Restore a project using Time Machine

This morning I attempted to restore a Scrivener project using Time Machine (10.6.1). I found what I was looking for but when the restoration process began I got an errors saying “The operation can’t be completed because you don’t have permission to access ‘file-name.scriv’”.


The project was then created but it wouldn’t open correctly.



The file names in the error messages don’t match because they came from multiple attempts.

Seems like I remember something like this being reported in the Mac news. I’ll report back what I find.


Couldn’t really find anything helpful on the Internet. Found a few reports of similar problems.

Repaired permission and tried again. Same issue.

Tried restoring a OmniOutliner file and it worked as expected

Hoping Keith can suggest something



Is you user set up as an “admin” user? … my_project

“Repair Permissions does not repair permissions on any third party software or any Apple software outside of the Base System” *

Yep, I’m an admin user

The file in question hasn’t been modified in a few months—pre 10.6. It is a “template” file that I normally duplicate and rename. This morning I unintentionally modified it. I was attempting to go back and get the version from yesterday. I assume that Time Machine would have made a copy of most recently closed and non-corrupted project.

Looking at the permissions of the package contents of the file I modified doesn’t show anything unexpected and nothing is locked. This file should be nearly identical to the problematic one.

Looking at my backup disk in Disk Utility, Verify and Repair Disk Permissions aren’t available.

Right now I’m attempting to Repair the backup Disk. It is taking a long time.


Disk repair completed. All OK


Tried another Scrivener project and it restored as expected.

Turned Time Machine off. Opened all my Scrivener projects, saved, and closed them. Quit Scrivener and ran Time Machine manually.

I should now have good backups ???


I ignore Time Machine. I stay with my good old reliable SuperDuper! that does what I tell it and when I tell it…

After waiting a few days, I thought I’d test Time Machine again.

Projects were saved, Scrivener quit, and Time Machine was run mannually.

Scrivener is NOT running.

Attempting to restore a different project. Get Info in Time Machine indicates that the Modified date and size matches the Finder. Project opens successfully from local drive. Almost immediately after clicking Restore button in Time Machine I get the “Scrivener warning” that I don’t have permission (see image in my initial post). Then the operation completes but with Zero project size.



Earlier this morning I zipped a project using Scrivner. When I tried to restore it to my Desktop folder I had to authenticate the zipped file.

Is there a permission problem lurking here?

Tried restoring an OmniOutliner file to the Desktop. No authentication required.



This does look like a permissions problem, yes - the very first message screenshot you posted in fact said “you do not have permission…”. Scrivener files aren’t really comparable to OmniOutliner files in that OO files are “flat”, whereas Scrivener files are packages - that is, they are essentially folders of files. Thus if you can, in Time Machine delve into the entire package (Ctrl-click on the .scriv file and select “Show Package Contents”) and check that you have the correct permissions on all the files inside. Or change them on the whole package.

I have to admit that I am flying blind here as I have never used Time Machine, so I’m hoping another TM user can steer you better.

All the best,

See below. But how does the Scrivener message pop up when Scrivener isn’t running?

I was merely trying to confirm that is was possible to Restore a non-Apple file using Time Machine.

I didn’t see that in the Contextual menu available in Time Machine.

Different groups.jpg

Most of the folders and files in my User folders have a “staff” group rather than a “wheel” group. This may be the source of the issue I’m seeing.

I tried dragging a “wheel” project to a USB “stick” and then back. Nothing unusual happened, but Time Machine seems to be different.


Permissions for a project created today using File > New Project

Permissions for an earlier created project. At one time “staff” was the group Scrivener used. I can restore these projects without incident.


To find out what would happen if I changed the group of a newly created project from “world” to “staff” I used FileXaminer. I confirmed the change of both the package and its contents using Finder Info. I’ll add a few new documents to see if the group change sticks or whether Scrivener changes them. Also I’ll test to see if I can restore it tomorrow. I’ll report back later.

I compressed a copy of this project and the zipped file’s permissions changed to “wheel.” I tested compressing jpg file and its permissions remained the same as the source file.


Right now I have File Sharing turned off. I’m going to turn it on and see if I can restore a “world” group project to my Public forlder.

That’s all for now


That’s not a Scrivener message - it is generated by the OS, or by Time Machine. The system is just using Scrivener’s file icon because that is the file you are trying to access - but Scrivener isn’t providing that message.

This is absolutely possible. What I’m not sure about is how Time Machine works with package files, which is what I was trying to say.

Sorry, no, I mean in the Finder. I assume you can access the contents of Time Machine in the Finder, or that these files have already been restored to the Finder? As I say, I have never used Time Machine and don’t have it set up, so I’m just guessing here.

Is “wheel” an account on your computer? And which account are you accessing Time Machine from? Are you accessing it from the “bobby” account or from another account?

All the best,


Open terminal and provide the output of the following

ls -ld ~
ls -ld ~/Documents
ls -la ~/Documents/Hero\'s\ journey.scriv

The path of the last one may need adjustment. If you need help with the escapes let me know.

In the User’s folder there is only me (bobembry) and Shared. I’m the administrator.

wheel is a group. Below is a screen shot from Super Get Info:

I’m accessing Time Machine from my account.

As reported earlier I tried dropping a project into my Public Folder > Drop box. Same problem with permissions.

Next I’m going to try restoring a “wheel” project into Shared.

Also I’m going to try changing permissions so that wheel & everybody (see earlier Info screen shots) has full read and write permissions.

I’m documenting this in case someone else has a similar problem

Still trying


id uid=501(bobembry) gid=20(staff) groups=20(staff),101(,204(_developer),100(_lpoperator),98(_lpadmin),81(_appserveradm),80(admin),79(_appserverusr),61(localaccounts),12(everyone),401( bob-embrys-macbook-pro:~ bobembry$ ls -ld ~ drwxr-xr-x@ 42 bobembry staff 1428 Oct 25 09:24 /Users/bobembry bob-embrys-macbook-pro:~ bobembry$ ls -ld ~/Documents drwx------+ 79 bobembry staff 2686 Oct 21 07:08 /Users/bobembry/Documents bob-embrys-macbook-pro:~ bobembry$ ls -la ~/Documents/Scrivener/Hero\'s\ journey.scriv

The Scrivener folder which contains Hero’s journey has a wheel group. I’m going to change that to “staff”



I think there was output missing on the listing for the scriv file.

It looks like the system does not actually think you are in the “wheel” group. An easier solution might be to go to the user panel and remove/add yourself to that group to ensure membership.

Hi Jaysen,

I’m pretty sure I copied everything the Terminal wrote.

What user panel?



sigh wrong OS.

easiest method is to edit the groups file. This is potentially dangerous but goes like this in terminal (after the vi command type exactly what I did and you should be ok)(ESC is the escape key):

cd /etc
cp groups groups.20091026
vi groups

If you are smart you will ignore all that and follow the instructions here … 1100044328

That will have you typing

dscl localhost
cd Local/Default/Groups
append wheel GroupMembership bobembry

Either way, logout to make the settings active on your account. Try your restore again.

Me being the nerd that I am, I have verified that if you are not in a group the OS tosses an error when you try to set the perms from an archive. not sure how this would look from the TM perspective, but I suspect that it is the group being “wheel” that is your problem.