Saved Files Corrupted?


Had the need yesterday to compare an old version of my current project with the version I’m working on now. Surprise! All my files from last year (and the year before) appear to have become corrupted somehow. I finally found a compile that was ok but everything else was unavailable.

When I click on one of these files, named, for example, 6-23-14.scriv, it only has a settings folder, nothing else. Clicking on Settings brings up a ui file and a non-Word file named “compile.” Both files are labeled as configuration files and contain a bunch of gobbledygook, mostly zeroes.

I’m hoping there’s a way to bring my files back. Any help much appreciated.

Where did you store this project? This sounds suspiciously like issues related to cloud sync programs and some backup software, only retrieving some of the files in a Scrivener project instead of all of them.

The files that you would be able to open without Scrivener would end in .txt or .rtf, possibly a couple of others–the rest are for the program Scrivener to use itself, and aren’t meant to be human-readable, so it’s no surprise that the files you mention don’t display as a regular document would in your word processor or Windows file explorer preview.

One place to look for a good backup of your project is to go to Tools->Options->Backup. There’s a button there that will open the location of Scrivener’s automatic backups folder. There should be a few .zip-compressed files there, but likely they’re not very old. If you have this location being backed up, you could retrieve an older set of these files from about the same time as your other, corrupted copy.

Well, this is interesting. I went to Backup, as you suggested, and was able to open all the files I tried, including a compile. All my backups for 2014 are in non-zip files; the more current ones are zipped. I have them stored, as of yesterday, on Dropbox. Prior to that, they were on my hard drive.

I again checked the files I saved (on my hard drive) and every one is missing files. They all are reduced to a Settings folder. Just as bad, all the compiles seem to have disappeared. I have a separate folder for Scriv files and Compiles. The compile folder is empty except for a scriv file!

This is terrible. I’m glad to have the backups but would like to get my compiles back at least, if possible. Any further suggestions?

Many thanks for your help!

When you compile, you’re essentially creating a Word file (or a PDF, or an ebook file, etc…), so Scrivener has nothing to do with managing those. Just to make sure you have the lingo down, “compiled” means that you went to File->Compile (or got to that window via another method) and clicked the “compile” button, right? File->Save As is different, as is File->Backup->Back Up To… They’re methods for creating copies of your project, separate from the automatic backups.

As to why you don’t have any other folders under your .scriv folder, I can’t say; did you move to a new computer? Dropbox tends to be pretty reliable, though it’s been known to have some hiccups. But the usual culprit is a copy of one or more files with “conflicted” inserted into its name. That can gum up the works a bit, but it won’t typically wipe out entire folders. Sometimes virus protection programs will try to ‘clean’ parts of a Scrivener project, but I don’t have any experience along those lines myself. This sounds like some windows program has gone amok and helpfully “cleaned” up old files, right out of your scrivener project folder.

At this stage, I’d suggest you do a search on your hard drive for all folders that end in “.scriv” . Maybe you have a viable copy somewhere else. Also, do you have any other backup methods–something that does automatic backups to an external hard drive maybe?

Good luck. I know this can be stressful, but keep at it, and consider other places where copies of your files might be (thumb drive? other computer? …)

Oh, one other idea; sometimes people try to download a copy of a project folder from the website, but that doesn’t tend to work with anything that’s not .zip compressed. If you’re doing that, maybe try installing the dropbox software on your computer and letting it download everything to your hard drive automatically, instead of using your web browser.

Gosh, that’s a lot of information. I’ve compiled for years without losing anything. I know that the compiles are word files, actually rtf files, and that losing the scriv files shouldn’t have any impact on the compiles – but obviously it has. Both are corrupted. Dropbox is new in my life and the current files I’ve saved to it seem ok. It’s the older files that are having the problem and it doesn’t seem to matter where they’re stored. I make multiple copies and they’re all bad except for some I have on a flash drive.

Thanks for the information. It seems this is a grin and bear it event.