Password for zip Backup


I have 3 backups for a scrivener project, one on my NAS, one on my hard drive and one on an external drive but I’d be happier if I could have one on dropbox. However I do not want to put on the cloud if nothing is protected. A good option (well, for me of course, not for the developer) would be able to protect the backup zip with a password. Or maybe I have not thought of everything, or I missed something.


This is something I’ve looked at adding, but unfortunately it’s not really possible. The problem is that Scrivener just uses the standard command-line zip tool (the one you can run via the Terminal, that is part of OS X), but this doesn’t allow any way for calling applications to set a password. You can set a password when using the tool via the Terminal, but there’s no way for Scrivener to emulate that.

All the best,

If it’s any consolation, zip encryption has long been the equivalent of a No Trespassing sign; It’ll stop casual nosing about, but anyone who wants in just has to hop the fence. I’m considering SpiderOak as my cloud-based encrypted backups mirror. It encrypts, and THEN sends data to their servers.

I second SpiderOak. I use that for my primary offline backup. Your data is just a random blob when it leaves your computer, and that is the only way it is ever stored. If you must use an open server like Dropbox though, then consider using an encrypted DMG, which you can create using Disk Utility. You can use these like “vaults” for storing data in places that are not otherwise safe. What you want to do is, once you create the DMG, drop it into your startup items list. That way it will mount whenever you log in so it is always available.

I tried Spider Oak a while back, found it very flakey so gave up and went to DropBox.

How would you use this with DropBox? Would you store your local DropBox on the encrypted DMG or an encrypted DMG within DropBox so it was encrypted all the way back to DB?

Second option. The first will put unencrypted data in DB.


I take a look about the suggestion!


UD. Not a bad idea, encrypted dmg on drop box. thanks A lot. There is always a tricky somewhere!

Thanks Jaysen - I thought that might be the case.

This can be applied to Windows/Linux as well with TrueCrypt. 8)

However, if you drop your encrypted container into Dropbox I’m not sure if only the changed “sectors” will be synced, but the whole file every time, even if you change a couple of words in your project. AFAIK Dropbox does indeed use an rsync-like algorithm, but I’ve never verified it myself.

From the dropbox website:

However, with an encrypted volume, I suspect that a larger chunk of the volume will change when you write new data over old, even if it’s a very small file being changed or added. I’ve never studied the practical side of encryption, so I’m not sure if these virtual volumes encrypt at the block level or a larger scale.

For really sensitive data I use TrueCrypt volumes locally and backed up to a ReadyNAS+ I have at my office via rsync. I’ve found that TrueCrypt does a pretty good job at changing just what it needs to change, so this setup is very bandwidth friendly.

I’m glad Dropbox works that way too!


Hi Keith, I was having the same question… in 2023. I’m assuming it’s still not possible, for the same reasons as a decade ago. Then again… might be worth checking for a minute or two? :slight_smile:

This recently discussed. See:

I’m not Keith :laughing: but at the risk of repeating myself many times, I have used for my Scrivener projects for many years. My original reason was to find a service I could easily share with my collaborators in China, where DropBox is blocked.

However: (a) in spite of the fact that the people at have told enquirers that it’s not suitable for complex projects like Scrivener, we have had very few conflicts and those almost certainly due to pilot error, i.e. being too hasty in shutting down/opening; (b) I used to be under the impression that it was slightly slower than DropBox, but a recent update has speeded it up considerably; (c) Sync allows you 5GB free space, not 2GB; (d) although this was not part of my reasoning, Sync, like SpiderOak (see above)§ encrypts locally and uploads the encrypted version to the server.


§ For a while, way back, when I was in China and DropBox was first blocked, I used SpiderOak but kept running out of space because it didn’t (at that time, at least) purge old versions… you had to do it yourself, and I kept forgetting. In fact, I moved on to the late-lamented Cubby and forgot to clear all the files out of my SpiderOak account. When I thought to try it again on the demise of Cubby, I was using a new machine, so, although my account was still accessible, there was hardly any available space and I couldn’t clear anything out because the new machine didn’t have the necessary key.

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My advice, which I use myself, is to use a stand-alone, portable encryption tool like VeraCrypt and create a “container” (folder, file system in a file) of 1-2 gigabytes, and store your work and backups in that container.

VeraCrypt comes with a fairly easy-to-use GUI for on all supported platforms.

I always keep ALL of my personal files in a two gigabyte VeraCrypt folder, which I store in my Dropbox folder. I’ve never ever had any issues with Dropbox, using it this way. Because VeraCrypt creates an entire “virtual” file system in the stand-alone file so Dropbox doesn’t even know the names of the files that you are storing in Dropbox this way. I recommend using NTFS as the file system (selectable when creating the TrueCrypt container), as this format is accessible on Windows and Linux, and maybe also on Apple (I don’t own any Macs so I can’t tell).

Please feel free to ask if you have questions about this solution. It works for all files, not just Scrivener. The process is as follows:

  1. Boot your PC.
  2. Open the VeraCrypt GUI.
  3. Mount/open your VeraCrypt folder an assign it a drive letter (the same every time is by far the easiest).
  4. Open Scrivener, work with your project (which you should probably also store in the VeraCrypt “disk”).
  5. Close Scrivener.
  6. Unmount/close the VeraCrypt folder (from within the VeraCrypt GUI).

The syncronization with Dropbox will ONLY happen when you dismount/close your VeraCrypt container, so the changes won’t be saved in the cloud until you dismount the VeraCrypt folder.

My experience, having used this solution for about 15 years, is that it works flawlessly.

Alternatively, you can use a tool like AESCrypt, which comes as a GUI tool too, to manually encrypt your backups prior to copying them to your Dropbox folder, but to me this is way too much hassle and it is also error-prone because you’ll probably end up forgetting making copies this way.

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Out of the box, without installing third-party tools, read access at best. Pre Ventura (13.x) there used to be experimental write access, at least for the daredevils among us, but it seems Apple finally gave up. Which is probably for the better.

Thanks for your clarification!

A bit strange as the Linux NTFS driver (ntfs3g, I think it is called) works very well, in read/write mode, albeit a perhaps bit slow. But not something that you notice in daily use. And I regularly mirror a 4 TB SSD from Windows to a Linux server that is set up with an encrypted NTFS drive and Samba to share it on the network.

If you are only going to use the VeraCrypt container with Macs, I guess you can create an APFS file system using the VeraCrypt GUI. You should be able to use all APFS features such as deduplication, etc.

I don’t recommend the use of FAT variants, though, as they are very primitive and don’t handle system and software crashes well.