Project won't open (crashes) after Backup

Hi to any and all who might help me:

I backed up my computer with Time Machine this morning, and when I tried opening my (only) project, it told me that it had to sync search thingies and crashed. This project is due Thursday (that’s three days from now).

I read through some of the forums, and it looks like Time Machine has caused some problems for other people, but none of them seemed to have the same issue, exactly. Unless I missed it.

Please help!


How big is the project? If it’s not too big, you can zip it up and send it to me at support AT literatureandlatte DOT com (it’s nearly midnight here so I won’t be able to look at it until tomorrow though).
All the best,

Hi Keith,

Well, the project is about six gigs (lots of PDFs), so I don’t think I can send it (not from my gmail account, at least). Any other options?

Thanks for the help.

is there any output in Console when the crash occurs?

You’ll have to excuse my illiteracy: what do you mean by “console”? There is an error report that goes to Apple, if that’s what you mean. Would that be helpful to you guys?

By “guys” you mean Keith. He is the man behind scrivener. I am just a user.

Apple doesn’t share that crash report with KB. Sending it to them pretty much makes it vanish into the ether (which is funny for IT folks; it is a little play on words for us). Luckily Apple will let you view the crash report which you can paste into a post in this thread. This is a good idea as well. It might help KB identify the problem.

Console is an application that lets you see some extra information. Not knowing about it is good as that means that you have not needed to know about it. Luckily it is what we need to do is pretty simple

Start by closing scrivener. Launch console by going to Applications then into Utilities and look for the icon called “Console”. double click the icon. This will open a window with a lot of “stuff” in it. Click the “clear display” icon to give you an empty list. Now launch scrivener. Anything that shows up with “scrivener” in the “Sender” column is what KB will need. Past this information into a post in this thread as well.

Let me know if you need more help.

Thanks for the guidance, Jaysen.

I’ve attached a doc file with the crash report (It’s 58 pages long, so I figured it would be better as an attachment than in-line with the text). The console data will be forthcoming.
Scrivener Crash Report.doc (294 KB)

Couldn’t get the console to show anything–the program crashes immediately at startup, which doesn’t appear to leave a record in Console.



That’s a very strange crash report - it has a lot about your Airport base station and not much about Scrivener, unfortunately.

Okay, the first thing we need to do is ensure that the project itself is safe. Try this:

  1. Ctrl-click on the problematic .scriv file in the Finder and select “Show Package Contents”. This will open another window showing the files contained inside the .scriv package.
  2. Find a file entitled ui.xml among the files and open it in a plain text editor such as TextWrangler (TextEdit will do).
  3. Use Find to search for “closedSuccessfully”. You should find something like this:

This tells Scrivener that the project didn’t close properly last time for some reason, and this is why Scrivener tries to re-sync all of the search strings (indexes), to ensure that it will be able to search documents created or changed during the last session.

  1. Change the to :
  1. Save the ui.xml file.
  2. Relaunch Scrivener.

Now when Scrivener launches, its ui.xml file tells it that it was closed successfully the last time it was run, so it won’t try to rebuild all of the search indexes and will just open up straight away.

So now the question is, does it open?

If not, then there is a deeper problem with the project being corrupted and we need to take it from there.

If it does open, then it means that one of the files in the project is causing it to crash when Scrivener tries to rebuild the search indexes - which is particularly annoying because I thought I’d fixed that particular bug in 1.54, but obviously not. We will then need to go through and work out which file is causing the problem, so let me know.

Obviously, given your deadline, if this does get you up and running again you may wish to carry on and wait until after Thursday before we try to figure out which file is causing the problem. The project should work fine until then, with the caveat that any documents you added in the session before Scrivener crashed may not be found by its internal project search feature - we’ll need to work out the underlying problem to get that up and running again.

All the best,

That did it. So, is there a way to avoid this in the future?

Many gushing thanks for saving my ass on this one–I’ll buy you a beer next time I’m in the Isles.

Glad that got you back up and running. There’s no real way to avoid it (your end, that is) because a document is causing the sync to fail on re-open, and Scrivener needs to re-sync for the search to work. Scrivener 2.0 is much more sensible about this, though - it only rebuilds the search indexes for files that have changed (whereas Scrivener 1.x rebuilds the indexes for everything), and it should catch any errors and deal with them. I’ve done a lot of work on improving this for 2.0, because - as you can tell by support posts in the forum - it’s a common problem.

In the short-term, though, you can avoid it by figuring out which document is causing the problem. The trouble is, if your file is gigabytes in length, you presumably have a lot of files in there, any one or more of which could be causing the problem. Usually it’s caused by a PDF file, although equally it could be caused by using too much memory (although Scrivener should only use what it needs for each cycle, so that shouldn’t be a problem). If you send me an e-mail when you have more time after your deadline, we can run through some tests to try to find the offending document (which would be useful for me too).

Thanks and all the best,