Project and All Files Disappeared


I read up on Dropbox on the forum yesterday. It seemed like the right thing to do to protect my Scrivener files so I dragged them onto it. However, I was horrified that that action had removed the whole project from my computer so I removed them from Dropbox and, I thought, reinstalled them on my computer. However, they aren’t there. They’re not on the memory stick where I do backups. They’re not in dropbox. They’ve completely disappeared. This has happened to all my projects, not just the one I was working on.

I’ve just discovered that the compile files are corrupted and chapters are moved around. Have come on one chapter that’s missing entirely.

Can someone please help?

Many thanks,

Dropbox works by monitoring a specific “Dropbox” folder on your computer. Files that you place in this folder (or in other folders inside the Dropbox folder) are still stored on your machine, but they’re also mirrored on a Dropbox server and then on any other machines you’ve linked with your Dropbox account.

So for the first part, when you say that dragging to Dropbox removed it from your computer, I’m not quite sure what you mean or how you determined this. Dragging the .scriv project folder should have just moved it to that new location on your machine, which means you might not be able to access it any more via shortcuts like the “Recent Projects” list in Scrivener, but it’s still local there on your drive. Consequently, if you could provide some additional details on what exactly you did here and the results (and how you saw those results), that might help figure out what happened and how to fix it. Did you make sure the projects weren’t open in Scrivener before moving them? Did you drag the entire .scriv folder or just the “project” .scrivx file (with the yellow icon)?

Following that, I’m also not quite sure what you mean by reinstalling the projects on your computer. Projects aren’t “installed”; they’re just folders of files. Were you restoring them from a backup somewhere? You mentioned that you make backups to a memory stick. Are these manual backups? If so, you probably also have some automatic backups created by Scrivener, likely in your AppData foder (or Application Data if you’re on XP); you can access these by going to the “Backup” tab of Tools > Options in Scrivener and clicking the “Open Backup Folder” button. Then you can copy the relevant zipped backups from there (likely just the most recent for each project) and right-click each of the zips and choose “Extract All” to extract a copy that you can use to replace the missing or corrupted ones. It would be good though to get to the bottom of what happened with the move to Dropbox, though, since that shouldn’t have been such a problematic procedure.


You always, always, always come through for me. I’m doing a mini-adhoc NaNo with 5 days to go and can’t tell you the sense of relief I have. I’m also doing a post for a blog, Mostly Mystery, that I share with 3 other writers. This week’s topic is “How Scrivener Saved My Life.” Needless to say, I have another very important, very relevant example to include. :smiley:

Many thanks again,

p.s. Afer I get through this deadline, I’ll try to reconstruct what happened with Dropbox.


Jane – No idea what happened, but I’m glad you’re back with your writing! Yes, if you have time after you’ve finished your novel, we can try to work through what happened and get the Dropbox setup working for you. As long as you’re at an ok place now, though, no rush! Good luck with your remaining word count! :slight_smile:

The absolute safest thing to do with dropbox & Scrivener is to go to Tools->Options->Backup and point the Backup Location to Dropbox (I’d create a Scrivener Backups folder in Dropbox first), and choose the “Compress automatic backups as zip files” option. Also check the “Backup on project close”, or any other options that will help you automatically trigger backups without thinking about it.

That way, you can avoid the pitfalls of keeping your “live” project on dropbox, while still taking advantage of the service for preserving your progress.

Robert, thanks for the tip about pointing Scrivener’s backup location to Dropbox. I’ve been hesitant to start using Dropbox, because I have my work organized in my own way and don’t plan to start keeping it all in a Dropbox folder. I could, of course, just copy things to a Dropbox folder; but if I’m going to do that, I might as well just copy them to a USB drive, external hard drive, or some other backup device. Letting Scrivener back up to Dropbox (and being sure it’s doing that regularly) looks like a plausible solution.

I used Dropbox once, and that was right before a hurricane. I’m slightly paranoid about my files, so I did a manual backup in scrivener, then moved that file to dropbox myself. Paranoid, but it works. :slight_smile:

Thanks MM and Robert. Will try this suggestion and if I still have a problem, will post again here.