Scrivener's "backup" on close is UNACCEPTABLE!

Yesterday, I was working on a document when, for some mysterious Windows reason (it was not a stuck key), my keyboard decided to send an infinite stream of “delete” characters to my computer when I wasn’t typing other characters.

This quickly destroyed much of my Scrivener document. I exited Scrivener. I saw the message “Making backup”–that automatic backup that I hate so much, because it creates useless backups whenever I open Scrivener just to read an old document. But I didn’t worry about it, because–it’s just a backup, right? It’s not actually saving the document without being asked to when it says it’s making a backup?

Guess what? It is! It’s NOT MAKING A BACKUP; it overwrites the current version. So when I got my computer keyboard working again, and opened up the file again–it was the destroyed version.

Making automatic BACKUPS is fine. Automatically SAVING the file on exit, when I have not asked it to save it, is not acceptable. At all. What if I’ve made changes I mean to just throw away by closing the document? There’s no way to do that! Besides the problem mentioned above, of cluttering up and confusing my backups folder every time I just want to read a file.

So the auto-backup system didn’t BACK UP my document, it destroyed it. It’s gone, irretrievably.

Hi Adrian,

Every time you close Scrivener, it makes a zipped backup of your project, in the folder specified in Scrivener’s Backup Location setting.

I recommend that you find the last zipped backup made by Scrivener before this writing session with the keyboard snafu, and restore your project from that.

Also, I think you’d benefit by reading the chapter in the Scrivener manual that discusses backing up your work. It would improve your understanding of how Scrivener saves and makes backups.


Scrivener auto-saves at regular intervals, including when the project is closed.

It also backs up at regular intervals, as specified by the relevant options. By default, one of these takes places when the project is closed.

However, “saving” and “backup” are distinct operations. A backup, no matter when it is taken, will always capture the state of the project at that moment, however misguided it may be. This is why Scrivener keeps several backups, one of which should contain the prior state of the project.

While the autosave feature does not help you in a situation like this, it absolutely does save you in cases of system crashes, abrupt power failures, and absentmindedly walking away from your computer without saving. We see the save and backup features as working in tandem to protect your work at as many points along the way as possible.