Scrivener deleted the last several saves of my book.

Hi guys. I am having a pretty big and frustrating issue with Scrivener, and I have no idea why.

I opened the novel I had been working on after several months of inactivity, only to find that the last five chapters or so were missing. This is despite the fact I had saved multiple times across those chapters. This is something that actually happened once before (I rewrote everything) and is the reason I started syncing to Dropbox,

So I thought, no big deal. This time I’m ready.
I downloaded the latest backup and opened it up.

The same chapters were missing, plus an extra few hundred words!

I tried the other backups. All the same. As if every save and backup since the beginning of the lost words didn’t count for anything.

Would anyone know why this is happening, or perhaps if there is any way I can recover my lost word count? :frowning:

No one could possibly have any idea why this is happening. Here’s how you can figure it out.
Go to tools/ options/ backup

There are lots of variables there for deciding how your backups should be handled.
Is automatic backups turned on?
When do you backup?
How many backups do you keep?
Where do you put them?
Under what conditions do you backup?

Remember, a backup is a copy of what you have at the time of backup. So if you have a retention policy of 3 and backup after work with CTRL-S, then backup on close and open, you have 1 backup only since you’ll have 3 copies of what you had after work. If something is screwed up or missing, you’ll have three copies of a screwup.

Potential failure points include:

  • backup destination unreliable
  • Too few different backups
  • backups not covering a sufficient time span
  • Unreliable computer
  • Human error (you didn’t realize stuff was selected when you hit the backspace)

The minimal standard rule is 3,2,1
3 copies
2 places
1 off-site

This applies to EACH Backup of a work period.

But really, you should have backups going back to many separate work dates with the 3,2,1 rule applied to every one. So someone could have 10 work periods backed up (those could be daily, or twice daily for example, but not if you didn’t work). These might go back a month or more if you work only sporadically. There should be a copy of your regular files, plus 3 copies of all 10 of your backups in 2 different places and one off-site.

Hopefully this will help you figure out where you went wrong and what could be adjusted to fix it.

My normal setup for clients is:
Backup on close only to the internal data drive
Centered Systems Second Copy to does a backup every night to an external backup drive retaining the previous 3 copies. It backups both the backups and the original.
Spideroak One Online backup does a back again offline and retains all previous versions unless I remove them.

There are plenty of good backup programs and online backup services. They are not expensive.