PC lost power, all of today's work lost

Embarassing… I spent several hours today typing non-stop on updates to an existing text chapter. Then, my PC lost power & turned off. (Turns out that the power cord had come unplugged from the wall and the battery was draining all along.) When I powered back up and returned to my project, the text chapter I was working on was completely blank.

I snooped in the Windows Explorer, went to my .SCRIV project, then to FILES then to DOCS and sorted in timestamp order. I copied the two most recent .RTF files to my desktop and looked at the contents of my copies. The one with the most recent timestamp was completely blank. The other with the 2nd most recent timestamp was a good image of the last chapter I had worked on earlier today.

QUESTION: Is there any way to get back to the last time I did a File->Save?

I’m not an expert, so take this with a grain of salt…

Before you try anything, make sure you have safety backup copies of the project made and stored elsewhere (other drive, USB thumb drive, DropBox, CD/DVD, …).

In the Scrivener manual (Help > Scrivener Manual), see
7.8 Backing Up Your Work
for a discussion of how backups work and where they go.


You may find that a previous backup exists, which you can open in a second session of Scrivener and then retrieve the document via dragging it from one session’s binder to the other session’s binder. See 7.8.4, especially the “if you find you need to only restore pieces of a project” discussion near the end.


Make a copy (copy/paste) of the RTF file whose contents you want to get back into the Scrivener project. Make sure the copy is located somewhere other than in the Scrivener project folder.
Open the copy with something that can read RTF, presumably WordPad.
Select and copy the desired text (so that, behind the scenes, it is in the Windows clipboard).
In Scrivener, add/create a new text document for this text to go into, then paste (i.e. from the clipboard) into it. You can try Paste… and may or may not get useful or problematic formatting along with the basic text. Or can try Paste and Match Style version of paste.
If the above results in problematic formatting or characters, try adding an additional step… select/copy from WordPad, start and paste into NotePad (which should strip formatting), reselect and copy from NotePad, then paste into Scrivener via Paste or Paste and Match Style versions of paste.


You may want to increase the number of backup copies that Scrivener maintains for projects.

You may also want to look into using the Snapshots feature for maintaining multiple versions of selected text documents, within a given instance of a project.
See 15.6 Using Snapshots in the Scrivener manual.
My naive guess is that if you can created a few snapshots of the chapter, you would have been able to revert to latest snapshot of that particular chapter.

And of course make sure that you regularly backup projects, probably via File > Back Up > BackUp To, to other/external drives or locations.

Hope that helps.


In addition to use of Snapshots (see above), there’s another possibility for limiting the scope of this sort of loss… having chapters consist of a folder containing several text documents rather than consisting of just a single text document. That way, would presumably only lose a portion of a chapter, rather than the entire chapter. To view/edit the chapter as a whole, would select the folder in the binder and view/edit its documents via scrivenings (composite) view. Such multiple text documents per chapter could either be created when starting a chapter (from outline or for typical number of points in chapter arc structure) and/or by starting a first text document for the chapter, then splitting it periodically as it grows.

Did you find a way to fill your gone blank file again?
Just asking as the same happened to me today and so far I haven’t gotten any useful replies. Same as you said: Most recent .rtf file blank and the one before is from yesterday. All other chapters are fine - even stuff I had cut out and pasted to another one minutes before is there. Just the one I was writing on and had happily reached 2400+ words is wiped clean… :frowning:
Would appreciate an update from you - so either I just accept the loss as final or follow your recovery route if you found one. Thanks!

If you have Windows Backups enabled, after you’ve made a backup of the current copy of the project, see if you can restore an earlier copy of the project folder or of the Files\Docs folder or empty RTF file in particular. You may need to copy that back into the current copy of the project, but if it works you’d at least get some of your text back.

When the computer crashes, as you experienced with the hard shutdown, open files are at risk for corruption. Scrivener’s auto-save (which is the same as File > Save) usually will manage to preserve the project and recent text if the program crashes, but in this case the file itself that Scrivener was saving to was damaged in the system crash. You’ll need to restore from an earlier copy of the file, either from a backup of the project as SprinfieldMH suggested, or, if possible, from something like the Windows system backup which may have a more recent backup of the file. (If you’re working with a project that’s stored live in Dropbox, you could also try restoring an earlier version of the file from there.) Snapshots are also separate RTF files, so restoring text from them would also be a possibility.

In addition to SpringfieldMH’s suggestions, you may want to also set up the automatic backups to occur when you use File > Save, particularly if you leave your project open over long periods of time and thus don’t frequently trigger backups on open and close.