Lost work

Hi, I only have a trial version of Scrivener and I am new to the program. I was not aware that my files only backed up when I closed the program (they were on the default setting), and I haven’t closed the program for a few days as I thought it autosaved. My computer has crashed with a few days worth of writing left open, and when I got my computer back on, Scrivener has no back ups of my files, only from the last time I closed the program. Is my work gone? Can I access the autosaves? I am feeling extremely depressed over this and I really hope there is a solution.

In Scrivener, there is a big difference between saving and backing up. While Scrivener’s default setting does only back up on closing the program, it does (or should) autosave every time you stop writing for a little while. So you should have two sets of files. You should find the saved project wherever you set Scrivener to save your work, and several back up files (probably zipped) in another location.

If you go into Files > Options > Backup and look near the bottom of the popup you should see the location where Scrivener puts BACKUPS of your work. You can change this location, but right now you probably just need to find the location and see what you can see there.

To find your SAVED work go to Save As… and see what folder Scrivener opens. It should start with the last place it knows about - which ought to be where your work has been saved up till now. If you go to that folder with Windows Explorer you should see the folders that Scrivener has saved automatically.

Hope this helps.

Hi Owen,

The folder where scrivener automatically saves only has files from the last time i closed the program . It has no files from today. Is there anything else I can do?

You’re confusing terms. The thing that is automatically created when you close scrivener is a backup, not a “save”. The project you were working on was saved in another location–it’s the location where the original project was created. Open that. It should be fine, unless you were in the middle of editing the project when your computer crashed.

Internally, scrivener is made of many individual files. More than one per entry in the binder. When you change text in one of those files, create or edit a synopsis (index card), modify a document title, add document notes, etc… some smaller part of the project is saved when you pause for 2 seconds. It’s not the whole project, and this “save” doesn’t create another backup copy of your project. That’s why you need to just open the “active” project, not what’s in the backups folder.

Do you know what kind of format I could find the saved files in? The only scrivener openable file there is the old back up.

I mean to say that I think I have found the .rtf file that was saved on the day it happened, but it appears the file has been corrupted as it only shows boxes ?

The autosave is the project itself, without a plural s. If you can’t open the project, or if some of the text seems to have disappeared, the last resort is to create a new project and then import the .rtf files in your old project that contains the text. It is possible (likely?) that the .scrivx file got corrupted when the computer crashed and that file holds a kind of toc for the project, keeping track of what exists, but apart from the binder document you were currently editing, everything else should be okay.
Look at the .rtf files in your project folder. That’s where the actual text is stored.

The Rrf file only has boxes in it, but when I hover over the file I can see a preview with my actual text there . However, it cuts off after about a sentence. So the text is still somehow somewhere, but I am not sure how to access it as I believe the file has been corrupted

I thought I would attach some screenshots to clarify my problem a bit. My text seems to still exist somewhere, as I am getting a preview of the first few lines, as shown, but when I open it there are only boxes. Is there any way I can expand this preview? I have been trying for hours and I can’t seem to get it to work, which is frustrating because it looks like it is there.

The image you are showing says that it is “saving autorecovery”. So whatever you are doing you are not just finding an rtf file and opening it in Word or Wordpad.

I will try to be clearer. When Scrivener autosaves it saves updates to the actual project folder. I cannot remember where it saves that by default, but as I said above if you go to Scrivener and choose “Save As…” it should offer to save in the last folder it saved in - and that might well be the folder where your project is.

If you open that folder in Windows Explorer then you should see a folder there with the name of your project. Inside that folder you should see two folders and a file. The file (ending in .scrivx is the file that you double click on to launch the project. One of the folders is called Files and inside that is a folder called Data. Inside that are a lot of folders (how many depends on what you have done so far with your project). Each of these folders has a long string as its name: something like 29A6623A-8BA3-469A-9A55-37721A6F3D9E. Depending on how Windows is set up you can see the date each of these was modified. You can use that date to figure out which folder is likely to contain the content you want.

Inside each of these folders is a file called content.rtf and THAT is the file you want to try to open with Word. You don’t need to recover it, just open it.

Is this any clearer?


That is the rtf file that I am opening, it just says auto recovery cause I closed it without saving (because it’s boxes) and opened it again. The document that I screenshotted is the same document in the second picture, and all I did was just open it. However I think there isn’t a way to save it, as I have been trying for a few days and I think there is no hope anymore