Missing Backup Folder

Hi … Frst time on this new forum format after being incommunicado due to illness for quite some time. So I hope I’m proceeding correctly. Just before I had to stop writing I got a desktop message saying something like my backup folder “is missing”, or “has disappeared”. I did not look into it at that time but simply backed up my next few writing sessions in Dropbox, Documents and external drives.

I have two questions: 1) Why did this happen, and 2) Does this possibly mean that Scrivener is NOT saving every two seconds as it normally does?

Hoping someone can help me out. If so, I’m an elderly, low-tech guy so “be gentle” with advice on how to proceed. :slight_smile: Thanks a million!

Welcome back! Glad to hear you’re feeling better.

What you describe could happen if the backup folder you were using back then was at any point since then renamed, moved or even removed. For example you might get that warning if you always backed up to an external drive, and that drive is no longer plugged in. It could also happen if you’ve since bought a new computer and took the opportunity to reorganise things.

Since these backups are quite old now, it may not be worth tracking them down, but Spotlight might help you do so, by searching for project names, and looking in particular for anything with “bak” in the name, or a full date and time, that is zipped.

If you find them, you could reconnect Scrivener to the folder in its new location, by going to Scrivener ▸ Preferences... in the main menu bar, clicking on the Backup tab, and then within that pane, the button to set the backup folder. It has probably at this point fallen back to using the default, which will be somewhere in your Library folder.

Does this possibly mean that Scrivener is NOT saving every two seconds as it normally does?

Saving has nothing to do with backing up, so no. Saving is what you do in programs normally, backing up is when you take a copy of that file and put it some place else so that it doesn’t get edited. Backing up regularly means storing a series of copies of that file so that you can go back in time, in a sense, and pluck a copy of what the file looked like back then and restore it. Scrivener handles most of the manual labour involved in that process for you, to the extent that you only need to close your project in order for it to be backed up into a series somewhere else (by default).

Saving, remains saving, always overwriting the one spot where you saved last.

Thanks, Amber. I’m still a little confused about this topic so I’d like to send you a couple of screenshots that might make my questions/descriptions easier for both of us. However, I don’t see any instructions on how I can attach the screenshots to my post. Can you help me out? Thanks for your patience!

Before you start typing in a response, there is a little hint text in the typing area for basic formatting like that.

Thanks, Amber! The top attachment shows my backups for “Antonina” in Dropbox. As you can see there are six or seven very old backups that contain “bak” in their names, and also several with other names. Don’t ask me how that happened! But I know that my original automatic backups used to go into Dropbox.

The other attachment is obviously my original settings in Scrivener. Can you tell me again in the simplest “non-tech” language what I need to do to get things back on the proper track?

And also: why is it that the old backups do not have a date stamp?

Thank you so much for your patience with me!

The 2nd image shows that you are saving to a Dropbox folder. In the first image, we can’t see whether it’s a dropbox folder or not. As you can also see in the 2nd image, putting dates in the name is an OPTION, which you must have had unchecked when the older backups were made.

I am not sure what you mean by only wanting answers in “non-technical” language. It does not seem possible to me to talk about what you should change without speaking of the objects directly and materially.

The best I can do is: looking at your settings, you’re storing all of your backups on the floor of your office. Maybe you’d rather put them into a filing cabinet? And while you’re at it, it looks like you used to use a pen to number your papers in the top right corner, but now you use dates. It’s up to you how the pen makes markings of course, and nobody could ever say there is one right or wrong way. One could even say it is preferential.

I am sorry if my comments have been confusing. By “non-tech” I only meant to keep instructions on a very simple level. But I’m afraid I don’t understand what you meant by your second paragraph comments regarding storing documents on the floor and using a pen?

To restate the issue: What do I need to click on, or enter, into the Scrivener Backup pane to have Scrivener send my backups to Dropbox as it used to do, and using the name: Antonina.bak.zip ? Or should I choose a different name?

By the way, when I click on “Choose” in the lower right corner of the Backup pane I see that those backups are going to one of my backup flash drives— but everything is greyed out. ??

Again, I apologize for being dense, and thank you for your patience.

To restate the issue: What do I need to click on, or enter, into the Scrivener Backup pane to have Scrivener send my backups to Dropbox as it used to do, and using the name: Antonina.bak.zip ? Or should I choose a different name?

From the screenshot you posted, they are already going to Dropbox—though now that I think about it, on newer Macs I don’t think the /Users/name/Dropbox folder even exists any more and it is now buried in a hidden folder. I don’t use it, so I can’t say for sure, but I think you need to access it from the sidebar now.

As for not having dates, there is an option that states, Use date in backup file names. Set that however you prefer.

As for putting everything on the floor, I meant normally you’d want something like “Dropbox/Scrivener backups” for your folder path, rather than the top level Dropbox folder—I guess unless that is all you use it for.

FYI, Dropbox did change locations of their files. Some details of the change, this document written in “future tense” at Expected changes with Dropbox for macOS - Dropbox Help

Bottom line is that Dropbox now stores in *~/Library/CloudStorage

Making a short cut is also possible, see How to find the Dropbox folder on a computer - Dropbox Help

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Dropbox hasn’t moved on any of my Macs. I wonder if it ever will.

drmajorbob: (In response to your two posts, and also rms) I don’t know if I need to be concerned about whether Dropbox has moved right now. I’ve been trying to learn why files are NOT being directed to Dropbox. In your first post here, bob, you wrote, “The 2nd image shows that you are saving to a Dropbox folder.” (referring to the screenshot image of my Backup folder) So again, that’s not happening, at least not automatically, even though the Backup pane shows shows /Users/bertehling/Dropbox. Since that’s the case I’ve been backing up to Dropbox (and other backup locations manually).

You don’t say what version of MacOS you have and whether you have the latest version of Dropbox. MacOS 13 with Dropbox latest version puts Dropbox in ~/Library/Cloud Storage/ as @rms pointed out and that is the folder that sync’s with the Dropbox server(s). Your screenshot shows that you are sending back ups to /Users/bertehling/Dropbox, i.e. a folder in the root folder in your user account. So, if you are up-to-date on Dropbox version, that folder will not be sync’ing to the server. In current versions, Dropbox should appear under “Locations” in the sidebar of finder windows:

Screenshot 2023-03-27 at 22.39.48

Hope that helps.



Mark … Thanks for your post. I’m afraid I’ve opened up a large can of worms with my problems and questions.

I am still running Mac OS 10.13 and Scrivener 2.7. And the reason for that, frankly, is that I’m an old codger who is fearful of the changes I will encounter in the latest versions of Scrivener. AND I was told by Lit&Lat Support that “Scrivener 2.7 is not compatible with any version of Mac OS newer than El Capitan 10.11.”

Hence the problem. I remember reading somewhere that there is some kind of “guide” for making the transition from Scrivener 2 to 3, but I honestly don’t want another learning curve to rob me of my time. (I use only the very basic features of Scrivener so I don’t think I would benefit from any newer version)

What would be your advice? Is there anything inherently wrong with sticking with Mac OS High Sierra and with Scrivener 2.7? And with regard to the Dropbox problem can’t I just go on backing up to it manually?

If you are going to stick with Scrivener 2, I would very strongly recommend upgrading to the last version, 2.9. That’s for a variety of reasons, including operating system compatibility and also a change in our licensing provider.

I would also recommend identifying an automatic backup location that works. The problem with manual backups is that people forget to do them, which inevitably happens at the worst possible moment.

Your 1st screenshot doesn’t show all of what we need to say where your backups are supposed to be — only the last part of the path. But it is enough to make me wonder if stars in the name could be a problem, and “ANTONINA BACKUPS” definitely is not part of the pathname in your 2nd screenshot. That mismatch is visible and obvious.

ANTONINA BACKUPS was created 3 days ago, for whatever reason. It also has very old versions of the project in the same folder.
ANTONINA BACKUPS is also at the same level as the recent backups, so it’s not clear from the first screenshot if the containing folder is as per the location set in the second picture.

The backup pathname should be the SAME in both screenshots, not just “at the same level”. And they’re NOT at the same level, if the first one is Dropbox (which I can’t guess either way).

If ANTONINA (etc) is where you want to create backups going forward, click in the Backup dialog and enter that folder’s name as the backup location.