Scrivener 3 on new PC won't open existing .scriv file

I’ve downloaded Windows 3 on my new laptop (Windows 11 Pro, Version 22H2, OS Build 22621.1848). The license transferred successfully, and I’ve moved my .scriv document to the new computer.

When I open Scrivener, it starts with a Project Template screen. I click on Open Existing Project, and select my .scriv file, and the program freezes. I’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling Scrivener 3, and rebooting the PC.

Thanks for any ideas.

If you can supply more details.
Are you converting from Scriv 1 to 3?
Are you open the .scrivx file from an unzipped folder?
Does this happen with just one existing project or all of them?
What if open a new project do you have the same problem?

Thanks for the reply. Answers:

Are you converting from Scriv 1 to 3?
– No, I had 3 on the previous machine.

Are you open the .scrivx file from an unzipped folder?
–No, it transferred over as is from a dropbox download. (And it was working fine on the other machine just before I made the switch.)

Does this happen with just one existing project or all of them?
–When I tried one from 2021, also no response. ( tried I turning off and restarting Scrivener, but when I open the 2021 file it said “the project seems to be in use by another program.” I rebooted the computer and got the same message, so I selected Continue – but same result, Scrivener freezing.)

What if open a new project do you have the same problem?
–creating a new project seems fine (and when I tried opening my current scriv file from the Open menu, in case that might be a workaround, it still froze)

It might be the user.lock file that appears to prevent two computers using the same program at once, try looking inside the program folder for that file and if present delete file and then try to open. Copy the folder and put aside for extra safety. If works may be issue for the others.

Make sure, that your files on dropbox are synchronized to physical files on your local disk. It’s a setting you can make in windows explorer (I think - I use onedrive).

Supplementing @NoBa ‘s advice, see Make your files and folders available offline - Dropbox Help - Dropbox Help

For Scrivener to work ALL files in the project have to be “offline” and on the local disk.

I’ve seen the issue a few times where just the .scrivx file is copied by a user and not the entire folder structure the .scrivx file is contained in.

1 Like

Thanks to everyone for their advice. A couple of updates:

  1. I waited a couple days to make sure the dropbox synchronization of files from my last computer was entirely done–but still the same problem. (And they are indeed local files.)

  2. I also tried removing the user.lock file, but still the same problem.

Other ideas welcome to get access to my work. I appreciate all the thoughts.

Are you able to compare contents of the Scrivener project folders/files on both computers? That comparison may point the issue.

Are you getting the same symptom, e.g. “freezing”? Or is there an error message of any sort?

A few things I’d suggest:

  1. Although you mentioned waiting days to ensure Dropbox synced, you didn’t mention if you’d gone into the Dropbox settings or to the specific .scriv project folders to ensure that they are set to be available offline. In some cases, Dropbox may default to storing files only in the cloud until asked for, and Scrivener needs them to be fully on your device in order to open and work with the project. So the files may be synced but not actually saved in full on the hard drive.

    You can adjust the Dropbox preferences for making files always available off-line or set certain ones to be that way; I think some of those options depend on what Dropbox plan you have. But at a minimum for testing this, you could open File Explorer in Windows and navigate to the Dropbox folder where the project is stored, right-click on the project’s .scriv folder and choose the Dropbox ▸ Make available offline option. Ultimately, you’d want all your Scrivener projects to act this way, so you may want to make that the default for all your Dropbox files on this computer or set up a folder for the projects and ensure that folder and its contents are always available offline.

  2. If you haven’t yet, try transferring a project either entirely without Dropbox or using Dropbox just to move the .zip folder from one machine to another. Basically:

    1. Create a zipped copy of the project on computer A (either via File Explorer on the closed project or with Scrivener’s File ▸ Back Up ▸ Back Up To... setting, choosing to create a .zip)
    2. Use a USB stick or Dropbox to copy that .zip file to computer B
      • If you used Dropbox, move the .zip out of Dropbox to elsewhere in your Documents folder on computer B
    3. Extract the project .scriv folder from the zip archive
    4. Try to open that extracted project in Scrivener

    That would eliminate Dropbox syncing and offline files, etc. as part of the problem and focus just on the issue of Scrivener accessing the project and what’s going on there. Make sure though that you’ve extracted the project from the zip and not just opened it from in there (Windows will let you view the contents of the .zip and do a read-only open with files/programs that support that, but Scrivener does not, so you’d get an error again).

  3. In Scrivener, open File ▸ Options... and under the General tab, click Warnings in the sidebar and tick the option to show the log console. If you’re still getting the hang trying to open the project, maybe that will offer a little more insight into what’s going on at that point.

Success! Although dropbox was set to save files offline, it wasn’t doing it for my scrivener files. Interestingly, when I did it just for the files associated with my current draft, no difference. But when I moved all other scrivener files (including other projects) offline, it worked.

Many thanks.