Moving from Windows to Mac...and back again?

Howdy! Despite this support page on cross-platform compatibility (, when I just tried to open a Mac Scrivener file here on my PC, I received the following error message: “The requested operation requires elevation.”

I have no idea what this means. :slight_smile:

Here are some specifics:
• Windows 10 on the PC / Big Sur on the MacBook Pro
• Using synced files via OneDrive. Yes, they are synced properly. I am the only person using all of these files and this entire OneDrive.

A sub-support page here mentions using the Compatibility tab on the Properties of the .exe file to tell the program to work with OneDrive… but that support page was written in 2015, and my Windows 10 does not show that checkbox option on the Compatibility tab.

If someone can walk me through whether or not one can open Scrivener files on my PC that have been used on a MacBook Pro most recently, that would be terrific. Thank you!

Do you have Scrivener 3 on the PC?


Hi! Somehow this hadn’t occurred to me. So I just installed the trial version of Scriv 3 for Windows… but when I tried opening a previous project, the binder elements are there but all the text inside each chapter is missing.

Another project seems to have opened intact, though.

I’ll be sure to make copies of each project as I open it. I don’t really want to lose data by opening the only copy of each project and finding it blank. Any clues on why this is happening?

(Having asked that, THANK YOU for asking about which version of Scrivener I was using. I should have checked that first!)


Are your projects all marked as “Always keep on this device” in Windows Explorer (and have the corresponding green circle check mark icon under Status, showing that they have all been fully synced?) Remember that OneDrive can do a mode where it syncs the metadata but not the actual files, and that’s likely to lead Scrivener to think project component documents are missing/empty because the underlying files can’t be read.

I use OneDrive and experimented with this a while back. What I did was to “Free Up Space” (removing files, leaving meta-data) for a project folder, then reopened it in Scrivener. OneDrive downloaded the files as required, loaded without issue. As long as there is an Internet connection, it seems to work seamlessly.

Doing it that way runs the risk of corrupting your project files. L&L’s advice with any syncing service is to make sure they are configured so that 100% of your project files are fully loaded to your hard drive.

Thanks for these updated suggestions. I’m on an urgent project deadline the next few days so I’ll have to check all these things/settings once I get the project done.

But I have a feeling you’re nailing the situation perfectly, so I have high hopes that I’ll have this sorted out later this week. I’ll report back once I do.

THANK YOU for taking time to offer such good suggestions.

… Until there isn’t, and it doesn’t.

That’s when people write panicked emails to Technical Support with subject lines like “Where did my novel go??”


It can actually happen even when you have a perfectly good Internet connection. Anything that causes OneDrive to not retrieve the file as quickly as it should can cause issues.

I’ll bear that in mind, though I’ve been living dangerously (and glitch free) for the past 18 months. I have backups anyway. Out of interest, if Scrivener’s file handling system is susceptible to file delay, what happens under high system load? I often use my machine for video transcoding.

High system load is different.

If the actual data is stored out on the internet somewhere, the file system stores a marker that essentially says “go download this.” From Scrivener’s point of view, the file opens as normal, but if the download isn’t fast enough, there just isn’t any content.

If the system load is high, the file system reports back to Scrivener, “still working, be patient.” Which is generally when you see the spinning wheel in Scrivener.

Usually, “smart” sync algorithms try to be smart about caching, so the files you access most often are probably stored locally. You’re more likely to run into a glitch if you suddenly need to open a project from last year or something like that.