Recover lost Scapple file?

My computer did some auto update, and the file i was working on disappeared. I don’t think i manually saved it. I know Scapple is supposed to autosave, but I don’t know if it did. Also, the selection for autosave is not even IN the options menu. How do I retrieve my file?

It’s under File > Options. You can turn auto-save on or off, or tweak the interval.


Is this is a Scapple file you worked on only once? That is, you started a new file, began adding stuff to it, and then, before you ever got a chance to name it or specify a folder in which to save it, your PC did its auto-update and closed everything. If that’s the case, it very well may be lost. (Scapple’s autosave doesn’t seem to kick in until the file has been named and saved somewhere.)

If this is a Scapple file that you’ve worked on over more than one session (you worked on the file, closed Scapple, then reopened Scapple and continued working on the file), that would indicate you named and saved it somewhere. It’s very possible it’s still somewhere on your hard drive.

In either case, here are ways to look for it:

  • From within Scapple, go to File > Recent
  • From Windows Start Menu, right click on the Scapple program icon and see if it’s on the list of recent files
  • From Windows Explorer, search your documents folders for *.scap
    Please note, when Windows crashes, sometimes it corrupts open files, making them unrecoverable–even when you (or the program) have been saving them right along. That may or may not apply to this case, but did want you to be aware of the possible scenario: you find the file, but it is corrupted and unusable.

Good luck with you search.


Thanks for your quick response. I think it’s lost. It was a new file that I hadn’t manually saved, and none of my searches find it.


Just to be thorough, I started a new file but didn’t save or name it. While it was open, I searched my hard drive for .scap files, hoping that I could find a temp file somewhere. I also tried looking for Untitled.

No dice. Wherever Scapple stores the working file, it’s not accessible or obvious.


yeah, I use UltraSearch Free to search my hard drives, as it is ten time faster than the interface in file manager/explorer. I couldn’t find any new files created in Scapple today, so I’m sure it’s gone. I just hope i can recreate it.
lesson learned, SAVE IT FIRST. I’ve been spoiled by Scrivener autosaving, no matter what.
Thank you for your efforts and help!

1 Like

The big difference is that Scrivener forces you to name and save the project before you write one word.

Scapple let’s you start a file without doing any of that, so yeah, you’ve got no recourse if things go south!

1 Like

I’m not familiar with the tool, but it might well have some sensible default settings that would exclude certain areas of the disk from discovery—typically for good reasons as there is rarely a reason to index, or trawl through, the mountains of garbage in cache and temp folders.

But in this case, your user temp folders are exactly what you want to look within. I believe you can get there by typing %TEMP% in the Explorer address bar. You should be able to find .scap files (they’ll have long encoded filenames to ensure uniqueness) in there. But if that doesn’t look right, if it looks like a global temp folder instead of a user-specific one, you might need to look up where it is.

That used to be the case, but we did add recovery to the big update last year, meaning that if the software unexpectedly quits for whatever reason, you should get all of your temporary boards restored automatically on the next launch. This is a recovery from a fatal error though, not a graceful shutdown where you answer “no” to the question of whether unsaved boards should now be saved.

It’s surprising to me that MS appears to be forcing programs to quit without them being able to prompt the user for unsaved work, though, for something as mundane and conducive to deferral as a system update. Perhaps there was an unusual sequence of events that lead to that happening.

Whatever the case, if recovery fails, you should still be able to find the .scap files in the temp folder, because those are just normal files it created and saved the moment you did anything to the window other than closing it, even with auto-save turned off.

@AmberV, thanks for your insight into the improvements to Scapple–good to know!

FYI, the Windows command is %TEMP%. Leaving off the ending % results in an error. :nerd_face:


1 Like

Thanks! I meant to type that second one in, but mustn’t have pressed the key hard enough. :slight_smile:

1 Like