People's Issues with One Drive and scrivener backup

I currently backup on Dropbox and because have many copies of projects files are quite large and exceed 2 gig limit for free plan. Next plan up is 2 terabytes at 120 a year. Seem to be wasting space. How have people done with zipped scrivener project backups on One Drive (100 gigs for 20 dollars a year)?
Please give feedback.

I do not put any backups, including Scrivener’s ZIP backup into a cloud sync folder because, well, they sync. If the files get corrupted/deleted-accidently-or-on-purpose/whatever, that flaw is automatically replicated to other devices, and “poof” backup gone. Also, as you found, they consume scarce space on the cloud service to no real purpose if their purpose is replication and availability.

I have a ~/backups/scrivener folder on the desktop and all the backups go there. I rely on my backup regime of TimeMachine and Carbon Copy Cloner to backup to connected USB drives (and to a local NAS). And, belt-and-suspenders, I use Backblaze to create remote copies.

My bottom line is to NOT rely on Cloud Sync services for backup (despite their marketing).


As far as storing zip files goes, that’s a non-factor in my opinion. Perhaps what you are thinking of is those loading and working on Scrivener projects in an area that is actively synced two-way by one of these services. That is a slightly more complex equation than simply uploading a .zip file once or twice a day and having it sit there for years.

Since it sounds like you mainly use this for backup, I second everything @rms had to say above. I’d give some thought to using an actual backup service rather than using sync orientated stuff as a surrogate. It’s really not that good for backups, being capable of modifying your computer remotely like that. Backblaze has a good reputation and a feature set tuned to keeping your worked backed up rather than syncing it between systems.

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I am the only one using the files and shift between two locations, one with a desktop with carbonite backup for files and the other a labtop. I like to keep working at the second location and dropbox works fine for that but the number of projects and the number of backups (25) is using a lot of space forcing me to use the pricy 2 terabyte dropbox option plan.
If for this simple purpose and me as the sole user. If I use zipfiles to minimize risk of sync corruption would Microsoft one drive with 100 gig option for 20 dollars a year be relatively (ie no guarentees) safe using zip files as the data storage form???

Are we talking about the

  • Zip backups that Scrivener can be configured to make for you? If yes then i do not understand how you being a sole user is relevant. I can only suggest you re-read what I already said. if you must put backups on a cloud service they all will probably work equally well until they don’t.


  • the project sync location? If yes, I can only say that Dropbox is recommended by Literature & Latte for very good reasons.

I second rms’s motion to store your zipped backups off the cloud (including DropBox) and instead keep them in multiple redundant backups using the tools he suggested. I only use TimeMachine, but I use four implementations and rotate weekly. So I have at least four different backups that go back for more than two years (that will depend on the size of your external drive). That works for me. But you could try his approach as an extra measure of security and safety for your mission critical files. It may seem like a lot of work or complexity (it really isn’t at least not with Apple’s built in TimeMachine) but you will thank yourself the day your system goes on the fritz (a day which will surely come when you least expect it) that you have multiple backups available on TimeMachine to get you quickly back up and running with just a few clicks.

I just realized that the OP is on Windows. So TimeMachine is not an option. One of the things I found frustrating about Windows back in 2008-9 was that after I had my catastrophic data loss that trying to do a system wide backup on Windows was byzantinely complex, time consuming, and in the end didn’t work. When I switched to macOS I was pleasantly surprized to find that system wide backing up with TimeMachine was child’s play, seemless and free as it was part of the OS. An added reason to love macOS.

Hopefully in the passing years Windows users also gained tools which are at least as good if not better than TimeMachine.

TimeMachine not only helps with lost data, it also corrects errant software. Example, If the software you depend on is not working properly today for an inexplicable reason, but was working last week. Then with macOS there is no need to reinstall the application if you have TimeMachine. Instead you scroll back in time to when you know the application behaved itself and you click and bring that version into the present and now the errant program works because it is now last week’s functional version.

I don’t know if you can do that easily with Windows these days. But it has been a standard feature with macOS since I started using it in 2009.

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I second the BackBlaze recommendation. True backup, not synchronization. Unlimited data for US$70/year.


@GoalieDad : If I use zipfiles to minimize risk of sync corruption would Microsoft one drive with 100 gig option for 20 dollars a year be relatively (ie no guarentees) safe using zip files as the data storage form???

Yes, and frankly we don’t have data that suggests OneDrive is risky to use for live syncing as well. There are no reports of “corruption” as you put, that would need to be mitigated.

I would of course advise against the “all eggs in one basket” problem. Either put your backups in sync, or your projects, but both is a bit precarious. Maybe use free Dropbox for one, and OneDrive for the other.

Just make sure you’re actually storing everything. I think that’s the most important modern advice. I think Microsoft’s defaults with “smart sync” are sensible these days. But it’s worth double-checking it is off.

The cautions you’ve heard are not referring to backups. They refer to people using sync to keep live and active copies of their project up to date between machines. That is more where you need to worry about which to choose, as some can mess up this more complex operation. You don’t need anything special for .zip files, and any service messing that up wouldn’t be worth using for anything else either, at all.

To address the digression over whether it is safe to sync zip files and keep two local copies of them instead of one (plus the server version)…

There is nothing inherently unsafe with syncing your automatic backup folder.

I am not sure where that sentiment is coming from above, as frankly it is by far the safest way to transfer Scrivener data around between computers. The alternative, syncing live projects, is incredibly more fragile and prone to user error (as well as rare machine error).

It is the method described here, that we obviously officially endorse, and it is the method I have used myself almost since Dropbox became a thing and popularised this approach. As I said above, having a thing upload a .zip file and having it just sit there is almost impossible to mess up. If I see someone struggling to keep their synced project straight, with conflict after conflict messing with their workflow, it’s the method I advise they try instead. If someone wants to use iCloud, or OneDrive or Tresorit instead of Dropbox with iOS, it’s the method I recommend.

I think what might be going on here is that in the past people (myself included) have quite rightly urged caution with considering sync tools a backup, in and of themselves, with no other backup system in place.

So long as you are taking care to regularly back up your data, then go ahead, use the cloud to keep your Scrivener backups handy! Why not? You’re backed up. In the lightning strike statistical case of your OneDrive account getting nuked or whatever, it won’t matter, you restore it like you would restore your entire user folder in the much more likely event of a hardware failure (or cat related incident).

  • the project sync location? If yes, I can only say that Dropbox is recommended by Literature & Latte for very good reasons.

We recommend all kinds of sync services, not just Dropbox as seems to be the implication here. There is at the moment only one we don’t recommend at all. As noted above, OneDrive, in our experience, is not particularly risky.


Thank for your thorough and thoughtful reply

I keep active project folders on Dropbox. “Active” means active: I’m currently working on them. At this time that’s 7 projects, total size < 100 MB. I use Dropbox for this so I can sync with iOS Scriv. I use free DropBox.

I have a Microsoft 365 subscription to Office that includes OneDrive space, so all of my PC’s files and folders sync to OneDrive, including inactive Scrivener project folders and zipped backups.

I also take regular backups to an external hard drive, keep backups offsite, etc.

Do you really need all those copies (your word) of projects on DropBox?

I believe someone upthread mentioned not keeping Scrivener project folders and zipped backups on the same cloud service. I agree with this perspective. Why keep all your eggs in one basket if you don’t have to?

ETA1: On DropBox vs. Onedrive: I prefer DropBox. The app is always clear about what’s been synced and what hasn’t. It seems to sync almost immediately. That said, if for some reason I had to drop DropBox, I would trust OneDrive with syncing my Scrivener project folders. It seems to be good enough. As always, be careful about waiting for sync operations to complete, and make sure to back up regularly during writing sessions.

ETA2: Wanted to note that my experience is solely using OneDrive and Dropbox on Windows. These apps may not perform the same on Mac.



Thanks Jim, will switch due to cost but will be careful.

Could you please clarify this statement :innocent:

It’s never been shown to be not unrisky.

What Ioa said.

Also, it’s not (looking at you Google!) known to do inherently risky things like decide it knows better than we do what our files should be called.

Does it mean it is safe? I am assuming there must be legal reason for being nebulous.

@Orpheus As long as this knowledge base article (“There are many cloud-sync services available but one that works well with Scrivener is Dropbox.”) isn’t appendixed by “Oh, and the other one is…” – you know the answer.


The safety (or lack of it) of a synchronization service depends almost entirely on factors outside our control, and in particular on the user’s own adherence to our recommended best practices.

We are therefore not in a position to guarantee the safety of any such service. Users are advised to do their own due diligence, draw their own conclusions, and design their backup strategy in a way that recognizes the risks involved in all such services.

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As I just said above, most systems work well. I don’t know why there is a need to pull out a phrase from an article and read it in a very narrow light—that “one that works well” somehow means others do not—in direct contradiction to that.

Honestly we should probably just scrub any brand names from that article. It is all to easy for people to get the wrong idea and think it is an endorsement, or worse, that nothing else qualifies.

Sorry if I’m reading you wrong!

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I figured the triple negative would be indicative enough that I was joking, in response to your joke about the typo. As noted above, one single typo aside: OneDrive is fine, it works well. So does SpiderOak, and Sync, and Tresorit, and iCloud, and ownCloud and Resilio Sync…


I wasn’t joking, just seeking clarification.