Very happy to hear you’ve recovered your writing!
That is a very simple question to answer.
That is the root cause of your original problem, and also the answer to your question, which is: Make sure you take backups.
Here’s how to do that:
In Scrivener, go to Tools>Options>Backup, and set your configuration as follows:
Turn on automattic backups = yes
Back up on project close = yes
Back up with each manual save = yes (more about this one in a minute)
Back up before updating from mobile device = yes (if your are using iOS Scriv, otherwise no)
Compress as zip files = yes
Use date in name = yes
Retain backup files = 25. I think the default is 5. Changing it to 25 will take up more space on your hard drive, but it’s worth it.
Here’s why: What typically happens when you have an issue with a Scrivener project, for example if your project gets corrupted for some reason, you will open and close the project many times trying to figure out what’s wrong, and each time you do that you overlay a good backup with a corrupted bad one. By the time you realize you have to restore from backup, you may not have any good ones left! Unfortunately, we see that sort of thing all the time on these boards.
I have changed my own setting to “Keep all backup files”, as I’d rather manage the backups and clean them up myself. At the end of each day, I typically keep the last backup of that day’s work and delete the others. I recommend that you do that too, but you’ll need to clean up after them.
- Backup location = Wherever you like, just not in the same folder as where you store your projects.
One very common practice, which Lunk alluded to above, was to store your live Scrivener projects on DropBox (only DropBox, don’t use anything else), and your zipped backups on OneDrive, or Google Drive, or some other cloud service (if the files are zipped, any service will do)
The advantages of this approach are:
a. DropBox will keep versions of files in the cloud, in the event you need to look for lost work
b. Your zipped backups are kept off your hard drive.
Once you’ve changed these backup configurations, they will apply against all your Scrivener projects.
Next step is to tweak your day-to-day practices.
Do you close Scrivener at the end of every writing session? You should, because the backup settings above will only work if you do. The classic mistake people make is to set scrivener to take a backup at project close, and then never close their project! So when disaster strikes, they have no backups.
If you must keep your project open, then change the settings mentioned above of Back up with each manual save = yes, and Retain backup files = All. Then, while you are writing, periodically do Ctl-S. This will take a backup of your entire project. You must remember to clean up after them yourself periodically.
Speaking of Ctl-S, saving in Scrivener will not save you. If you’re used to how MS Office saves, where, for example, if you save your open Word doc and keep working, you can be confident that the data since your last save is recoverable in the event there is a crash, understand that Scrivener’s save process does not work the same way. Despite Scrivener’s auto-save, if a crash occurs the open project may become corrupted and/or data may be lost. You learned this lesson when your project crashed. I have experienced this myself, back when Windows Scrivener was more prone to crashing. But backups will save you,
Note: If you do a google search on “Scrivener crash lost data” or something similar, nearly all of the posts found have to do with Windows Scrivener. So maybe the Mac OS or the framework that Mac Scrivener is built on handles system crashes more gracefully. Or maybe Macs crash less frequently. I don’t know. What I do know is that when a Windows user experiences a crash while using Scrivener, their projects can become corrupted. If they have a viable Scrivener zipped backup, then life is good, but if they don’t…well, you already know how that ends.
For further info on this topic, see this thread:
[url]Computer crashes and lost work]
If you configure Scrivener to sync your live projects with DropBox and your zipped backup files with some other cloud service, before you close your PC for the night, you should make sure that DropBox/cloud services have fully synced with the data on your PC.
In addition to the Scrivener-specific practices above, you should regularly backup all the data on your PC to some sort of external device. Could be a USB drive, or a cloud service. Doesn’t matter, as long as you’ve got some recourse if your PC’s hard drive crashes.
Read the following sections of the Windows Scrivener manual. These are only a few pages and well worth it!
6.11 Backing up your work
Appendix B.9 Backup options
Appendix G Project Bundle Format.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Best of luck!