Scrivener ate my manuscript

I upgraded to 3.0 two days ago and finished my book. Everything was good and I went to compile it to send to my editor. The compile was not exactly what I wanted and spent some time fiddling with compiler setting. On the third attempt to compile I noticed that the word count of the compiled document was significantly lower than expected. I double checked the setting to ensure all chapters were selected for export and a few other settings.

I went back to the manuscript to ensure everything was selected for Include in Compile. That was when I noticed that 5 chapters were completely blank! I went to the backup folder and only found 2 backup sets, all occurring after the disappearance of the chapters.

At this point I do not have much confidence anything is recoverable and I am not about to use 3.0.

The v1.9 to v3.0 project upgrade process automatically makes a backup of the 1.9 project. It will be in a folder called ‘YourProjectName’ Backup.scriv and would have been placed in the same folder as your project. Or perhaps you still have your v1.9 backups around. If so, you can hopefully recover some of the lost work from one of them.


Actually, all the work lost was what I wrote after installing 3.0. I have access to the old writings in the 3.0 project AND the old project on backup. Since I installed 3.0 on a new computer (due to old one dyeing) I have not setup my usual incremental backup that would have saved me.

I have seen where AVG is causing issues for some, but I only have Windows protection right now and at least half the project is loading.


Are you using OneDrive, Dropbox, or a similar service?


I use Polar Backup to backup my system. However as I said I setup Scrivener 3.0 on a new computer and the backup was not installed at the time I wrongly believed that Scriveners project backup would at least save all modifications and I was in a hurry to meet deadline.

How did you transfer projects from the old system to the new one?

After you were done creating new work, did you create a new copy of the project, for instance with the Save As command?


Kent, shouldn’t get into this one, but it occurs to me that as far as I know, Scrivener creates an automatic backup location and uses it as a default when you first install it. So you may well actually have backups from this.

How to find them? Use File | Options, and then click the Backups tab, all the way on the right of the Settings tab bar there.

Towards the bottom of the page, you’ll see an item named Backup location, and even a button to open it. You can have a look there…and as I like to say, best fortune. Scrivener tries pretty hard to protect you…

I have now concluded that there is something very wrong with version 3. I finally received the fan for my original computer and installed it. I had just installed version 3 when the fan failed.

I opened a project I had written several chapters of in version 1.9.17 using version 3. I was prompted to do the conversion and when the document opened all text was GONE. The structure was in place, pages I had added to the project were in place, the icon colors were correct for the status of the text, So obviously it was not a corrupted file. My content was simply gone!

I immediately closed the project, uninstalled version 3. I reinstalled 1.9.17 and opened the backup project. Everything was in place as it had been before the conversion. With so many WIP I can not take the risk of disappearing content, my time is far too valuable. It has now happened on two separate Windows 10 computers, one with a clean install of Version 3.

I bought it on the promise of an upgrade to Version 3, waited nearly 2 years for it and now I have discovered it eats my homework.

All known instances of this behavior relate to security software that “helpfully” decides Scrivener is bad and prevents it from opening the component files of your project. Without telling you that it’s done so.

Please disable your antivirus software, reinstall Scrivener, and try opening your projects again.