Recover Unsaved File After Computer Crash

I was so immersed in my writing, I apparently had not saved my project in…oh…about the last two chapters. My computer crashed. It rebooted fine and when I reopened Scrivener, found last two chapters I had been working on were gone. Hoping there is an auto recover feature or temporary file that has my work in it. Any help would be appreciated if there is a way to recover the unsaved file?

Sorry to hear about your crash! There are a few things you can try:

  • Use the Windows search to look for unique words or phrases in the missing text, searching your whole drive. Depending what happened in the crash, you may still have a copy of the text within the project itself which is just not showing. If this is the case, the search should find the document or documents as a numbered RTF file, e.g. ProjectNames.scriv\Files\Docs\14.rtf. After verifying this is the missing document, you can move it out of the project folder, then open the project in Scrivener and re-import the document to add it back in. Be sure only to move the file when the project is closed in Scrivener and not to touch anything else in the folder.

  • If the text you lost was more than what you wrote since last opening the project, take a look for the automatic backups. With the default settings, Scrivener saves up to five backups of your project, created when the project is closed; it wouldn’t have your most recent work, but it might at least get you a bit back. You can access the backups folder via the button in the Backup tab of Tools > Options. I’d copy out all the backups for the project and put them in another location to keep them safe while you go through them to see if any are worth restoring, to prevent the older ones rolling off from opening and closing the project and its backups of the same name. (You can exclude projects from the backup routine using File > Back Up > Exclude from Automatic Backups, so if you’re just opening and closing backup projects to check them out, set that before closing.) If the backups are stored as zip archives, you’ll need to extract a copy of the project before you can open it in Scrivener. To do this, either right-click the zipped folder and choose “Extract All” or double-click the folder and then drag out the .scriv folder to another location. You can then open the project in Scrivener as normal.

  • On Vista and up, Windows has a file versioning system as part of its system backup, so you may be able to use that to restore a previous version of either the missing file or files from within the project folder or of the entire project folder. (I recommend making a backup of the project’s complete .scriv folder before restoring, just to be safe; simply right-click the folder and choose “Send to \ Compressed (zipped) folder”.) Microsoft’s support page on this for Win7 is here; you can easily search for the appropriate OS version there.

Since Scrivener automatically writes all changes to disk after just a few (by default 2) seconds of inactivity from you, it’s unlikely that both chapters are actually gone. Here’s a neat trick that may recover your data; create a couple of new files in the binder (one for each file & folder that’s now gone); you may find that these new files contain your words; essentially, Scrivener will create an entry in the binder and then link it up to a file that isn’t represented anywhere else in the project. the only thing you lose is the title and the position in the binder.

This is my recollection of what’s going on internally (as explained by Keith quite a long while ago): There’s a single file that keeps up with files in your binder, which might have been damaged in the crash. That file is backed up whenever you open Scrivener, so it probably reverted to the backup and just lost track of your chapter files.

You replied to a 5 year old thread…

How do you delete a post? I don’t see that option.

… and when realizing this he removed his post

Actually I deleted the post. Someone reported it as spam.

Moderators can remove any post; I don’t know if people without moderator powers can remove their own.


Yes, we can. Perhaps, when we are feeling insecure and powerless, we create posts and delete them, create and delete, create and delete, just to feel that there is some way we can affect the universe. Who would ever know? :laughing:

Still don’t see any way to delete a post here.