.scriv file lost after upgrade


This has never happened to me while using Scrivener before. I would have sworn that it was the most reliable writing software out there.

But now, I have lost two very important files that had several weeks worth of research and writing in them. It happened after I updated to Scrivener 1.52; the .scriv files were open at the time, and when I restarted my computer with the new 1.52 update, I couldn’t find the old files I had been working with. Other files are still intact. What happened?

Please help. I would like to retrieve my old files. I do not use Time Machine, so I hope there is a way out there.


Do NOT empty your trash. Look there. Scrivener always puts older files there.


I didn’t empty my Trash folder. Not there.

When you say “I couldn’t find the old files I had been working with,” do you mean that you knew exactly where they were on your hard drive before they disappeared, that you’ve searched in Spotlight for “.scriv”, and they’re nowhere on the drive? I only ask because many people don’t know where their Scrivener files live, and simply use the “open recent”.

Just to make this clear: You are talking about projects here, right? You had two project windows open at the same time when you updated. You do not mean that you had one window open and the two files you talk about were visible in the editor and in the binder, do you?

I hope you don’t feel offended that I’m asking you this, it’s just a not too seldom cause for trouble that users mistake projects for files in the binder. And in the latter case they often keep their stuff in the project that gets opened at the first start of Scrivener. Which is the tutorial. Which gets overwritten by updates.

Two things that sadly aren’t of any help in your present situation but might be in the future:

  1. Don’t update any app while having files open.
  2. Always backup at least important data before you update.


Actually Scrivener would never put your files in the Trash. :slight_smile: That only happens to the 1.51 version of Scrivener, so this was only ever a problem for users who did all their work in the tutorial, which was built into the program itself - since version 1.51 there has been a warning not to do this in the tutorial itself, and since earlier than that the tutorial has asked the user to save it to a different location, so this is unlikely to happen any more, so I doubt the files are in the Trash.

Before responding further, I’ll wait for the op’s response to jebni’s question, which will help me - that is, where were these files saved on disk? (Some users miss the fact that they choose where to save Scrivener files during the project creation process and assume that Scrivener saves them somewhere “secret”, which isn’t the case, so apologies for the basic question.) And, as jebni asks again, have you searched for “.scriv” using Spotlight?

Also, do you use any backup or synchronisation software?

Thanks and all the best,

Hi Keith & everyone else,

I do not have backup or synchronization programs. And Spotlight did not find searches for <.scriv>. However, I managed to go to File–>Recent Projects, and this found the two files that were missing. I’m SO relieved, finally believing again in the robustness of Scrivener. However, I’m not too clear about the distinctions between .scriv files and .scriv projects.

Thanks everybody… I left this problem fallow for a day, and I’m happy it resolved with your advices and good wishes. I have taken all your great advice.

Hang on, now I’m completely confused – if they were simply in Recent Projects, what gave you the impression that they were lost in the first place? Had they been moved? Or have you been relying on Scrivener’s ability to reopen whatever files you were working on when the application was last closed? (To echo Suavito: sorry if these questions sound rude, but I’m genuinely curious about people’s understandings of where files are on their computers – it’s a “thing”.)

In any case, if Spotlight could not find any results for “.scriv”, and yet Scrivener could list these projects in Recent Projects, you have a slight problem. Either they exist in a drive or folder that you’ve excluded from Spotlight indexing, or else Spotlight isn’t working.

Another question to be taken in the spirit in which it is intended. Have you had your finder set not to show file extensions like .scriv. If you have, is that the reason that Spotlight failed to find the file, that there are no files on your system labelled .scriv.

I also have a hazy understanding that under Snow Leopard it is even more important to show file extensions, as I understand SL is set to ignore creator codes or something. There was a comment on the Nisus forum, I believe it was, of files created by Nisus being opened on double clicking by TextEdit, that being the default app set by the system for RTFs.


  1. It is possible that Spotlight was not turning up the .scriv project files that were there.

Spotlight has a bug in Tiger which can result in it just failing to find things that are there – even to the extent of finding some things in a folder and not others. A forced reindexing is the only workaround I know.

  1. hundera, it would be a good idea to be sure you know where on your harddrive your Scrivener projects are stored – for future reference. To do this: Open one of your projects in Scrivener. Then command-click on the title of the project window. This will show you exactly where that scrivener project is stored on your harddrive.

  2. When you open a Scrivener project, everything that the project contains is shown in a single window. Everything you see in the Binder area is part of that Scrivener project – including any documents and folders in the Binder. So, when you said you had two projects hanging fire, people were not really clear whether you meant literally two different Scrivener projects or whether you might instead have meant you had two different documents or two different document areas within a single Scrivener project.


The board here is amazing. Scrivener has been so good to me that I never had to come here. And I was so footloose with the terminology I used to explain my dilemma earlier that I confused a few.

Apollo16: you were right. for some reason, I did a spotlight search under <.scriv> and it did not find my files in the trash. but they were there. it was the ‘file’–> “recent projects” maneuver that found my ‘missing projects’.

Jebni: sorry I confused you. Yes, I was using <.scriv> to do a search. Generally, I have all my Scrivener projects in one folder, inside my general documents folder. This time, I could not find two folders I had been working on inside the Scrivener projects folder; I assumed they were in the Scrivener projects folder I had set up, but apparently I must have placed them elsewhere; since I never put them in the trash folder, I overlooked Apollo16’s recommendation. I also did not know that Leopard did not let you search by file extension types inside its trash. Oh well…

Suavato: Yes, I was surely confusing “files” with “projects”. Indeed it is my projects that were missing, but as said they ended up in the trash mysteriously.

Greg: thanks for the tip about cmd+click. That’s what led me to realize that the projects were in the trash after all. feeling dumb here, but next time i’ll pass along this info to lesser mac folks like me.

Thanks all for your vigilance, guys. You were amazing!

Wow, that’s a terrible restriction on Spotlight. I think Tiger had Spotlight search absolutely everything, so perhaps Apple responded to the complaints by restricting its results a little too much. Something is “wrong” with Spotlight, indeed!

And that, hundera…is what makes Scrivener…'Scrivener’ :wink:

Welcome aboard hundera

Yea! I am glad you found your folders.

Note to Keith: I wasn’t clear above but there was one instance when Scrivener did put work in the trash. That was when a person accidentally saved their work in the tutorial and then upgraded. But you are right that this no longer happens because you have put in a safeguard to help idiot-proof your software. The problem is that evolution works and new and better idiots result! :wink:

I’z evolvin’ right now!!


Hang on! Youre not about to infringe my copyright are y :open_mouth:
I`ve purra lorra work into my idiocy.

And it shows!

No… no. You are my MENTOR. I could only hope to achieve such heights! :wink: I’m like an amoeba to your chordate!!


You need to move in the opposite direction to catch up on vic-k.

An amoeba in my chocolate!! :open_mouth: Urrrgh yuuck!!!

Off Topickers strike again!!
With the abdication of moderator duties rife, it`s time we elected vigilantes to patrol the forums, with a remit to dole out copious dollops of castigation and vilification.