Reinstalling Scrivener - and no texts are displayed


I think I need some help with this:

I have reset my windows 10 computer and then downloaded/installed Scrivener again - serialnumber and everything works and the program launches as expected - so far no problem.

Now, I can’t access any of my texts from the backup on the external harddrive. Only the filenames are visible in any of my projects. No text is displayed.

Can someone please tell me what to do?

All the best
Birgitte / Denmark

Hello Birgitte,

Opening a project and seeing only the binder structure without any content in the documents is usually a sign that you’ve separated the binder file from the rest of the project.

As you may or may not already be aware, a Scrivener project is not an individual file. It is a folder (one that has a “.scriv” extension) that has many sub-files and sub-folders. One of those sub-files has a yellow Scrivener icon. This is called the “binder file.” While many people believe this file is their project, it isn’t (not even close). It is just an index to the rest of the files that make up the project (most of the actual project files are inside of the “Files/Docs” sub-folders).

Because of this, it is critical that you treat the entire project folder a single unit – as though it were a file itself. So if you are copying the project, always copy (or move) the entire project folder, never the individual parts (such as the binder file).

When you copied the projects to the external drive, did you copy the entire project folder, or just the binder file? If you copied only the binder file, that’s very bad news: you’ve lost the content of the project, because you never did really back it up. But if you did copy the entire project folder, then you just need to make sure you are copying the entire folder back to the hard drive to restore the project.

If the backups are zipped, there is another possibility to consider: make sure that you are unzipping the ZIP file before trying to open the project. In Windows, double-clicking on a ZIP file doesn’t extract it. It “navigates” inside of it without unzipping it. Scrivener can’t use the files this way. They must be properly extracted. Right-click on the ZIP file and select “Extract All.” Also, if you are using “7-zip” to unzip the backups, there is a bug in 7-zip that can cause it to only extract the top layer of the files. So you end up with the binder file, but without any of the contents of the sub-folders where the actual content is stored. Try using a different unzipping utility.


Hello Jeff

Thank you so much for clarifying things. Something must have gone wrong in the backup/copyingprocess.
There is no text whatsoever, and I will have to start all over - happily I have hardcopies of most of my work!

Best wishes and thanks again!