Scrivener and Dropbox and locked files

I have two laptops I use to work on my Scrivener projects–I trade back and forth between my home and my office. Both have the same updated version of Scrivener for Windows.

Recently I could not open a project on my home laptop. In fact, no existing project would open, but I could create a new project. Scrivener would just freeze on any other project.

I had to kill Scrivener to get it to close down, even after waiting for 15 minutes.

On my office laptop I tried opening a project but Scrivener said it was in use by another user, and offered my the option to overwrite or copy. I choose overwrite (perhaps too quickly)–but the project opened. I saved it and closed it, closed Scrivener, and then went back to my home laptop.

Same thing–Scrivener froze up.

I’m thinking that there is some kind of a lock file that Scrivener uses to mark that a project is in use on one PC if the project is on a shared drive like Dropbox.

If so, where is this lock file?

I would really like to not have to stop using Scrivener on my home laptop, so any advice would be gratefully received.

I’ve copied the entire project folder to a new one (using the Save as copy command in Scrivener) and that has not solved the problem. There is something on my home laptop that is locking up the project so it won’t open.

There are considerations and potential issues when sharing/passing projects between machines via DropBox. That’s not a criticism of DropBox… in fact DropBox seems to be the best or among the best of the cloud backup/sync services for this. But there are still considerations and potential issues.

See the knowledge base article on using Scrivener with DropBox … th-dropbox

Also search the forum, via search field in upper right corner, for “conflicted”.

The really paranoid fail safe solution is to always back the projects up as compressed .zip files via File > Back Up > Back Up To with “Backup as ZIP file” selected (entire project gets compressed into a single smaller physical file), pass the .zip file, decompress/unzip it at the other end via Windows’ “Extract all” or third party utilities such as 7zip, work on the decompressed project… Then repeat the process when need to send the project back the other way. Though that does entail more steps/work.

Hope that helps.

I was not able to fix the problem by the usual methods–copying the project to a new folder, deleting conflicted files, and so on.

Just about every project would not open.

I solved the problem by uninstalling Scrivener, then downloading and re-installing. I backed up my configuration files (templates, compile settings) in case something went wrong, but the reinstall worked fine, and my templates and compile settings remained.

And now all the projects open up just fine.

Don’t know what caused the problem.

There is a userlock file within the project that is created when the project opens and removed when it is closed. This is what prompted the warning on your work machine that the project was already open–the file presumably was created when you tried to open on the home PC but it was never removed since the project wasn’t closed correctly. That’s all it does, though–prompt a warning that the project may already be open. It doesn’t prevent the project from opening in Scrivener otherwise.

It could have been a sync issue with the PC not getting the files properly in Dropbox, thus missing some components that were necessary for opening it. Dropbox has some help files on refreshing the sync folder on your machine that may be worth checking out. If the home computer simply didn’t have all the correct files, or had some corrupted ones, importing the project, copying the project folder from that computer’s Dropbox, etc. all would still provoke the same problem in Scrivener.

As it seems you have everything working now after a reinstall, it may have just some corrupt file in the installation directory or so forth. Computers are finicky beasts. :wink: Make sure you’re keeping regular backups (check out Tools > Options… Backups) and store them separately on each of your machines, for best practice.

Glad it’s all working again!

Thanks for your advice and help