Scriviner erasing files?

Hi Everyone,
I bought Scriviner about 6 months ago. As a fiction and blog writer, I’ve found it invaluable and I’ve been singing the program praises and recommending it to others.

Then, a few weeks ago, I discovered that files I had created in Scriviner had suddenly disappeared. A blog post and author newsletter that I know I created went missing and I couldn’t find them anywhere - not on my computer hard drive, not on my jumpdrive (where they were created) and not on Dropbox or any of my backup areas. Today I find that a business plan I created that week also has now disappeared.

It has to be Scriviner, since the document disappeared completely from every place that I had a backup for it. I know that another writer on a group I belong to also mentioned having this problem. Is there some kind of glitch in the Mac version of the program?

I adore the program and don’t want to stop using it but I’m now extremely paranoid. I’m basically saving a Word backup of every document I create with Scriviner to make sure it doesn’t disappear!


Just to say that I’m sorry about your losses, but in eight years and the writing of hundreds of thousands of words using Scrivener, I’ve never lost anything (a much better record than I previously experienced with MS Word).

Maybe I’ve been lucky. But if I were in your position, I’d look carefully at the means you’re using to save your projects, for example your jump drive (e.g. is it good enough for Scrivener’s automatic frequent saving?), the procedures and processes you’re using (e.g. are you leaving enough time for saving and backing up to take place before quitting the software?), and any other applications or hardware (e.g. your computer’s USB socket) that might conceivably have interfered with the saving process.

Are you using any third-party backup software?

Have you checked Scrivener’s own automatic backups? They can be found by going to Scrivener -> Preferences -> Backups and clicking the button to open the backup folder in Finder.

Scrivener has no mechanism for deleting complete projects. Even if you want to remove one, you have to go through Finder to do it.

The most likely causes for something like this are (a) failure of the system to save the project in the first place, (b) rogue backup software, or © a Dropbox synchronization error.

For example, there have been cases where backup software “helpfully” deleted files that it thought were duplicates, and another where it turned out that the backup was current but the live project was not. With Dropbox, if a project is deleted in one location, the deletion will propagate to all other synchronized systems. In one situation, a user had failed to deauthorize his work computer when he changed jobs, and so when his former employer wiped his computer, all his other systems lost data as well.

I would also check to make sure you have adequate space in your save locations. In some cases, running out of space can cause the system to silently delete older files to make room.


Thank you for letting me know about the Backup file. I did find the files that I couldn’t find before there. It could very well be an issue with Dropbox, since I use that as one of my backups for my work.

Having said that…

I don’t appreciate the implication that it was MY fault that the files got lost. I am not some idiot who just started using a Mac last year. I’ve been using Macs since the late 1980’s and I’ve had to learn a lot of different computer programs for both work and fun. There is nothing wrong with my computer or my backups. If there were, they wouldn’t be working for all my other files other than the Scriviner ones, would they? And how do you explain that the Scratchpad isn’t working for me now either? I don’t back up the scratchpad or the Scriviner program.


That seems to be an unfortunate misreading of what seems to me to be very helpful advice/guidance regarding the possible reasons for the loss of your files - especially the details regarding the potential for Dropbox to mess with your work. If you found them in the backups, then Scrivener almost certainly didn’t delete them. And if you didn’t know about the Backup file, you should probably read up on it as it’s a very useful feature. I’m afraid I can’t help you with the Scratchpad issue, and I’m not entirely sure what you mean when you say you don’t back up the Scrivener program.

Because of Scrivener’s project format, it is not at all unusual for backup and synchronization software that works fine with other programs to cause problems for Scrivener projects. Synchronization is also a very new capability for consumer software, and introduces new interactions that even very experienced computer users may not have encountered before. I would encourage anyone considering a synchronization service to read the best practices thread in this forum.

Since you didn’t mention Scratchpad’s failure, it would have been somewhat difficult to explain it before. For Scratchpad, the first thing to check would be to make sure that the Scratchpad file location (which is given in the Scrivener -> Preferences -> General tab) is accessible from Finder. Also, if the Scratchpad notes are in the same location as the projects themselves, then whatever affected the projects might have had a similarly noxious impact on the Scratchpad.

If you don’t backup your Scratchpad notes, you should. They are stored outside of any Scrivener project, and therefore are not protected by Scrivener’s automatic backups.