Scrivener closes immediately after saving changes

Hi, folks. I’m writing/editing a tome (about 56 mb in its current configuration).

Every time I make an edit and try to save (I’m using v. 3.1.3 (111945) and Mac OS 10.14.6), I get a dialog that says “There was a problem saving the project ‘*Early Frost Draft3. scriv’. Not all recent edits can be saved. Files that could be recovered have been saved to … The project will now close.” And it does.

How can I make edits and add new text to my manuscript without Scrivener popping up this dialog box for me? I don’t remember earlier versions of Scrivener acting so annoyingly.

Thanks for any help.


Is the asterisk part of the file name? If so, change it, as asterisks are special characters in most file systems.

If that’s not it, make sure you have adequate space and permission to write to the volume where you want to save.


I just copied what was in the window. The Project Name is “EarlyFrost.” There’s no lack of RAM or HD space. It only began doing this tonight with this project. (I haven’t opened this project for a few months, but now it’s time to re-start it.

A few months back, it did the same thing with another big project (30 years of 500-word columns, individual files for each column, kept within “folders” for Month, nested within “folders” for the years…that I’m about 1/3 of the way through). That time, it started behaving normally when I copied the project to a new project, and began working on the new project before deleting the old.

I tried that with EarlyFrost, but it made no difference. I noticed that it seemed to be accessing a much earlier version of the project. One chapter was short 400 or 500 words.

I’m hoping not to have to go way back in the backups to re-build this project.

Thanks for any help.


I’m still a little suspicious of that asterisk. Please use Finder to explicitly rename the project, and then open it from Finder to make sure you have the correct version.

Does a brand new project save correctly to the same location?

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

Do manual backups work? (File -> Backup -> Backup Now.)


Hi, and thanks for your response. The asterisk is not part of the file name. Never Was, Never WIll Be. The name of the current Project is EarlyFrostV4

I’m using iCloud and Dropbox, and I think that points to the problem. The project is stored in iCloud (which wasn’t a problem before, but apparently now is). I store backups and such on Dropbox.

Manual backups work as expected, and “Save As” works as well. I’ve saved successfully to an external HD and a thumb drive.

The odd thing to me is this affects only one of my projects. The other Project (also stored on iCloud opens and saves just fine. (it’s about 50 MB, give or take.)

Could you outline for me what you would consider a successful storage/backup strategy? I’m one of those people who keeps five or six programs open all the time; some are on the local SSHD, some from locally connected external storage and some from iCloud. I’d like to be able to access them all from the same desktop.

Could reverting to an earlier version of Scrivener resolve my problem? Everything seemed to play well together ntil very recently.

Thanks for your time and help.

Regards, Arthur

Scrivener just sends the save instruction to the file system, so reverting to an earlier version is unlikely to make a difference. OTOH, it’s possible that a recent Mac OS update changed iCloud’s behavior.

If manual backups and Save As both work, then the underlying project is fine and the issue is the specific save location.

My own backup strategy is as follows:

  • Active projects are in my Dropbox folder, since I switch among several devices.

  • Scrivener’s automatic backups go to the local disk. (Which means that each of my Dropbox-connected devices has its own local backups.)

  • My main computer is backed up to a Time Machine volume and to BackBlaze. Both of those run every 15 minutes or so.

  • I use SuperDuper to make monthly backups to an external hard drive.

  • I find iCloud annoyingly opaque and rarely use it.


Thanks for your insight. Before this incident, I never even noticed iCLoud. After I implement something very like your stategy, I will go back to ignoring iCLoud.

I’m also a believer in physical backups. I have Time Machine backups, which archive MOST of my computer (not anything iTunes, all of whose files reside on a separate external HD) on alternate half hours. Every week I download my active files to a third external HD, retrieved for the occasion from a friend who lies about a mile away…, then that disc goes back to the friend. Every time I “finish” a project milestone (chapter, version, or whatever), I copy it to a thumb drive, which I carry on my (physical) keychain.

Thanks again and Regards,