most of my projects are lost!

I don’t know what happened. I had scrivener open with three project windows open on my laptop, but was doing something else on chrome. Suddenly the scrivener icon below flashed and the windows blipped closed. I don’t think I accidentally touched a button or anything. When I tried to open Scrivener again the projects were gone.

I shut down and restarted my laptop. Two of the projects showed up as “.scriv Recovered” files, and they look ok. I TAKE IT BACK–JUST LOOKED CLOSER AND MOST OF THE TEXT DOCUMENTS FOR MY NOVEL ARE BLANK!! NOW I’M REALLY PANICKING . . .
The third project doesn’t show up. Nor do the ten or so older projects that normally show up when I go to open a project. I have automatic backups for most of these on google docs so will be able to recover them, except for that third one which was a personal journal that I never set up with automatic backups. But I never set up backups for the short story I started either, which did show up as a recovered file.

The journal is important to me and I would like to recover it. And overall it’s disturbing that everything blipped away without me touching anything. I am not a very “technical” person so I would appreciate help in as simple of language as possible. I’d also like to know why this happened, and know that it won’t happen again.

Thank you, Angela N.

It will happen again. The way to make it happen is not to have backups. If you have backups, then it won’t happen.

Scrivener should be set to make a bunch of backups in case you computer screws up. Then you should backup both the backups and the originals at least once a day to another device like an external drive. Then another backup also every day or perhaps every few hours to the cloud.

Then, Windows will realize it won’t get anywhere by wiping out your data and will leave you alone.

so–I found my backed up projects buried in the “apps” folder on the computer, unzipped them, restored them onto scrivener, then shut everything down and restarted the computer. Started scrivener and–

No projects. Now they’re all gone. Of course they’re in zipped files in the backup folder but if every time I open scrivener it’s a blank slate . . .

maybe my copy of scrivener is corrupted ? could this happen from updating windows 10 (I put this off for months because it messes something up every time I do it but I kept getting warnings from windows to update)

Scrivener stores all your text as .rtf files, individually, one for each scene.

I suggest you unzip the backup and look at the individual files to see if there is any text there, that will show you whether or not Scrivener is reading it correctly.

I am having the same problem! I have not figured out if my work is gone forever or not. While searching the forum for answers, I found this helpful (moving forward).

If you’re concerned about data loss, please also check Scrivener’s Scrivener → Preferences → Backups pane to make sure the options match the way you work. For instance, a backup that only runs when you close the program won’t help much if you tend to leave Scrivener running for days at a time. I also strongly recommend using a Time Machine volume and a remote backup service such as BackBlaze. Please note that “cloud” services like Dropbox and iCloud are not in themselves sufficient to protect your data.

This is probably not a Scrivener issue. It sounds more like misguided cloud synchronization “helpfully” removing unused files. Please open a support ticket, though, as resolving this is likely to involve more back and forth than we can easily do through the forum.


I was able to get help from the scrivener staff this morning. Moving a backup file to my “documents” folder, unzipping it, and opening it from there seems to have resolved it for now–my project was still there after shutting down scrivener and opening it again. It still doesn’t explain why the thing happened in the first place. But the projects were all there, buried deeply in a windows folder, which I was able to find under the tools/options/backups menu. (thanks to this forum)

Most projects I have set up to back up and sync with google docs, but it’s a pain to find them and open them from there. I also occassionally compile a full manuscript and load it onto google docs to have it in another form. Maybe I will explore other options for backing up though.

Google Drive cannot be trusted with Scrivener projects. It is known to cause data corruption. You can safely use it with ZIP files, but please don’t use it for live projects.

Also, in general it’s important to differentiate between backup and synchronization services. Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive, and similar services are designed to facilitate working across multiple devices. Unfortunately, this means that an error on one device will propagate to all your other devices at internet speeds. They’re convenient, but you should also consider an external hard drive backup and/or a true offsite backup service like BackBlaze.