Potentially Lost Everything

I’ve bee reading around the site and it seems a few people have had a similar issue but I can’t find a specific answer. I have a Scrivener file that I have been using for the last few years and it has no contents aside from the file names in the binder. Before the issue happened the file size was around 32mb it’s currently now 23.6mb however once I attempt to open it the file size drops into the KB. I can go into the folder itself and see that at least some of the text is still there by going to the “Quicklooks” folder there is an HTML file there that has some text but it only seems to have a small fraction of text from each file.

I need a large amount of help in getting this fixed. I also saw that there could be some issue with dropbox which is what I was using when all this started. What should I do next?

Go to Scrivener’s automatic backups, which you can find by going to Scrivener -> Preferences -> Backups, and opening the backup folder in Finder. Drag the entire contents of that folder to another location. That will keep Scrivener from potentially overwriting a good backup with a damaged copy of the project.

Yes, the most common cause of this error is incomplete synchronization: you have the master index file, but not the individual component files that actually contain your text. Was the project originally created on this device, or a different one? How does Dropbox fit into your workflow?


I’ll do that. The file isn’t currently on the original machine. It’s now on my Windows machine. However, I just updated to Scrivener 3 on my mac and it seems to have found a bunch of the files or documents from my old scrivener file and has dumped them all into one scrivener file.

I’d recommend searching on the original machine for both .scriv files and .zip files with the same name as your project.


You’ve posted in the Mac forum but now you mention a Windows PC. Did you move the project between machines, and if so, how?

A Scrivener project is a folder containing both files and sub-folders with files. On a Mac it looks like a file because Mac OS handles this as a “package”, i.e. making it look like a file to prevent the user from poking around inside it. If you move it to a Windows machine you need to make sure that the whole project folder is moved, preferably by saving it as a zip file on the Mac by choosing Backup to… in the File menu (I’m not sure exactly what the menu name is because I’m using my iPad right now).

Then you can move the zip file to another machine, unzip it and open it. However, Win Scriv 1.9 can’t open Mac Scriv version 3 projects. You need to save it as a Mac Scriv version 2 project to be able to open it on a PC.