Project lost after using CCleaner

I ran CCleaner yesterday and when I tried to Open Scrivener, it couldn’t find my current project. I found the backup files but although they show the folder and text icons in the binder but there is no text.


I have the actual project text saved as a Word document, but unfortunately didn’t save my notes or index cards. Earlier versions from about a fortnight before are OK, but nothing more recent than that. I’ve run a file recover programme but the files recovered are the same. Is there any way I can recover the lost information?


The best I can suggest is doing a roll back with your Windows Recovery. From what I remember when I used to use CCleaner, it formed a recovery point before it did anything to your system. But, then again, Windows Recovery isn’t supposed to mess with files (only programs and Windows operations, I think), so I’m unsure if that’s a viable fix.

In the future, I’d suggest saving your work to Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive so that when you clean your computer, it doesn’t mess with your book files. I use Dropbox, and it works seamlessly for me.

Another option is to download Recuva and see if you can recover the file since it’s a recent deletion. That part of your harddrive may not have been overridden yet.

Thanks for replying Aryadna. I had what I absolutely needed saved on One Drive but I’d have liked to get the notes back. I’ve tried Recuva with no success. I can try doing recovery but as you say it’s not supposed to affect files, so I’ve no great hope.

When you tried to open your back-up, did you unzip it first?


Yes I did, but thanks for the suggestion Mark.

My only other suggestion would be to contact CCleaner and see if they have any suggestions on how to restore files lost while using their program. This sounds like something that may have happened to others with their software. They may (or may not, but worth a try) have suggestions. At the very least, let them know that the program is deleting important files it should have ignored completely. That’s a very bad thing for a computer cleaner to be doing.

I’ll do that Aryadna although I blame myself for not checking properly what CCleaner was removing. I just use the default settings. I’m just glad I’m not missing anything important.


I’m retired. I used to do PC/network admin and tech support back in the Windows XP and 7 days. I used CCleaner back then, but only as a last resort cleaning tool on problematic machines that had gotten crudded up or corrupted, but not as a routinely/frequently run cleaning tool on functional machines. I would have have been skeptical of running it on a routine/scheduled basis. Now days, with the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft outright states that such products are unnecessary and recommends against their use. Some agree, some disagree. Do an Internet search on “CCleaner Windows 10” to get a flavor of folks thinking and experience. Based on the discussions this turns up, I wouldn’t rule out that CCleaner might have messed with Scrivener, though I am skeptical. I come away with the sense that I would still reserve CCleaner use for only worst case last resort situations, rather than routine/frequent use. Doesn’t make me right, but that’s what my experienced intuition tells me. I had thought I might run CCleaner just for the heck of it, to see what happened with Scrivener, but chickened out… I don’t need the suspense and grief. If CCleaner did cause the problem, that’s not L&L/Scrivener’s fault or problem, though I’m sure they’ll still try to assist you. They are good people. You might email them directly as discussed here

It might be useful to know if you had been running CCleaner regularly on a routine basis before or as a one time thing because of a particular issue that popped up before you ran CCleaner.


A Scrivener project is not a single physical file (like a Word .DOC or .DOCX file), but rather it is a folder (name ends in .scriv) that contains an index (name ends in .SCRIVX), multiple subfolders and numerous files. One manually opens a project into Scrivener by navigating to and selecting the .SCRIVX index file (Scrivener then opens the other material and presents it within Scrivener as though it is one thing). Projects can be saved/compressed as single physical .ZIP files, but such must be decompressed/unzipped back into .SCRIV folder form before they can be opened again in Scrivener. (This is all true on Mac OSX also, though OSX hides the fact and presents project folders as though they are single things.)

Common locations where Scrivener projects reside and can be found:

  • Wherever one creates projects. Commonly the desktop, or user’s Documents folder, or some other user specified location (including possibly a local folder that has been designated a DropBox folder that is to be routinely backed up to the DropBox cloud sync service).
  • Scrivener’s backup location. By default this is
    but the user can change this to point elsewhere.
  • Wherever else one opts to save or copy projects to.

Even if CCleaner wiped Scrivener’s list of recently opened files, I can’t imagine why it would have touched the above locations. I would certainly carefully preview what CCleaner proposes to touch before turning it loose.


You mention saving on the OneDrive cloud sync service. Hopefully that was only in compressed/zipped format, because using OneDrive with live Scrivener projects (i.e. the live .SCRIV folder system consisting of numerous subfolders and files) is known to be problematic and unreliable. DropBox is the only cloud sync service that L&L recommends and formally supports.
See the knowledgebase articles under Cloud Syncing here

I hope this is of some assistance and more help than grief.

Good luck.

Thanks for your detailed post Springfield. I have never run CCleaner on a regular basis and this is the first time I’ve used it since I installed Windows 10. I can’t remember why I thought it was necessary this time. I won’t be using it again if I can avoid it. I blamed it because Scrivener was fine until I used CCleaner and then the first time I opened after that the project was lost. I have seen other people saying that l & l are very helpful, but this problem is only a bit irritating and I’m just going to learn from it and move on, being more careful in future.

Thanks again.