Scrivener Ate an Entire Folder

I finished fine-tuning my latest book tonight, which is a big YAY! Except that when I went to compile to a docx file, my world imploded. I saved the file, then selected to save to my desktop, hit compile and then Scrivener crashed. Okay, w/e, it happens. But when I clicked on ‘Open Recent’ the file wasn’t there. Went to File>Recent Files and it wasn’t there either. So I opened the project’s folder only to find the first five chapters of my book in .docx and NOTHING ELSE. Everything in that folder – cover, research, other documents – has disappeared! I’ve searched my Mac and none of the files are on it. WTH happened?! Needless to say, I’m less than happy right now.

FYI, I found the backup file, but it’s from yesterday, so ALL my corrections and edits from a full day of work is just gone.

UPDATE: I found the recovery file in the form of .rtf files. I c&p all the text back into the appropriate files. This still doesn’t explain what happened to everything in the original folder though. I’d love to hear any ideas of where it all went. (To be clear, the files are NOT on my computer – lots and lots of searches – but luckily I had most of them backed up.)

This is very odd. Very little that Scrivener can do will cause this kind of behavior without intervention from third-party programs.

Are you using Dropbox, iCloud, or similar software? How about third-party backup tools?

Also, when you say “the folder” is empty, are you looking in the .scriv project folder itself, or in a folder that contains it?


Hi Katherine,

At the time of this incident, I was not using any online back up tools (I’m researching them now!). No third-party backup tools whatsoever. No computer or software updates in weeks.

Here’s what occurred in more detail:

*I have a ‘master’ folder titled ‘Poppy’ on my desktop for this project. It contains the .scriv file (also titled ‘poppy’), a research folder, a folder containing my cover files, documents, etc.

  • I worked in the Scriv file all day, saving frequently. I saved one final time and then went to compile into a .docx. I mistakenly selected ‘iBooks Author Chapter (.docx)’ when what I actually wanted was a simple .docx, but I’m not sure why that would make a difference. I selected the file be saved to my desktop, NOT the master folder.
  • It started doing its thing, then an error popped up and Scriv crashed. I can’t remember what the error said exactly b/c it happened so fast, but I think it was something about not having the right Apple program or something???
  • I reopened Scriv, but the file was not listed in ‘recents’ (as noted in my OP). I opened the master folder to directly open the .scriv file but only five of the newly created .docx chapters were in there. ALL other files and folders within that master folder are gone. I’ve searched the computer, including Trash, and they’re 100% gone.
  • After many tears and much cursing, I found the Scrivener backup file from the day before, which did not have all the new correx in it, but it was better than losing the file completely. I searched some more and discovered the ‘recovery’ file – all .rtfs of each document in the .scriv file – and was able to copy & paste all the text into the backup file.
  • I recovered my covers and most of the other documents from my external backup hard drive (not connected at the time).

That’s where I stand now. Any insight would be appreciated b/c I don’t think I’ll survive another situation like this.

Still hoping to hear back from Katherine or someone else about what might have happened. Thanks!

[url]Customer Support Closing Dates for Christmas 2015]

I’m sorry for the slow response. As noted, we’re taking some time off over the holidays.

If the entire folder, including non-Scrivener files, was gone, then something on your system other than Scrivener was involved. Scrivener simply can’t affect files outside of the project package.

It’s hard to speculate on potential causes. I’d be especially suspicious of third-party backup and synchronization utilities, since they are known to have the potential for this kind of issue. I’d check to make sure that there is enough space free on the target disk drive. And I’d make sure that things really are being saved to the locations you think: having the iBooks .docx files appear in the master folder, rather than on the desktop, indicates some potential confusion on that point.