Scrivener will not start - PCA2 Not Available

I’ve been using Scrivener for some months on a daily basis. Last night my Windows 7 machine automatically installed the latest updates from Microsoft, then rebooted. Since then I have been unable to get Scrivener to start. I found multiple entries like the one below (one for each time I tried to start Scrivener) in “Event Viewer” > “Windows Logs” > “Application”. What does this mean, and how can I get Scrivener to work again?

  • System
    • Provider
      [ Name] Windows Error Reporting
    • EventID 1001
      [ Qualifiers] 0
      Level 4
      Task 0
      Keywords 0x80000000000000
    • TimeCreated
      [ SystemTime] 2017-04-13T02:39:43.000000000Z
      EventRecordID 421661
      Channel Application
      Computer rk-PC
  • EventData
    Not available
    Scrivener HQ Pty Ltd.
    C:\Users\rk\AppData\Local\Temp{58f81895-6ff2-40fe-a62b-ea76ab293962}\appcompat.txt C:\Users\rk\AppData\Local\Temp\Tab7F6D.tmp

The PCA2 message may be a red herring, from when I tried to resolve the problem using Microsoft’s compatibility mode to select a different operating system than I have. I disabled compatibility mode. Now Scrivener doesn’t start, and there is no indication of anything in the Event Log. :frowning:

Next diagnostic step: uninstall and reinstall Scrivener. I’ll report what happens.

After uninstalling and reinstalling Scrivener, Scrivener starts fine. I can open the tutorial project fine. But when I try to open my book, Scrivener crashes.

The Scrivener project for the book is on Google drive. So is a small Scrivener project I use for testing things. Scrivener opens the test project fine - and crashes when I try to open the book.

I copied the projects to my local (C:) drive. I get the same results with Scrivener. So there appears to be something wrong with the book - so wrong that Scrivener crashes without reporting a problem.

ONCE this resulted in an error message appearing in the logs: “Event Viewer” > “Windows Logs” > “Application” shows the following:

Faulting application name: Scrivener.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x57f6b343
Faulting module name: ntdll.dll, version: 6.1.7601.23714, time stamp: 0x58bf8715
Exception code: 0xc0000374
Fault offset: 0x000ce8fb
Faulting process id: 0x3340
Faulting application start time: 0x01d2b4608ac18c00
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Scrivener\Scrivener.exe
Faulting module path: C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ntdll.dll
Report Id: f4ccfc2b-2053-11e7-8284-005056c00008

But Scrivener has crashed in multiple tests in the past hour. It is disturbing that only one of them resulted in a log entry.

Is there a way to identify and fix the problem? Is there a debugging version of Scrivener available - if so, I’d be happy to run it.

This looks like a problem that you will hardly get a solution to from fellow writers in the public forum. Send an email to L&L support instead, describing the problem and the logs you have.

Hi Rich,

As Lunk suggested, you should contact the L&L Windows support team for this.

But I do have some suggestions.

Because you can open the tutorial project, this problem sounds specific to one project

Based on that, you should IMMEDIATELY COPY ALL of your Scrivener backups for the problem project out of the current backup folder, to a local folder somewhere on your hard drive. The reason for this is that, depending on your backup settings, if your project is now corrupt, you may be overwriting valid backups of it with backups of the corrupt version each time you try to open the corrupt project.

Then try opening these backups and see if anything is recoverable.

FYI, keeping your active project on Google Drive is not best practice and could lead to syncing problems. It is possible this is related to your current problem. Please see the advisory in the Cloud Syncing Knowledge Base.


Jim, thanks for your excellent advice. I copied everything in the project itself, plus the five backups (.ZIP files) Scrivener created when I closed the project. Since I do this at least once per day - and (YES!) Scrivener was able to work with the most recent backup just fine, I lost very little work. And the new text I entered is available to me in the DOCS*.RTF files, only a few of which were changed after the most recent backup was created.

I’ve reorganized my workflow so everything is on the local disk, with periodic backups to Google Drive. This isn’t really what I want, because it means I can’t easily switch between my laptop and my desktop.

I do have the complete project which crashes Scrivener. If someone can tell me how to get Scrivener.exe’s --log option to redirect output into a file, I think I’d have a really good clue about what’s going on. Instead, I see a message appear in the Debug window (where the log output goes) just before the window disappears.

That’s great news Rich! Happy to hear that you were able to recover your work.

I can’t help with your log question, but there are a number of extremely knowledgeable Windows tech types who frequent this forum, hopefully one of them will chime in.

What I will suggest though is that a Dropbox Basic account (2 GB) is free and can handle Scrivener’s multi-file design. If you download the Dropbox app to both of your Win PCs and store your live project files in the Dropbox folder on each, you will be able to seamlessly switch between PCs. The key is to always close the project and confirm Dropbox syncing is done on PC A, then confirm Dropbox syncing is done on PC B, before opening the project on PC B.

Depending on what’s going on in my life, on any given day I could be writing on a PC and/or an iPad and/or an iPhone, and I haven’t experienced any syncing issues with Scrivener. My live projects are on Dropbox, and I send zipped backups to MS OneDrive. (Google Drive would work just as well for storing backups.)

I know some folks are opposed to Dropbox, but it would simplify your workflow.

If you just don’t want Dropbox, the safest alternative is to use your zipped backups to transfer your project from one PC to the other. When you are done working on PC A, close Scrivener and a zipped backup (BKUP1) will be sent to Google Drive. On PC B, download BKUP1, unzip it and begin working – this is now your latest version of the live project. When you are done working on PC B, close Scrivener and a zipped backup (BKUP2) will be sent to Google Drive. Back on PC A, you need to disposition your old version of the project – I used to append the project folder name with ‘OLD’. Then download BKUP2, unzip it and begin working – this is now your latest version of the live project.

Prior to getting Dropbox, this was the process I used to work on two PCs. It’s a bit cumbersome, but works fine as long as you remember where the latest version of your project is!

The Dropbox solution is definitely more elegant. :slight_smile:

Hope that helps,

Thanks, Jim!

Still trying to figure out why my project crashes Scrivener. Running “ScrivenerLog.bat” as Administrator worked - I have a log file. It shows a quick failure trying to open the project that crashes Scrivener:

Warning: [ 1738 ] "Unexpected tag on line 2227. Expected tag BinderItem" @ 2227 0 Warning: [ 1738 ] "Unexpected tag on line 2227. Expected tag BinderItem" @ 2227 0

Perhaps someone who has the Scrivener for Windows source code can figure out what this means. No file in my project directories (including the .scrivx file) has more than a thousand lines - what does the 2227 mean and where does this number come from?

Whoops - I got confused between the corrupt project and an earlier backup of the project. In the corrupt project, the project .scrivx file is exactly 2226 lines long, and clearly stops in the middle of some XML. Lines which are present in the backup copy are simply not there in the corrupt project. Apparently something caused writing of this file to be interrupted before it was complete, and the disaster ensued.

The problem is explained at least in part. What caused the aborted write of the .scrivx file will never be known.

It would be nice if Scrivener didn’t replace working .scrivx files with half-baked (so to speak) non-functional replacements. :slight_smile:

Have you emailed our support address?

A “half-baked” non-functional .scrivx file could easily be a result of a synchronization error, for instance if the Windows reboot occurred while Google Drive was synchronizing changes with their server.