Scrivener 3 won't open

Until today everything was fine. Currently, when I try to open it, Scrivener starts to rebuild index and then crashes. I’ve already reinstalled it (didn’t help), and contacted support, but the last time it took 10 days to get a reply, and this is kind of urgent.

What else can I do?

Many thanks in advance.

A crash during indexing usually indicates some form of media that is giving Scrivener difficulties—if a PDF crashes the routine that scours its text for searchable terms, for example, then you’ll get stuck in a perpetual crash look trying to open the project. Removing the recently imported material, or stepping back to a recent backup often helps—but it could be the thing has been around for a long time.

As far as I can remember, there is no media in any of the two projects I opened yesterday, just text. But anyway, how can I get back to a recent backup, if Scrivener does not open at all?

Open it with the Shift key held down so that it does so without trying to open the offending project(s); go straight to Preferences > General >Startup and make sure “Reopen projects that were open on quit” is turned off. Then locate the backup, unzip it and open it by double clicking the project icon or from within Scrivener.

Only turn “Reopen projects…” on when you’re sure you’ve got everything sorted out fully. I have it turned off permanently.

That’s how I’d do it.



Media isn’t the only thing that can cause a text processing crash. More rarely a garbage control character somehow ended up in the text, or maybe some formatting that it doesn’t like. It’s all speculation though without more data, as I said it is merely only a plausible indicator of a problem of that nature.

It sounds like the software is opening—it wouldn’t be getting all the way to the point of having a project open on the disk and running through the index on it if the whole program couldn’t launch. It’s just getting hung up on this one project from the sounds of it.

There is a way of launching it so that it doesn’t try to reload previously worked on projects: hold down Shift when loading it from the Dock or Finder. It should go straight to the new project template if all goes well, and from there you can get to your backups via the Backup preference pane (there is a button to open the folder).

(And on update: Mark’s advice to disable auto-reload is a good one until you get things resolved!)

Recovery tips are provided in the user manual; §5.2.4, Restoring from Backups, pg. 72.

You can tell I’ve never actually had to do it? :smiley:


Well, thank you. I managed to open both projects NOT from backup, but just holding shift and opening them one after another, no crash this time.
Still, it’s a weird behaviour.

Just for your information, I still cannot use the option “Reopen the projects” – Scrivener crashes every time.

  • Does that mean the checkbox always causes a crash no matter which project was left open previously? If you open Scrivener, open the Tutorial, turn on “Reopen…” and then quit and restart, does it crash?
  • Or this only a problem when loading multiple projects? Again testing with the tutorial and a new blank test project.
  • Or can you load one of your projects automatically, both of them tested individually—and this is only a problem with both of those two specific projects are loaded together?
  • Also is this still happening during indexing, or immediately upon attempting to load?

None of the above should crash of course, they certainly don’t for me, but at the moment it is unclear precisely what the nature of the problem is.