New computer showing outdated versions of files

Hello! I have been using a MacBook Air since October 2020. I just bought an iMac. After setting up my desktop, I noticed that several of my “text” files inside Scrivener are outdated versions. At the end of every writing day, I export anything I worked on and email it to myself. The completed version in my email does not match the versions inside scrivener. Can anyone help me figure out how this happened, how to recover previous versions, and how to prevent this in the future? Thank you!

You opened an earlier version of the project. How did you get dates on individual files inside the project package?

What do you mean “versions inside Scrivener?” The Recent Projects menu? That’s not a reliable indicator of whether a project exists, especially on a new or recently updated system.

You can locate all projects on your computer by searching for .scriv files in Finder.

You can also locate Scrivener’s automatic backups by going to Scrivener → Preferences → Backups and opening the backup folder in Finder.

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“Versions inside Scrivener” meant that the exported document did not match the document that was written in the Scrivener program that I originally exported and emailed to myself. I just watched a YouTube video on setting up Scrivener to synch/save inside a Dropbox folder and now I’m getting the error message saying my file is stored in an incorrect location every time I open the project from inside Dropbox. Any suggestions on how to fix that?

@lunk I am not referring to dates on the files, I’m sorry for the confusion!

Thank you both for the reply!

Yikes, sound like that video may have been misleading. Were you intending to store your routine zipped backups in Dropbox, or your actual projects? The video may have been instructing you on how to do the former, but there was some confusion about how your backup storage area shouldn’t be where you also do your work. If you work on top of your backups, it’s no backup any more—and that’s precisely why the software warns you about this being an unsafe location to work from.

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I never received this error until I downloaded dropbox and tried opening the file from my desktop mac for the first time. I received it months ago on my laptop but was able to fix the problem right away. I can’t include a link to the video in this post, but her name is Karen Prince and the video is titled " Scrivener Tutorial | How Scrivener Works With Dropbox 2020"

I am simply trying to turn on my computer, click my most recent version of the document, write/edit, close, and repeat the next day.

I just created a version of the document on my laptop and saved it as a new name so I could tell the difference. I saved this version in dropbox. Opened it from my desktop and received the error message. When I clicked on the “show in folder” button, it took me to a version of the document that was saved on my Desktop NOT Dropbox. Is this the culprit here? Can you please help me get this saved in the right location? (I apologize for panicking. I just finished writing the novel last month and am now having these issues. Totally my fault though)

Okay, well here is what I would do:

  1. Go into your Backup settings in Scrivener’s preferences, and click the button to open your backup folder. This will open a Finder window. Close any projects you have open right now.
  2. In this Finder window you should see a number of zip files with a different icon that Scrivener projects. You will probably also see your project in that folder.
  3. Open another Finder window with ⌘N and navigate to where you would like to keep your working projects. Make a new folder if you want, put it in Dropbox, it doesn’t matter so long as it is a different place.
  4. Now go through the list and drag any Scrivener projects you see over to the new Finder window. At the end of the process, you should only see zip files in the backup folder window.
  5. At this point, open the project you want to work on with double-click. You should not get a warning.

Opened it from my desktop and received the error message. When I clicked on the “show in folder” button, it took me to a version of the document that was saved on my Desktop NOT Dropbox. Is this the culprit here?

Yeah that’s a little weird, but it might be a clue. How are you opening this project? If you double-click on a project in the Dropbox folder somewhere, it should never be loading something out of your Desktop folder.

If you were using something like the Recent Projects menu, then maybe there could be some confusion there. It may be best to actually clear that menu, and open your projects from Finder to repopulate it with the correct locations.

Overall, it might also be a good idea to run the command in the File menu that will find all projects in Spotlight. It sounds like there are different versions of things in different places, with different names, and it would probably be a good idea to go through those and get them all organised how you want, and make sure any old versions are either trashed or clearly marked as such by renaming them (while the project is closed).

Lastly, it kind of sounds like your automatic backup folder may be your Desktop. If that’s the case, I would consider moving it, and all of the zip files, to a safer location. You really want to keep those out of the way. Storing them on Dropbox is perfectly fine, if you want, but do consider the eggs-in-one-basket principle. If you put everything in Dropbox then one hack can ruin everything. Keeping your backups outside of Dropbox and your live projects in it, or vice versa, is a safer policy.

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Wow. That changed everything. Thank you!

This is exactly what I’ve been doing! I click the recent version every time. I’ll go through that today and organize it as you’ve suggested.

I moved everything to dropbox, leaving the zip files in the desktop folder. and now I’m not able to open the last file I created. It’s giving me a modification error.