Scrivener file format error

I’m running Scrivener 3 (fully updated) on two computers, source file on OneDrive.

Today I incremented my current WIP by saving as a new version. Subsequently I closed this new project on one computer and tried to open it on the other. I got a dialogue box telling me that the project was saved in an old file format, would I like it to be backed-up and then converted to the new format. I didn’t really like and certainly didn’t understand it but, feeling I had little choice, said OK. Another dialogue box then told me backup had failed and would I like to try converting without a back up? I didn’t.

What’s all this about? What old file format is being created by an up-to-date program? Why, when it was all OK before the incremental project save?

Sure that OneDrive fully synced everything? and, all files on the local drive and not set to download on demand?

What do you mean by “saving a new version”?

If it’s syncing, it locks Scrivener until the download is completed. The same goes for Download on demand. Thus, that’s not the case, unless he has a very old version of Windows.

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When I make a significant chnage to the manuscript, I ‘save as’ and increment my file name and number by 1. so that the old version is there to fall back to if I don’t like the new story direction. Thus I saved ‘Derailed 005’ as ‘Derailed 006’.
I opened ‘Derailed 005’, the laptop downloading it to S3 from OneDrive, and ‘saved as’ ‘Derailed 006’. After working on it, I tried to close it, and got the quoted messages about file types and old versions of file types.
I work between laptop and a desktop computer so need to be able to save and close securely after each working session, to avoid file conflicts.

I don’t know if your [unusual] continued “save as” into Onedrive may have any impact on your problem. Maybe.

I just wouldn’t try to bend Scrivener’s will to my own will.

I think what you should be doing instead is to rely Scrivener’s automated backups. I use Mac version, but I assume Windows version has the feature to automatically save on “open project” and again save on “close project”. I save 25 copies since I have plenty of disk space. If you need more and don’t want Scrivener to delete backup copies >25, then manually save them somewhere else out of reach of Scrivener. Ok to direct the backup to the OneDrive folder if you want. I direct to non synced folder on my desktop and rely on the backup regime I use for the desktop to do the backups. If you need an old version, you can restore from backup.

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You should also investigate using Snapshots, so that if you don’t like what you’ve just written in a given document, you can re-load the snapshot you took without having to go back to a previous version of the whole project.




Good catch. I don’t use Snapshots and it didn’t occur to me.

I’m afraid I can’t tell you what has gone wrong, but I’ve two tips for you for your needs.

For changes impacting a single document (or a couple of, as it suites best to you) I strongly suggest you to rely on the Snapshot feature. You can instantly create a backup copy of your document, tagged by a custom title and the date/time of the snapshot. Plus, you get diffs as a nice bonus.

For much larger changes, I also strongly suggest not to duplicate (or save as) the entire project, but to duplicate the folders in your manuscript folder. Say, for example, you have a “Chapter One” folder and you want to make heavy changes to every scene in that chapter, just Right Click -> Duplicate/Clone on the folder (dunno if it’s the former or the latter, I have the translated UI) This creates a copy of the entire folder.

Hope this helps,


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I don’t understand this. I’m not trying to bed Scrivener, I simply did a save-as, something I do maybe a dozen times over the course of writing a book. I suspect this has nothing to do with the issue; the problem seems to be Scrivener thinking it has an older (Scrivener) version on one computer when both versions are up-to-date.
I see that scrivener does back up itself, I didn’t know you could set number of copies. I’ll check on this, it would be useful :slight_smile:

OK, good call, I’ll have a look at that.