two separate computers.

Every time you closed Scrivener yesterday, on both PCs, Scrivener should have automatically made a zipped backup. That’s where your missing words will be.

So–the most important thing you can do at this point, before doing any other tests, is copy your most recent Scrivener automatic zipped backups from their default location to a new, temporary folder. Do this on both PCs.

Do this immediately, because every time you open and close Scrivener, a new automatic zipped backup will be created in your default backup folder, and your oldest zipped backup will be deleted. Eventually the backup with your missing words will be deleted, and at that point you may be out of luck.

So copy the backups on both PCs to a new temp folder. Then open and review each backup in the temp folder that were made yesterday until you find your missing words.



Thank you, JimRac.

That did the trick. I found the backup file and was able to restore my work from that. I still don’t have any idea why Scrivener didn’t sync properly, but at least I now know how to find my backups if it ever happens again.

Thank you!

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In this case, you might be into increasing the number of retained backups, in the options.
And perhaps even set yourself up a routine (or an automatic way) for safeguarding those backups.

In the case of backups, more is better than less. You can’t really do too much safetywise.

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It’s best to consider that Scrivener is not doing the file transfer sync between machines. That’s up to Google Drive. Heed the advice given above for what to look for, particularly a) that all Scrivener files are “offline” (or whatever nomenclature Google Drive Uses), and b) the sync needs to be complete going up to Google’s servers, and then back down to the target machine.

Then after a sync Scrivener integrates the updated files into the target machine.

Note: I have Google Drive running, but not for Scrivener projects. I use Dropbox and it simply works. Sometimes I notice, on my Macs, that for whatever reason, Google Drive background process simply not running and I have to restart it. I of course do not know why and probably never will. I don’t think Google Drive is as yet “bullet-proof”, but that’s of course anecdotal evidence.

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Ooh. I missed that you’re using Google Drive. It is known to be untrustworthy for live Scrivener projects. In particular, it doesn’t seem to have any particular urgency about making sure files are actually transferred, which is very likely to cause problems when you switch between devices.


Google Drive is an issue (as is iCloud). Both can be very lazy syncing.

I use Dropbox for live projects, and despite it being very reliable do check for the green tick (sync completed) on the Dropbox logo before shutting down a system.


As others have already pointed out, the syncing issue here has to do with Google Drive, not with Scrivener. (If something had gone wrong with Google Drive syncing your photos, you wouldn’t blame the MS Photos app, would you?) The other thing is, you may have become a bit too trusting with your syncing service. Syncing your precious writing should definitely be a ‘trust yet verify’ situation. :innocent:

I recommend you develop a better understanding of how syncing and backups work with Scrivener desktop app, particularly if you continue to use Google Drive as your syncing platform. :nerd_face:

Please read this post I wrote for another user, on syncing and backups. It’s written for Scriv v1, so menu options might be slightly different, but everything else is still applicable.

Myself, I would not trust Google Drive with something as complex as a live Scrivener project. In my experience Dropbox is the best, with OneDrive coming in second. Google Drive and ICloud I would not use, except perhaps for Scrivener’s zipped backups.