Search function, not responding

Hi all,

When I use the search function (the “global” one, not “find on page”), Scrivener stops responding.

I have a few relatively large Scrivener projects, and they all have the same problem. (I don’t experience this problem with my smaller projects.)

The search function used to work just fine when the projects were smaller. As the projects started getting larger, each search took quite a bit longer, often showing “not responding” for a number of seconds or even a couple of minutes – which was fine and completely understandable.

However, at some point, it seems the search function just stopped working. It doesn’t matter how long I wait (hours), it doesn’t finish, doesn’t come out of the “not responding” state. To continue, I have to close Scrivener (all open projects) and start it up again.

Anyone else experiencing the same problem? Did you solve it, and if so, how?

Many thanks in advance!

What media (or online?) are you storing on?
How big is the project?
If it is on an HDD then have you defragmented?
Have you checked the disk drive media?


Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, much appreciated! :slight_smile:

I’m using a laptop, storing on a regular hard drive (not external, not Dropbox or anything like that). Windows 8.1.

Hmm, difficult to tell… The .scrivx project file itself is approx 12MB at the moment. (Is there a function that counts how many pages, words etc? I haven’t been able to find it.)

Yes. It didn’t help.

Sorry, I’m not sure what you mean? But there seems to be no problem with my hard drive or laptop in general; there’s plenty of storage space and plenty of memory available. No other issues when running other programs, like working with huge files in Photoshop.

12 MB does not seem to be very large for Scrivener. So that is unlikely to be an issue.

Other people aren’t reporting the issue, but you are so we can assume something is different on your machine.

If there was a bad sector on your drive where a file was written, that could cause this issue. Multiple bad sectors can cause the drive to have to read many times. Since Windows might need to read the sectors many times to retrieve the data. If you issue a command prompt and type chkdsk /r press enter and then reboot. Windows will read the entire drive and make sure it is all readable. If it finds weak spots it will try and recover the data and move it elsewhere. You can search chkdsk /r or chkdsk to get more information. The fact that this is getting worse over time, increases the possibility it is a hdd issue.

Other potential issues, particularly on a laptop, would be: laptop overheating, anti-virus interfering as it checks every file as you do your search. Turn off the antivirus first, before the chkdsk /r would be smart, as a very damaged drive can get worse by using windows repair tool. Antivirus checking each file could be an issue with many small scrivener files where it is much less an issue loading a single large image file. Also, you might check Task manager to determine if something else starts running and using your cpu at that time.

You shouldn’t be looking at the .scrivx file to determine the project size, but the whole .scriv folder with everything inside it. For instance, all the individual documents you see in the binder, together with other files like notes, are stored in the “Files” folder within the main .scriv folder.


I reported similar search issues and an issue with dual pane scrolling in very large projects and suspect your search issue is related to the same memory issue mentioned by Jeff in his response (Below). I’m confident your issue isn’t related to your local resources. I have sixty four gig of ram, two quad core 3+ ghz xeon processors and a hardware SSD raid and have experienced similar search lock-ups. My work around is painful but may help. Break the project up into smaller projects. Then bring them into a final binder in a new project for compile. I’ve started adding more keywords, labels and meta tags too. You can give scrivener processes higher priority to speed searches a bit by opening Task Manager, show processes from all users, select the process, right click and set priority to Above Normal. A panel in “options” for a user to set their own memory resource limit preferences for scrivener would be an ideal solution in conjunction with dynamic resource allocation.