Please HELP!


Apparently I did not have the correct understanding of how and why to use Dropbox. I have Scrivener on my Mac and used Dropbox as the backup location for my projects. Please don’t laugh. :blush: I’m tech-challenged, to say the least… I did this thinking that if there were a fire or my Mac was stolen, I would still have access to my files. Argh.

Anyway, on Sunday I got onto my old Windows laptop to retrieve some unrelated files and was shocked to see many of my Scrivener files (as well as a host of others) on that computer. Since I’m not the only one who accesses that laptop, I didn’t want my files on it so I deleted them. No problem, I thought. I have a Time Machine. But the files were not on there, only on Dropbox. So I got onto my Mac the next day and all of my content in EVERY one of my Scrivener projects was gone. The skeletons were there, as in chapters with no text, etc. So the binder is in tact, but there’s no content.

I did some digging online to find a solution. I read a blog about how to see the files by changing the .scriv to .rtf. I did this and all I found are the notes and research stuff, not the actual chapters. I’m missing about 50,000 words. It took forever to view all of them and I’m starting to panic. Is there a solution that does not involve shedding my blood or hurtling myself off a cliff?

The first thing I would do is check Scrivener’s own automatic backup repository for recent copies of your projects. By default whenever you close a project, a mirror of it is created, and it stores up to five of the most recent of these. To get there, open your Preferences pane to the Backup tab, and then click on the button at the bottom to load the backup folder. I would recommend sorting by date, and for each project you wish to check, drag a copy of the backup to a temporary location, double-click on the file to unzip it and then load the project. Does this look recent? If so, close the project and then replace the broken version on Dropbox with this copy.

If that’s not working, perhaps you don’t close the software often enough or something, you did mention Time Machine. You said something puzzling, that the files weren’t there, they were on Dropbox, but that doesn’t make sense because Dropbox is on your disk, that is how it works. And if it is on your disk it should be backed up in Time Machine. I would load the folder where the projects should be in Finder, and then invoke Time Machine from there.

Thanks, Amber. I’ll try your suggestion.

Perhaps I looked in the wrong place on my Time Machine because I thought it was supposed to work that way. Maybe I’m so frustrated I’m not seeing it.

I’ll keep you posted.
TR Fischer


Thanks for the help!! I appreciate you taking the time to respond. My mind was muddled and you got me back on the right track.

I figured out how to restore a backup from Time Machine. What a relief! I’d lost the content of 3 books.

TR Fischer

Excellent news, glad to hear it!

Dear TR,

And I would suggest you not have Scriv place your backups into your Dropbox folder – at least until you are really, really clear how Dropbox operates and what the ins and outs of it are. (For one thing, if you are still having those scriv backups going there, all your new backups will be being copied also back onto that Windows machine again!)

fellow scriv user

Yay! Glad to hear you’re back on track.

For future reference, here are some thoughts on backup strategies. You already know about Time Machine, my top recommendation, but the other suggestions might be useful, too.