Scrivener Request. Offering $$ for Help Recovering Project(s)

heyahey! i am needing direct support from someone who knows scrivener and has advanced knowledge on how to recover files that have been deleted from computers. p please. i would like to screen share while on a call together to work it out. thanks beyond thanks in advance.

here is more info:

i backed up all my files to my google drive so i could clear my desktop. i threw everything from the desktop to the recycling bin and emptied the recycling bin. then i went to open the scrivener files that i had backed up onto google drive and found that they do open… but with error messages. i find that only the title of each file in the binder is still in the binder. the meat of the writing of the files is at the bottom of the scrivener project under “recovered files”. that meat does not seem to match up with the titles above in the binder in an orderly fashion; that writing is not able to be copied and pasted; and i do not know how to merge or do whatever i need to do to recover the file correctly. it is possible that i am just incorrectly downloading it… or that when it uploaded to my google drive, it did not bring all of the files needed to download it properly and that we will need to recover the files from beyond the recycling bin.

i can be reached at 337-344-4664 or

Have you looked at Scrivener’s own automatic backups? They can be found by going to Scrivener -> Preferences -> Backups, and opening the backup folder in Finder.

You might want to have people contact you via forum message rather than publishing your contact info. Let me know if you’d like me to redact that for you.

Moving to Scrivener support forum.


If you have an automatic backup with your most recent changes, as Katherine suggested, that’s the easiest solution. If not, however, it sounds as though your project files are all present, just not matching up correctly to the project’s index file. I’ve seen cases in the past where files downloaded from Google Drive have had their name changed, e.g. with a date stamp attached. Such a name change would prevent Scrivener’s recognizing the file, causing it to come up as a “Recovered File” instead of being properly associated with its title in the binder.

If Google Drive still has a copy of the project, you could trash the one that you previously downloaded, download it afresh, then dig into the package structure to check the files before opening the project in Scrivener. To do that, Ctrl-click the .scriv file and choose “Show Package Contents”. Then go through and look at the file names. Within the Data folder will be multiple folders named with a letter/number string, which shouldn’t have any spaces, underscores, or brackets. Files within those folders should just be called “content”, “notes”, or “synopsis-image”, again without dates, spaces, underscores, or brackets. If you see that the names aren’t correct, you can edit them to remove the extra added by Google Drive.

You may also be able to get around the problem by changing how you’re downloading the files from Google Drive, if the name is correct on Drive but not once it’s copied back to wherever you store the files locally. I’m not familiar enough with GD to advise on this specifically, but I’ve seen indications that using Google’s sync app vs. the webpage can treat files a bit differently, so that may be something to investigate. If you do have to rename the files yourself, a bulk renamer may do the trick, using RegEx to match the bit you need to strip out. Be sure you have a backup of the project (even if it’s just what you currently have in Google Drive) before making changes to it.

i really appreciate the generous help that has been extended so far and am going to reply with more info in the next post.

does anybody have suggestions for how to find someone to usher me through this live time on a call together?

i am combing this wonderful resource of the forum, and also: I still am hoping for someone who has been down and through this hole to get on a call with me and screen share to help me work through it; that will go so much more quickly than this. i am happy to trade services or pay - because i feel desperate and because i value energy exchange.

Katherine, My autosave backup options were set to the desktop (which I dragged and dropped directly into google drive without zipping to save). And so, those original autosave docs got erased in the recycling bin on my desktop before I realized that there would be an issue opening the project.

MimeticMouton, I have digested and done almost all of what you suggested. In doing so, more questions came into form.

Here is more info on my tangle for those who feel they have the ability to support and lend the hard-earned wisdoms (and please forgive the erratic capitalization):

I made a copy of the project in google drive folder before I started to manipulate the files. Found that I could only “show contents” once the scriv file is on the actual desktop. each of the data folders does not have brackets, underscores, or spaces, but the data folders do have -(dashes). When I open the data folders, only some of them have content docs and some do not.

When I open the project, I get this message “Files were recovered. While the project was opening, files were detected within the project package that do not exist in the binder. This may have been caused by a permissions conflict, in which the file system refused the deletion of files from inside the .scriv package that had been deleted from the project binder, or by synchronization between different versions of the project (e.g. on a cloud service).

The recovered files can be found in the “Recovered Files” folder at the bottom of the binder.””

-is the original problem that got me into this mess that I originally saved the scrivener project to my desktop and then uploaded it from my desktop to the google drive —— without the project being zipped any of those times?
-now, in order to work with the project file, I have to download the different folders from my google drive onto my desktop in a zip folder. i end up with a .scriv which then opens up into a .scrivx along with “files”, “quicklook”, and “settings” folders. But is it normal for google drive - when zipping a file - to give a pop up prompt that makes me leave the site before the zip finishes… and then shows immediately after that the zip has finished? Starting to think I am losing some of the necessary info for the project during this zip process; and I cannot seem to find a way other than zipping to move the project off of google drive.
-Some of the 1631 items in the data folder have content and some don’t. The ones that do are named “content.docx”. Might removing the .docx from all of them be helpful?
-also in the data folder is a random file not in a folder that is a white page icon and is named “docs.checksum”. What is that?
-is a dash okay in a data folder name?

the most thankful,

Answering in somewhat backward order, it sounds like the file and folder name are OK except for that .docx extension. The docs.checksum and the folders in the Data directory all sound fine; the folders would be named things like 37330BD9-0D35-4B33-A93B-EB8C793AFC7E and could be empty–the folder matches a binder item, but if the item doesn’t have any content (e.g. a folder you’ve created just to organize sub files, but it doesn’t have any text of its own), there would be no “content” file within it.

The “content.docx” indicates a problem, though. Scrivener uses .rtf files and any imported .docx files would have been converted, so it sounds like something happened either when uploading or downloading from Google Drive. Google does have ways to convert files, so although I’m not sure what the default settings are or how it would have handled this, it doesn’t seem at all impossible. Scrivener wouldn’t recognize them, so loading the corresponding binder item would give you an empty editor.

The “Recovered” files are documents that Scrivener finds within the project’s folder that don’t exist in the index, so it doesn’t have a way to match them with existing binder entries and creates the new entries for them. Since they are being recovered, at least we’re assured your text is in there, even if it’s not all recognized in the place it’s supposed to be.

Are you able to see within the project’s .scriv folder on Google Drive and determine if the files are RTF or DOCX there? My guess is that the conversion would’ve been on upload, but if they are still RTF there, maybe there is a setting you can change that will enable you to download the folder without that changing. (And yes, I believe Google Drive always zips folders when you download them.) You could also check if there’s any sort of file history for the items that would let you roll back to a version before it was converted.

If neither of those works, you may be stuck with some manual cleanup. Going back to your initial post, it sounded like all the text of your project is present, just out of order and no longer matching its original binder title. But you also said it couldn’t be copied and pasted–does this mean Scrivener’s treating it as some kind of uneditable document in the editor?

If you like, you can send a copy of the .zipped project to the Mac tech support email (or send a link to download if, if the file is over 10MB) at AT ATTN: Jennifer and I can take a look. I may not be able to clean it all up for you, since I won’t know what goes where, but we can at least get a better idea of what’s in the project package and how to sort it out.

Moving forward, there are a couple of things to do to avoid the problem in the future. First, be sure that you have the automatic backups enabled in Scrivener’s preferences and that you’re saving them to a location distinct from where you’re keeping the active copy of the project that you’re working in. (In fact, Scrivener tries to prevent you from having these in the same place, so I may be misunderstanding how you had your backups vs. main project stored. If your backups were on the desktop, where is your working project stored?)

I highly recommend using the zip option for the backups, as it helps prevent you accidentally opening and editing the backup and also compacts the project folder into a single file that you can then move or copy to another drive, sync to a cloud service, etc. without the complications of working with multiple folders and files. (Although macOS treats the .scriv folder as a single file, it is really a folder of numerous files, as you’re seeing.)

Also look over the settings in Preferences > Backup to be sure they fit your work style–e.g. the default is to create a backup when the project closes, but you may prefer to make it on open, or also trigger it with the Save command. You can likewise choose how many backups to keep before old ones are deleted to make room for the new. You want to have a system that will give you a decent selection of backups to choose from if something goes wrong, so if you’re a compulsive Cmd-S typer, triggering a backup with every Save wouldn’t be a helpful choice.

If you want to store backups in Google Drive, having them zipped before uploading will be your best choice and will avoid any of these weird conversion or renaming issues occurring within the project. If you have the desktop app such that you could save straight to Google Drive and wish to do so, creating the backups as a zip should do the trick. Once you have your project cleaned up, you can test this by creating a backup, then closing the project, downloading the backup from Google, extracting it, and opening that project backup to make sure it works right. If it does, trash your downloaded copy and you’re good to go.