Newbie needs help

Hi. I just started using scrivener about 2 weeks ago so any help will be greatly appreciated. I was working in the program yesterday when it suddenly shut down totally without me telling it to. I didn’t think much of it and clicked on the scrivener icon on my desktop (what I usually use) to open it back up. When it re-opened it had a version of my project from 11-6-14 open instead of the version I had just been working on (11-11-14). I tried to open my current version but the program seemed to think that was the most up to date file. I looked and could not find a backup. Thankfully my husband knows computers a lot better than I do and he found the backup from 11-11-14. I reopened it and re-saved the 11-11-14 version and emailed myself a copy of it (zipped folders). I was then able to load scrivener on my husbands computer and open the file so the information is safe at least. It did seem to take longer to backup than it had previously but everything seems to work. However when i try to work on my laptop(Where i had been working originally) with the saved file scrivener seems to be having problems. It’s suddenly getting completely stuck when it tries to save/backup. I havn’t changed much/ written any more other than a few paragraphs because now I am scared I can’t save. Do i need to uninstall scrivener on my computer? Did the files somehow get corrupted? I’m confused and do not want to make it any worse than it already is. Again, any help appreciated.

** added… and now about 2 hours later several files that had about 1000 words apiece are suddenly blank. again i have a version of this saved elsewhere but I am getting very nervous about this happening again in the future

I’m sorry you’re running into trouble! Where is the project saved on the machine–are you using any kind of sync or “cloud” service like OneDrive or Dropbox? Or do you have any programs that are continually monitoring your hard drive, a backup service for instance (e.g. Carbonite)? Something like that could affect how the document saves and loads in the project. Are the suddenly blank documents new files that you’ve been working on or older documents that aren’t loading when you click on them? Cause aside, if they’re older you can likely restore them from a project backup, and we can walk through that process if needed. Is it just a few files missing and others loading correctly? One possibility is that in transferring the project, not all the files within the .scriv folder were copied correctly. The binder file essentially is a list of pointers to the RTF documents and other imported files within the project folder, so if they failed to copy or if they were moved out of the project (or the project.scrivx file were moved out of the .scriv folder), the binder item wouldn’t load.

The backup problem sounds like something in the project is preventing the zip process. Did you import anything recently just prior to the problem starting, like a PDF or webpage? If the issue is a problem file, we should be able to track it down and remove it from the project to correct it.

Note too that “save” and “backup” are two separate functions. Auto-save runs every two seconds of inactivity by default, overwriting the document in place the same as using Save in Word overwrites the open file. Backups are a separate complete copy of the project. Scrivener automatically backups your project each time it is closed and saves the five most recent by default, but you can change these settings in the Backup tab of Tools > Options. If you haven’t already adjusted them to your preferences, I recommend you take a look to make sure they’re set in a way suited to your work style.

When you talk about opening different versions of your project, do you mean that when the project reopened after the crash, it appeared as though you’d lost a few days work, or do you actually keep multiple copies of your project, in different stages? If you’re using “Save As” to regularly create a new copy of the project as a way of keeping backups, I’d suggest instead using the manual File > Back Up > Back Up To… This lets you choose the location for the backup and to name it, so it’s good for milestone copies–deliberate backups, rather than the automatic ones that will eventually roll off and be replaced with newer ones. By using the backup feature rather than “Save As”, you avoid keeping a trail of open, active projects in different states; instead you have the one project, saved in its original location under its original name, and then backups stored entirely separately, ideally as zipped projects. The backups won’t appear in the “Recent Project” list, and especially when you zip them, it makes it much harder to accidentally open the wrong copy of the project. Even if that’s not what happened in this case (the crash could easily have corrupted the binder file, so that your most recent documents weren’t listed there, even if they were still saved in the project), it reduces confusion when you’re trying to restore your work.

I just started using Scrivener and am planning to root all my files in a OneDrive folder that syncs to an online backup every few minutes. Reading this exchange has given me a heads up on some things to watch out for. I am hoping I don’t run into any major problems of this sort. I think I am just going to use scrap files for the first couple of weeks until I get an idea of how Scrivener behaves in OneDrive. If it seems trouble-prone I may explore some different cloud-backup apps. I am not married to OneDrive or GoogleDrive… but I would like to have some means of keeping online backups in realtime, one that won’t interfere with Scrivener’s autosave function.

I may post questions in this thread if I run into any issues.

**Or if there is a thread where cloud apps are being discussed at length, please do share the link with me. **

Thank you!

Oh, I found this link which may have answered most of my questions: