Scrivener won't open

My laptop was shut down accidentally while Scrivener was open. After rebooting, it now won’t open. I’m not getting an error message. I just keep clicking on my recent file to open it and zero happens. I’ve tried shutting down and rebooting again, but still no joy. I couldn’t even quit scrivener first so I had to force quit. But it’s still not responding. Please help.


Okay the first thing you will want to do is set aside the last backup of this project from before the laptop failure. You will find instructions for restoring backups in §7.8.4 (pg. 67) of the user manual. Note the manual directs you to the backup folder via a tool within the software, and as I understand it, you can’t get the software open right now. So you will need to navigate there manually using Finder. If you need help with that let me know where you purchased the software from, as Apple’s store requires software to use a non-standard location to save their preferences and support files in. Once you have found your backups and set aside the latest (or even all available) Zip files to a second location, proceed with the following.

I’m not clear on whether you’re having troubles opening Scrivener, or a particular project. Is it hanging when you try to launch the software, or do the problems only start when you load the project that was open during the system crash? If the answer to that question is impossible to distinguish based upon the auto-load feature that restores open projects when you next use Scrivener, then please move your project to another location and launch Scrivener. This will break the auto-load link and cause the software to start without any projects. If you get the new project template chooser and can repeatedly quit and launch Scrivener without troubles, then at that point try loading the project by double-clicking on it in Finder.

Thanks, ok, I will need some help locating the backup folder in Finder. I can’t find it. I purchased scrivener direct from literature and latte.

The trouble seems to be with launching Scrivener. The new project template chooser sometimes appears on launch, but doesn’t display any images. I tried to start a new blank project to see if that might work, but Scrivener is not responding to that either. I get what you’re saying though about the auto-load feature and how my project could be preventing the software from launching successfully. So I guess once I figure out how to make this backup I can give your next suggestion a shot. I’ll wait to hear more about locating the backup folder.

Thanks for your help!

Okay! Given your description, I think the good news could be that there is nothing wrong with your project at all, and something has just gone afoul with the installed version of Scrivener that you are running. That is easy to fix, if it is the problem. Since we’ve put out a significant update since the turning of this year anyway, it would be a good idea to update. Rather than use the built-in update tool, a better solution will be to do a complete reinstall, just to make sure all of the gremlins are worked out.

To do so, simply locate Scrivener in your Applications folder and move it to the trash icon in the Dock. Empty the trash, and then download a fresh copy of Scrivener from our website. Choose the appropriate installer based on your Mac OS X version. I would at this point do a reboot just to make sure we have a fresh start, then launch Scrivener and see how it goes. It probably won’t load your project even if it works, as it sounds like it has lost track of it anyway if the template chooser has come up before. So once you have it running without a hang, try opening the project. Hopefully it will be all clear and we won’t even have to mess with finding a backup.

If Scrivener is still barely running or not at all after the reinstall, we’ll go a bit deeper into troubleshooting why that is. There are still many things we can check. For instance it is possible that something you’ve installed between then and now is conflicting with Scrivener—but one thing at a time. :slight_smile:

Cool, so just to be sure I understand this correctly (probably a dumb question sorry, I’m not very tech savvy) - I can delete the application without it deleting my current project? So I don’t have to worry about locating that backup yet?

Just wanted to check before I do something drastic that can’t be undone… :unamused:


That is correct. On a computer, software is a key that unlocks your data, it is not a vault that encloses your data. You can annihilate it from your drive and not use it for fifteen years, and then one day decide to install it and all of your old files will open up in it again. While Scrivener is uninstalled, your project will look like a folder with a bunch of files in it. That’s okay, that’s what a project really is underneath everything. Once Scrivener is installed again, it will tell the Mac that a folder ending in “.scriv” should look and act like a file, and it will get a special icon again.

Aaaargh… now I can’t download scrivener. I deleted the original application and emptied the trash like you said. But when I try to download a new one I get this message “The Finder can’t complete the operation because some data in “Scrivener” can’t be read or written.(Error code -36)”
I think this happened when I first purchased Scrivener as well - it was pretty recent, two months back? - but I was able to download the trial version and then use my purchase number to upgrade, and that worked. This time I can’t even download the trial version. Ugh, what on earth is going on??

… the failed download is the same version as I had up and running previously… (FYI)

That sort of error indicates a low level read/write problem with the computer, which is rather vague. It can be anything from a loose cable to a failing file system to a hard drive that is about to fail (be especially concerned with the latter if it has been making funny noises lately). I would recommend backing up your drive as soon as possible and either taking it to an Apple store for repair, or having a knowledgeable friend do system maintenance and disk repair routines. Like I say, it could just be a loose cable, but worst case your drive could be close to collapse. Never underestimate error 36, especially if you seem to be having troubles with software corrupting over time.

Sorry to be the bearer of potentially bad news like that.

You may be able to reboot, or move some files around and get Scrivener.dmg downloaded with error 36, but that doesn’t mean the problem is fixed, it just means Scrivener.dmg is no longer triggering it. I hesitate to even suggest that as a temporary solution though, because the underlying problem should be located and fixed post haste no matter if you can get one file downloaded off of the Internet.

Okay, thank you! Eek! Fingers crossed it’s nothing terminal. Will get it checked out ASAP.

I have almost all my files backed up with Carbonite, the only thing I’m not sure of is those Scrivener files. Because I don’t know where they are I can’t check whether they’ve been recently backed up. Could you please give me some idea of where I might find them? Thank you!

Okay good, depending on your backup settings with Carbonite you’re probably already covered for Scrivener. If it is set to keep your user folder backed up in its entirety, that is where most people store their projects, and it is where the software by default stores its automatic backups. If you’ve never changed where and how Scrivener makes its own backups, then they will be located in the Application Support folder for Scrivener (you can get there by using the main Scrivener menu to “Reveal Support Folder in Finder”; you’ll find a backups folder in there).

To find your projects, you’ll find another convenience tool in the File menu to locate all projects in Spotlight. This usually works well, so long as your entire computer is scanned by Spotlight. It is possible to disable Spotlight in various degrees, and sometimes external drives are not indexed—so it might miss a few spots, but so long as you use a fairly standard setup it should find everything. In a Spotlight search result window, you can turn the path bar on at the bottom with View/Show Path Bar and then click on projects to view where they are located. Like I say, if they are in your user folder and Carbonite backs that up, you should already be okay.

Thanks very much, found them. They’re all backed up. Now off to find out what’s up with this computer…

Great! I hope it turns out to be something simple and benign.