So how do people back up Scrivener projects?

I know, if you have (Scrivener) backups on, your backups will be backed up to your backup disk, but how do people back up their project itself?

I don’t use Time Machine, but another program, which can either dissect bundles and back up their parts, or can back up bundles as wholes.

In another program that I use, which also saves its projects as bundles, changes to the project do not necessarily change the modification date of the bundle (something inside is modified, but the outside folder is not modified), which means that changes are not backed up if you look at the outer modification date. So I now back up piecewise, adding or deleting files from within the bundle (which is also more efficient).

In theory, backing up piecewise should be the same as backing up as a whole. But the one time that I had to restore a Scrivener project from a backup (my backup, not a Scrivener backup), Scrivener complained that the project was out of whack (but seemed to accept it anyway).

Any thoughts about whether it is better to back up Scrivener projects piece-wise or as wholes? Does Scrivener guarantee that any change to part of the project will be reflected in the modification date of the project? (I read the Apple documentation on bundles, and was surprised that this issue was not addressed).

This is not a pressing issue, as I back up my (Scrivener) backups, so I can always restore from them if my hard disk melts down (or computer is lost).



I recommend backing up whole projects rather than in pieces, or you could run into problems when trying to restore from a backup. It’s best to think of a .scriv project as a single file for this sort of thing.
All the best,

Wholes. Only as wholes.

But why not use the backup to feature and then just backup the backup? If folks are really that paranoid about losing works in progress (which I have done as well) then you should not use an intrinsically unstable system like a computer for critical WIP. Use a notepad. Much less of an opportunity to experience loss of data.

I’ve set my back-up settings to zip up and save my projects to Dropbox (and via Dropbox to my other computers, including a Windows machine) when I open and close Scrivener, which I do daily. Set and forget. Separately I back up my hard disk to an external disk with Super Duper once a week.

Personally I’d never back-up individual Scrivener files individually: too much to go wrong. As a non-programmer, I assume there’s a reason that they’re in a package, that they’re all linked together in various ways and that removing and replacing bits may be surgery too far.


Yes, you all (especially Keith) are saying what I already thought. However, Sente, rather surprisingly does not change the date of a bundle when it makes changes inside, and those programmers think that (a) this is normal and (b) you should back up piece-wise. Of course, my backup program does not allow me to back up some kinds of bundles as wholes and others piecewise, and I don’t like having different backup schemes for each program that I use (too much to go wrong indeed!). So I’ll have to think about it.


PS, I hate computers (but it’s sort of a love-hate relationship).

I agree with the rest: If you have problems with partial backups and a particular piece of software then that is a good sign to stick with entire package backups instead of partial backups. You are right, theoretically there is no problem with partial backups. In fact, hooking up Scrivener to an SVN server is little different than a very mediated, elaborate partial backup system. It’s possible, but you have to know that your software is (a) recording the partial state flawlessly, and (b) capable of performing time-slice restorations with all of the correct pieces in play. If there is a bug or fault in either A or B, then you get sloppy restores that barely open or exhibit lots of flaws. Big thing to look for is recovered files in the Binder; that means your control files were out of sync with the actual state of the file storage area.

Overall, my response to stuff like this is: keep it simple. Unless there is a compelling reason to maximise storage usage on your backup media, then just create zipped backups and keep them backed up, as Jaysen suggests. Set up your backup program to backup your Scrivener auto-backup folder and for most people that’s all they will need to do. It wastes space, yes—but it is Basic and uses common rock-solid formats to get things done. The fancy stuff, like delta partials and blah blah—that stuff is important, but generally not for one user. That’s important when you have 80,000 users and a small policy change in the backup systems could result in millions of wasted dollars over the years.