Moving Projects to New Laptop - Open Existing Projects from Moved Back Up Folder or Moved Projects Folder?

I am in the process of moving my existing Scrivener 3 Projects from my Win 10 laptop to my new Win 11 laptop.

I have installed Scrivener 3 successfully, and have some questions.

  1. I have moved the following files to the Win 11 machine (a) the Back Ups folder (with Projects in .zip format), and (b) the folder which Scrivener was opening my Projects from.

Which one of these folders should I be opening my Projects from initially?
(I realize I have to extract the .zip files before opening the .scrivx Project files)

  1. I have saved the Options and Theme Options files from the Win 10 Scrivener 3, and have used the Load Options From File (under Files - Options - Manage) to move those to the Win 11 Scrivener 3
    Is this correct?

I had another question, but cannot remember what it was right now, so will post again when I remember.

Thanks for any help anyone can provide.

Hello gvdv. I recommend opening the projects from the folder that is this PC’s equivalent of the live-project folder on the old PC.

That is, if your old PC had all of your working projects in Documents/My Writings, which you copied to the new PC as Documents/My Writings Copy, use those.

We also have this Knowledge Base article with tips on installing to a new computer. It might either answer your forgotten question or help you recall it.

1 Like

Thanks very much, Ruth.

Will do.

You can only open projects, and zip backups are not projects (until you decompress them), so you’d generally open from the projects folder, not the backups folder – unless you run across a corrupted project.

Hence me saying in my original post, “(I realize I have to extract the .zip files…”

Okay, but why extract them if you already have the decompressed projects?

I was wondering whether I should decompress them from the zipped back up folder, or use them from the uncompressed folder they also get saved to.

Unless the projects are corrupted, decompressing backups will get you nothing but exactly what you already have in the projects folder.


That is what I thought, but I was uncertain about whether I was right, so decided to post here to see if people had recommendations about whether to go one route (extracting the backed up .zip files), or the other (opening the ‘regular’ Project files).

As it happened, it did take me several tries to get the uncompressed, regular files to open properly after copying and pasting them from my old laptop to my new one, so I am glad there are two potential ways to access one’s work.

Just to be clear, the uncompressed project is equal, in every way, to the project contained in its latest zip backup. One cannot be better than the other unless one of them is corrupted, and a zip file is (in practical terms) never corrupted unless it came from a corrupted file. The uncompressed project cannot be superior to the compressed version – but they’re virtually always identical. In the case that they’re identical, it’s hard to see how decompression would be anything but a needless extra step.

Thanks very much for this.

What you have said clarifies and reinforces the impression I had about the two different ways of treating the files.

And I had been confused about whether one method of file preservation was more advantageous than the other.

I suppose that a .zip file does, in theory, compress the overall size of the folder(s) containing the file, so that would justify that method of saving the files.

Interesting that the .zip file method is not the only form of saving files in Scrivener.

Thanks again.

If one is syncing Scrivener backups to a cloud service, then zipped project backups are superior to unzipped project backups, because one large (zipped) file is more likely to sync reliably than many (possibly thousands of) smaller files.

I know this use case isn’t the scenario under discussion, but it’s a scenario where zipped backups are clearly the better tool.


Hi Jim,
That makes a lot of sense.


I am nearing the end of my free trial, which I have been using on my husband’s laptop, since my laptop is too old to use Scrivener.

I have bought a new laptop specifically so that I can use Scrivener–it will be arriving in about a week.

I will keep Scrivener and all my files on my husband’s machine as a backup location (though I don’t plan to update anything onto his machine.)

My question is: what is the simplest, most painless way to make this transition without using the cloud/dropbox/etc. I do have a 1 TB external SSD I can use to transfer the files. But I am unclear on exactly where to find the right files/folders and how to save them to the external drive so that they will simply open up in Scrivener on my new laptop without any grief.

What I want is to download and install Scrivener to the new machine, then plug in the external SSD to the new machine, locate all of my Scrivener projects and have them load into the new download of Scrivener perfectly intact with all metadata, notes, etc, so that they will function exactly as they did on my husband’s laptop.

Maybe this is already simple and I’m over-explaining, but I have a real dread of ending up in the weeds with this, and I don’t have a lot of patience for those kinds of complications.

I am not going to be using any cloud services. I want to keep everything on my SSDs.

Please explain to me step by step exactly what to do? Many, many thanks.

Use file> back up to and manually backup each scrivener project as a zip backup. Can save to external drive.
Then unzip/ extract each backup and save in a scrivener backup folder on new labtop. Install software then open new project folder and then open the scrivx file for each project. You will need to reset backup locations as well.

1 Like

As noted above, we have a checklist that will help you get your settings, templates, backups and so forth all located, for easy transfer / backup with a drive.

As for your projects, well we can’t help with that too much since it is up to you to organise them and choose where to save them. You might want to use File Explorer to search for folders ending in “.scriv” though, as that is what a project folder will be named like, with that whole folder needing to be copied.

Thank you! Where exactly is the checklist you mention? I am not finding it.

Is it necessary to save the projects in zip files? Can’t I just save them unzipped?

To find the check list, click on “as noted above” to find the post with the link to the checklist.

I wouldn’t go through the trouble in most cases, if you are using local file sharing or physical disks to copy data. That is going to be so fast (especially with SSD) either way that it wouldn’t be worth the manual labour to zip and unzip everything. If you were using cloud, then yes definitely, that can shave off hours, depending on how many projects you have and how large they are.