Opening Scrivener files on a different device

I use Scrivener on Mac OS and recently bought a new Macbook. I have Scrivener installed on both my old and new Macbooks, and I’m trying to figure out how to open my files on the new machine.

From the old machine, I’ve tried doing a “Save as” to save the files to a network drive, and then opening the files on the new machine. I’ve tried exporting them as V2 files to that same network drive. I’ve tried using Dropbox for both of the above instead of a local network drive. In all cases, I get this error on the new machine when I try to open the file:

"The project at “/Users/shawnsmith-work/Dropbox/writing/othermac/gofundmev2.scriv” seems to be of an older format, but no binder.scrivproj file could be found inside it. It may be missing or corrupt, possibly because of a problem with the device on which it is stored, or because of a synchronisation problem.

Try ctrl-clicking on the project in the Finder and selecting “Show Package Contents”, then look for a file entitled ‘binder.scrivproj’. Ensure it has not been renamed by a backup routine. If it does not exist, try restoring from a backup."

What can I do to open these projects on my new machine?

Normally that is something you’d do through a cloud service like DropBox, using the sync functions of Scrivener. (Like it seems you did.)

But if this is a one time transfer for you (from your old computer to the new and that’s it – meaning that you don’t intend to back and forth your project(s) between computers), you can simply use a thumb drive and transfer the project’s folder, then open the said project manually via File / Open the first time ; after which it’ll be in the recent projects list.

As for the technical error message you encountered and the problem it pertains to, that I can’t really help, other than to tell you that it is the whole project that needs to be in the sync folder, not just the .scrivx file. (Windows user – sorry.)

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Using the File → Backup → Backup To command and checking the box to create a ZIP backup will ensure that all the component parts of the project stay together. It shouldn’t be necessary with a direct transfer using a network drive, but the error message you’re seeing clearly indicates that some of the component files are missing.

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Thanks. I will try that. It seems odd though that I can open the files without issues on the old Macbook. Same file, same version of Scrivener.

Thanks. How would the project folder be different on a thumb drive vs in Dropbox or a network drive, where it’s currently located?

It wouldn’t. (Or technically shouldn’t.) It is just an alternative, since what you are doing at the moment doesn’t work.
If the problem is with sync, it should work.
But I suggested it for if you only need to transfer your project once.

A Scrivener project is a folder, with subfolders and potentially hundreds of component files. The error message you’re seeing indicates that some of those component files – in particular the master index file – have failed to transfer to the new machine.

What you’re doing should work, but clearly didn’t. So I’m suggesting an alternate route.

It seems not entirely unlikely that the new laptop has different settings that are making it not work there. A typical culprit these days is that the cloud drive or DB is set up to store its files only remotely(db defaults to this, icloud drive does it now too, etc.). Thus, it looks like the scriv project is sitting on the new laptop, but it isn’t — it is merely available on demand. Scrivener cannot operate on projects which are not wholly resident on your hard drive.