Scrivener Crashing Recently. Anyone else?

Scrivener has been crashing once every day or couple of days. The message says something like Scrivener quit unexpectedly.
Not a disaster since the program seems to save stuff well.
I am using OSX 10.6.3

Has this been happening to anyone else lately?

In your home folder, under Library/Logs/CrashReport you should see a bunch of .crash files. These are just text files which contain very detailed information about what happened during the crash. The name of the application is always the first part of the filename, and the time and date follows. If you could find one for Scrivener in a date range you know matches one of these crashes, and post the contents of it here, that would go a long way toward helping solve your problem. Another tool (which also provides access to these crash reports) is, found in your system Applications/Utilities folder. This provides messages for your entire system, and if Scrivener is having difficulties prior to the crash, it might be emitting warning messages to the console. This tool has a filter search which you can use to narrow things down a bit, as well as time and date reporting. Pasting anything from around the crashes would also help.

Offhand though, these days nearly all crashes are the result of bad media in the project, either PDF or QuickTime (more often the latter). Removing media from the project (including emptying the trash), might temporarily solve your problem. Note you might want to export the media first, using File/Export, just to be on the safe side, in case this is the only place you have that media stored.

Thank you VERY much for your help.

I have added as attachments the 2 most recent crash reports on Scriviner.

Here is what I found with the Console on today’s crash. I’ve never used Console before and it may be that I could get more information:

6/9/10 11:38:37 AM[138] ([0x0-0x325325].com.literatureandlatte.scrivener[3608]) Job appears to have crashed: Segmentation fault

I found a more elaborate report. I copied it to a Word file and also attaching it.

I recently started using MacSpeech Dictate. Could that be implicated.

With respect to Media and PDF files. First, I do attach links PDF’s and Movies to in the Bookmarks panel. In that these are just links to paths I don’t think that would cause crashes (but I am not at all competent on these issues). Second, when writing papers I use TIFF images for transcripts, etc. and put these into Scrivener itself (so that they can copied when I export to Word). I don’t think any of these were in the files open at today’s crash.

I frequently use the Append to Current text from the Services menu to copy stuff from web pages to Scrivener. This frequently includes the images that were on the page.

Thank you very much.
Scrivener Console Report June 9 10.doc (121 KB)

Thanks, this will all help Keith narrow down what is causing the crashing.

It is not unusual for third-party applications to make other programs unstable. I have no experience with that application, though, so can’t say definitively if it is involved. The crash logs would help reveal that, if it is the case. Something you can try, if the crashes are frequent enough to get a good control sample, is logging out of your account, and then logging back in with the Shift key held down. Press it as soon as you press Return or click the Login button. This will log you in in a bit of a “safe mode”. All of your custom extensions and third-party background applications will not be loaded. If you can use a session like that for a while without any crashes, chances are high it’s a buggy third-party program. You can isolate it by gradually manually running your list of start-up applications, working for a while at each step, one by one until it finally crashes. Never seen reports for this particular program—but since you did install it recently, that does make it a suspect.

You are correct in your assumption that Referenced files are not stability issues. Scrivener doesn’t even touch the files, it just holds a pointer to their location. Even when you double-click on them, that is passed off to the system and then the external application which loads them. I’ve never heard of referenced files causing issues.

It is also unusual for images to cause problems. While it is possible for images to get corrupted (especially if they’ve been transferred over the 'net, or flash drives) generally this just causes the image to refuse to display properly. Most often a symptom of that is some ratio of the image showing up as static, or grey. In extension to this, I’ve never seen services cause issues. When you use those, the HTML gets converted to RTF so it loses all properties that could cause instabilities, like Flash and malicious or just poorly coded JavaScript.

The stuff that usually causes issues are PDF and QuickTime film/audio. Those interfaces are less robust and if they crash, Scrivener crashes or hangs since it is hosting them.

Curious. The crash report indicates that something in the outliner is causing a crash. Have you copied and pasted any text into the outliner, or into titles or synopses? In the project that has this crash, try opening each folder in outline mode to see if you can get it to crash on demand. If you can find a case where it is always reproducible - that is, if you find that clicking on a particular folder in outliner mode always causes a crash - I’d really appreciated it if you could zip up and send me the file so that I can look at it. Note that you should also expand all items in each folder by hitting cmd-9 with the outliner selected, so that all items are visible. It looks as though some particular item is causing the crash when viewed in the outliner view, although at the moment I don’t know why.


I recall getting a larger body of text and accidentally pasting into the title in the Binder rather than into the document. Could this be what caused it?
I haven’t be able to get a crash recently. I opened some files and turned Outliner on but nothing happened.

The next time I get a crash I will note what documents were open and check them.

Incidentally, I think that when there is a crash the most recent open documents may not be remembered? No need to answer. Simply that log what documents where open when there were crashes would be useful.

I just had another crash. I copied all the text from the dialogue box reporting the crash (pages) and have that attached to this message.

I think I know what project is doing this and will try to send that to you.

Thanks for your help
Scrivener Crash June 10 2010.doc (134 KB)

Here is a compressed version of the project that crashed. I hope it is not too big to send. It is titled Mannheim Plenary.scrib
Mannheim (130 KB)

I can’t see anything obviously wrong in this project or get it to crash. Can you find a specific event that gets it to crash every time. (And yes, when it crashes, the preferences file - which stores which projects were open - may not get saved properly.)


I was just writing in a text file in Scrivener, when it started getting very slow, and I kept hearing computer-like clicks as if some action were taking place. I quickly saved my work (which I thought had worked) before it seemed to completely crash and just hang up on the spinning color circle. I manually shut down my computer, turned it on again, and couldn’t log on - only a spinning color circle. Turned it off again, waited longer, turned it on, logged on, tried to open Scrivener. Got a message telling me Scrivener needed to relink data or something like that (Sorry, can’t remember), said yes. Scriven then opened and the text file I’d been working on all day and had saved multiple times before was completely empty! HELP! Is there any way to retrieve this text file from anyplace???

I am using MacOS X 10.5.8.

here is the message from my crash log:
6/29/10 2:30:15 PM SyncServer[602] SyncServer: Reaping records for inactive clients. Next reap on 2010-08-13 14:30:15 -0700
6/29/10 2:30:15 PM SyncServer[602] SyncServer: Truth vacuumed. Next vacuum date 2010-07-13 14:30:15 -0700
6/29/10 3:10:04 PM AdobeReader[701] NSDocumentController Info.plist warning: The values of CFBundleTypeRole entries must be ‘Editor’, ‘Viewer’, ‘None’, or ‘Shell’.
6/29/10 3:10:04 PM AdobeReader[701] NSDocumentController Info.plist warning: The values of CFBundleTypeRole entries must be ‘Editor’, ‘Viewer’, ‘None’, or ‘Shell’.
6/29/10 3:10:04 PM AdobeReader[701] NSDocumentController Info.plist warning: The values of CFBundleTypeRole entries must be ‘Editor’, ‘Viewer’, ‘None’, or ‘Shell’.
6/29/10 3:10:04 PM AdobeReader[701] NSDocumentController Info.plist warning: The values of CFBundleTypeRole entries must be ‘Editor’, ‘Viewer’, ‘None’, or ‘Shell’.
6/29/10 3:57:29 PM[2] fsck_hfs: Volume is journaled. No checking performed.
6/29/10 3:57:29 PM[2] fsck_hfs: Use the -f option to force checking.
6/29/10 3:57:30 PM[2] BootCacheControl: could not open /var/db/BootCache.playlist: No such file or directory
6/29/10 3:57:30 PM[2] BootCacheControl:
6/29/10 3:57:30 PM[2] could not unlink playlist /var/db/BootCache.playlist: Unknown error: -1
6/29/10 3:57:31 PM[2] launchctl: Please convert the following to launchd: /etc/mach_init.d/dashboardadvisoryd.plist
6/29/10 3:57:31 PM[1] ( Unknown key for boolean: EnableTransactions
6/29/10 3:57:31 PM[1] ( Unknown key for boolean: EnableTransactions
6/29/10 3:57:31 PM[1] (org.cups.cupsd) Unknown key: SHAuthorizationRight
6/29/10 3:57:31 PM[1] (org.ntp.ntpd) Unknown key: SHAuthorizationRight
6/29/10 3:57:31 PM[1] (org.x.privileged_startx) Unknown key for boolean: EnableTransactions
6/29/10 3:59:06 PM[1] ([71]) Exited: Terminated
6/29/10 3:59:06 PM[82] ( Unknown key for boolean: EnableTransactions
6/29/10 3:59:06 PM[82] (org.x.startx) Unknown key for boolean: EnableTransactions
6/29/10 3:59:34 PM pbs[96] CFPropertyListCreateFromXMLData(): Old-style plist parser: missing semicolon in dictionary.
6/29/10 3:59:34 PM pbs[96] CFPropertyListCreateFromXMLData(): Old-style plist parser: missing semicolon in dictionary.

Thank you in advance of for your help!


That sounds to me – the clicking … sorry for the pun – like you’ve got a hard disk that’s on the way to failure. I’m sure Ioa or Keith will know better and will give you sounder advice, but I would immediately do a complete (bootable, if it’s the main HD in your computer) back-up to a brand new external disk, so that if it does go down completely, you won’t lose everything.

Mind you, I had an external that was making clicking sounds, particularly when trying to mount, so I bought another, backed it up like that, then did a complete secure reformat of the dubious disk and copied all the data back. It seems to be working OK … touch wood … and I now have an extra back-up.

Whether you can recover the Scriv project, I’ll leave to Ioa, Keith and other forumite geeks. :smiley:


One important thing to know here is whether the clicking drive was external or internal. Many external drives are a good deal louder because Apple uses extremely quiet drives for most of their computers (I can never hear the drive in my MBP), or otherwise baffles the sound well. If your Apple computer is relatively new (last four years or so), and the drive is audibly clicking—that’s probably not a good sign—but it’s really hard to tell remotely. I know what a failing drive sounds like, as opposed to ordinary drive activity, but it is difficult to communicate the difference. A good description of failure is that the clicking is more sporadic, louder, and has a mechanical quality to it. Ordinary drive access clicking is very rapid, quiet, and usually comes in bursts of dozens to hundreds of ticks, or small isolated ticks here and there.

If the drive is external, you might just hear clicking all of the time no matter. They can be pretty loud. Some LaCie drives in particular, are noise machines.

Another scenario, if the sounds you are hearing are normal, is that you’ve run out of system memory. When this happens the computer has to use more and more of your drive to store its current state. This is not only very much slower, it is also going to generate a lot more noise if you can hear the drive at all normally. Common symptoms here are taking many seconds to switch between applications, constant drive activity, and slow menu response. This can usually be solved by a simple reboot—but if it happens a lot, you might wish to consider upgrading your RAM.

That said, you list three symptoms which all happen when a drive is about to fail: Slow disk response; audible noises; failure to boot. I’ll repeat what Mark said: back up your drive! Post haste. You could be hours away from losing everything on it (or having to pay a bunch for recovery service, which is rarely 100% effective). If this isn’t the problem, well—at least you have a full backup. No harm in that.

Your crash log looks more like a Console system message log. I see a lot of application and system warnings (none from Scrivener). The Scrivener crash log ought to be in Library/Logs/CrashReports. There will be one for Scrivener with a time and date stamp. The most recent one is probably what you want.

That your document did not save anything at all is a little worrying, but until the proper crash log is posted it will be more difficult to figure out what happened.

Thanks for the responses, Ioa and Mark. Let me first say, as you’ve probably figured out from my e-mails, that I am not extraordinarily computer savvy…

I will back up my computer ASAP, but need to find an external drive now that I’m here at home.

For some reason, I feel that it is unlikely that my whole hard drive is about to fail. The computer is relatively new (6 mo?), is a MacBook Pro, and has had no probs up until now.

The clicking was internal, not external. It had only just started happening when the computer slowed up and Scrivener had probs. Ever since I restarted it at that point, it has not clicked again (although I did have probs logging back on after first shutting it down). The suggestion that I might’ve run out of system memory makes some sense to me. It was taking a long time to switch between applications, and it seemed like there was constant drive activity… Regardless, I will back up.

But as for recovering my Scrivener file…I checked Library/Logs/CrashReporter and there is no Scrivener crash report from today; in fact, the most recent file is from over a month ago. Which is making me seriously question where I got the info I sent you that I thought was the Scrivener crash report. ??? THere is a FileSyncAgent.log in Logs that was created today, and in Library, the Icons, Cookies, and Logs folders all seem to have had some activity today right around when this all happened.

Anyway, if you have any suggestions for me about where to find the correct crash report, or any other ideas about how to retrieve my lost work, please let me know. Otherwise, I’ll start rewriting and making sure I back everything up.

susan McL

Let’s hope not! But do be aware that there is a bit of a rule of thumb with laptop harddrives. If it was a poorer quality drive that got installed, under typical usage it will probably fail within half a year. If you make it past half a year, it will probably have a normal lifespan of 3–6 years depending on how hard you use it. So you are actually right on end of the cusp of where a fault can become visible. Fortunately, if you have AppleCare, you are still protected and can get a free replacement drive. Just to inject some perspective, I had a MacBook that I bought in the summer of 2007. By winter 2008 I had to replace the drive—it does happen, unfortunately.

Okay, but let’s hope it’s not that. The only reason I dwell on that option at all is the time it failed to boot. That is worrying. This shouldn’t ever happen unless there are problems. Usually it is “just” software problems that can be fixed with a filesystem repair tool like DiskWarrior. While these errors might not necessitate a hardware repair, they certainly can make your data inaccessible. So if you see a failure to boot again, that might be something to invest in. It’s a little expensive, but one of those things that’s awfully nice to have around in case disaster strikes. DiskWarrior can fix your system after it fails, too—you can boot up on the disk they give you.

That is a good sign that the symptoms disappeared after reboot. If it was a hardware problem, you’d probably still be having issues.

That does sometimes happen. Not all crashes make a crash report, and if you shut down the computer while the beachball was still spinning, or force quit the application while it was spinning, you won’t get one.

So to summarise your symptoms:

  • Excessive disk activity
  • Slow-downs and disk related software malfunctions (Scrivener failed to write data)
  • Failure to boot on one occasion
  • Difficulty logging in

To me, that is a dangerous feeling. Hard drives, whoever makes them, are very delicate mechanical devices, and as such all can fail suddenly. It makes no difference that it is an MBP, and only 6 months old. Apple generally seems to be very good on build quality and sourcing well, but even they cannot guarantee that FoxConn, or whoever builds MBPs here in China, will not be using a batch of drives which include one single drive that has slipped through the drive manufacturer’s quality control net.

In fact, in the first Mac I ever owned — the short lived IIVi … yes, I bought one of those at great cost — the hard drive failed on the second day! Perhaps I was lucky, as I had hardly any data on it, if any.

So I think everyone on the forum would agree with me, when I say, even if everything is going wonderfully smoothly, back up regularly. There are lots of threads on this forum where people say what their practices are … from the minimalist, to the industrially paranoid system.

Good luck.


Hmm … The disk I mentioned in my first post … it contains two partitions, one a second bootable system back-up for the MBP, and the other a general storage area for old files I might just need to refer to someday. Well, I said the clicking went away after I re-formatted … now, this morning, it’s back again. So, clearly, the drive unit is on the way out.



I too have had Scrivener crash repeatedly over the last few days (for the first time in over two years of use!). It freezes when I try to go from one to another document in the binder, and a moment later it crashes altogether. I pasted a set of documents into a new file, thinking the size of the old file might have something to do with it; but no.

I have uploaded the report from the last time when, actually it did not crash but it froze and then I force quit. I haven’t lost any work yet but I’m not sure what to do… Thanks.
scrivener hang July 9.pdf (128 KB)


Sorry to hear you’re having problems. Looking at the crash report, it is indicating something to do with QuickTime, which Scrivener uses to show movie and sound files. Do you have any such files in the project, and if so, how big are they?


Thanks for replying so quickly. I love the program.

I don’t have any quick time files in the file and have never used any in Scrivener BUT I do often use quicktime in the background to listen to music streaming from online. I was doing so today when Scrivener crashed. The MP3 file I was listening to was 89.2MB.

Hi Shantel,

Curious - the crash report definitely reports some QuickTime activity. It is conceivable that the background QT file is accidentally being monitored by Scrivener, I suppose, although it shouldn’t be. Could you please do me a favour? Could you try using Scrivener for a while without a QuickTime file in the background? And then try it again with the QT file playing in the background? If you can alternate your use between having a QT file playing and not, for a few hours each time - I know it’s a pain, sorry! - then that will give us an indicator of whether it is the background QT file that is somehow interfering. If it crashes only when QT is playing in the background, then we know it’s related. On the other hand, if it crashes again without QT playing in the background, then the new crash report should tell me whether Scrivener’s internal QT player is doing something odd regardless or whether it is something else entirely. So, if you keep posting the crash reports as you go, that will be really helpful.

Many thanks!
All the best,