Several empty files after closing a project and opening it again

I have used Scrivener 1.02 in the past for years, and now I have Scrivener on a Windows 10 PC. The following thing has happened to me several times over the years, with the old Scrivener version, but now also with the new version:

I close and save my Scrivener project, and when I open it again the next day, one (or sometimes even a few files, up to ten files) that contained text are now completely empty. They are still in the binder, but the text in it is gone. It happens out of the blue, I have got no idea why it happens and when it will happen. It happens to random files, sometimes it is the file I was working on just before I closed the project, but sometimes it happens to files I haven’t even looked at for weeks, and then I only discover after a few days that it has happened again.

I have told Scrivener to make an automatic back-up on closing a project, and the weirdest thing is that in this automatic back up the corrupted files are not corrupted at all, and still contain all the text. The first time this happened I was in a panic, but now I know I just have to open the back-up project and everything is all right again.

I like working with Scrivener, but I cannot trust it when this keeps happening every now and then.
Am I the only one this has happened to? Has anyone any idea why this happens? Is it a bug in Scrivener? And is so, can it be repaired?

Welcome to the forum!

These are classic symptoms of a sync issue or an incomplete sync. It’s not Scrivener.

What program do you use to sync?

[edited - hit send before finished :person_facepalming:]


Thank you FamilyPuzzleSolver for your answer, and for trying to solve this ‘puzzle’!

But I do not sync, I don’t even know how I should do that. I only have got one computer, my Windows 10 PC, and I never use the cloud. I only back up my files the old fashioned way: on an external hard disk.

I’ve got this disappearing text-problem only with Scrivener, never with any other program. And I’ve experienced it also on my previous PC (Windows 8) and then also only with Scrivener, I had version 1.2 back then.

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Are you sure your files aren’t being saved in OneDrive? It’s pretty well integrated into Windows these days. The items appearing in the binder but documents appearing blank is a pretty classic indicator of a sync issue. Often on Windows, it’s because files aren’t saved using “Files on Demand” so Windows is saving them in an online format. This disrupts Scrivener’s ability to display your data.

The other thought that comes to mind based on your initial description is you might have live files and backups in the same folder. You mentioned that you’ve found your missing data in your backups—are you opening backups directly in the backup folder or moving them out before opening? And are you making your backup your new “live” file or importing the missing data into your original live file? If picking up the backup as your new live file, do you move it out of the backup folder?

If the latter is the issue (backups and live files in the same folder), you should be getting an error when you open Scrivener letting you know your file isn’t saved in an appropriate location.


Thanks for the suggestions JenT.

I never use Onedrive, and I have looked at Windows Synchronisation Center, it says there are no Synchronisation Relations. So I don’t think it is a synchronisation issue.

I let Scrivener make back ups in a different folder than the folder where I keep my live projects. My back up folder is not the folder Scrivener suggested originally as back up folder, though. I have asked Scrivener to use a different back up folder, and I use zipped back ups.

If text gets lost in my Scrivener project, I copy the back up zipfile to another folder and unzip and open it there. If a lot of text is missing from the original project I use a copy of the back up file (in a new folder) as my new project file. If only the text of one file is missing from my project, I copy the text out of the back up project, and paste it into the corrupted project.

I have got another problem with textfiles in Scrivener projects, a minor problem, but perhaps the two problems are related.
When the amount of text in a file in a Scrivener project exceeds a certain limit and I open the file, it always opens with the cursor on the same completely random sentence. Not at the beginning or the end of the text, not at the last word I have typed, but just randomly somewhere in the middle of the text. With each big file Scrivener has another fixed random place in the text on which it always opens the file, like there is an anchor in the text there, but I haven’t put it there, and it doesn’t help to delete the sentence and type it anew, either. It is really annoying, because I would like the file to open on the word I have typed last.

I have tried all kinds of solutions for this too, but nothing works. The only solution is to accept this is what happens, or splitting the file into smaller files.

Doesn’t mean OneDrive didn’t snatch the files from your computer to free up space.

It happens often enough.

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Just to be sure, type “Onedrive” in the search area of the Taskbar. If the Onedrive app comes up, then it’s installed on your PC.



Thanks for your help, Jim.
Onedrive was indeed installed on my PC, I have now uninstalled it. At least that’s what Windows tells me it did. It isn’t in the list of installed programs anymore, so I hope it is really completely uninstalled and won’t be installed again at the next automatic Windows-update.

I hope this is the solution to the disappearing text problem in Scrivener, but I won’t know for sure until half a year or so has passed, because sometimes the problem doesn’t happen for four or five months.

I have OneDrive as an alternative manual weekly Scrivener backup facility. I use it for other things too. On Windows 11, it’s incorporated into File Explorer for a seamless experience–and makes sense.

My experience is it never snatches anything from my hard drive and didn’t do so even back when I used Windows 10 till around late 2021. Whatever its content, for all intents and purposes, it acts as a static storage area, though Microsoft 365 (MS’s oddball newish name for Office) does actively prompt a user to backup Microsoft-type documents (and only those types) every once in a while, which I decline by instinct.

Years ago, MS devolved OneNote into a cloud-based OneDrive only app but came to their senses after three years of user-gripes that the new OneNote, aimed at their recent acne survivor user base, was a dud.

I had it do it to me once. I’ve since entirely eradicated the thing.
I know what I am doing. I don’t need someone else to be using my toothbrush without telling me.
– Thanks but no thanks.


Doesn’t whether the file is stored on your hard drive depend on the Files On-Demand setting? (At least that’s what it’s called on Win10.) For users with Files On-Demand enabled, I would think “snatching” would be a strong possibility, particualarly for seldom-used files. Otherwise, what’s the point of the setting? (But perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you guys mean by “snatching” :innocent: )

It is. As already noted upthread by @FamilyPuzzleSolver, what you’ve been experiencing is a classic symptom reported by many posters who (intentionally or not) use a cloud service with Scrivener.



I’m also wondering if (and hoping that) the OP @sdghki retrieved the Scrivener files [probably] taken by OneDrive.


That would be a good thing to check. I don’t know about OneDrive, but taking similar action against iCloud Drive can result in “snatched” files only being accessible through the iCloud web interface.

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It so nice of you, rms, worrying about my lost text.
But I always ask Scrivener to make an automatic back up when closing my project, and luckily, in this back up the text in the files is not lost.
I am very happy I have got those back ups, otherwise I would have lost months of work over the years, and, as much as I like working with Scrivener, I would have thrown Scrivener out of the window.

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Scrivener has nothing to do with this.

The only difference between Scrivener and other apps (as regard to this here case), is that Scrivener relies on a set of files, instead of having you fight your way through, working on your book or whatnot, a single gigantic one.

This said : glad you are OK in the end. :+1:


It is Windows and Onedrive failing you.


You’re on the OneDrive subscription plan. I’m on the free plan, which is more than enough for my needs.
My Files-on-Demand setting is off, so I seem to have auto-protected myself without realising it.
Thanks for the input.