The trouble with Time Machine vs Scrivener?

I’ve seen a lot of references to Time Machine causing issues with Scrivener projects, but most discussions are directly about Drop Box/iDisk and the like. So I’d really like to know what can happen to a project that is backed up via Time Machine.

Would the backed-up project be okay if I wasn’t editing anything (but had it open) when the backup occured? If I close the project, will subsequent backups of it be sound?

Note that I set up Scrivener to do an automated backup to a cached iDisk volume every time I close the project (which I do after every writing session), so I’m not really at risk by using TM for my only backup.

TM and DB/iD suffer the same issues. The underlying methodology does not comprehend a “package” or bundle as a whole unit. Instead of seeing the “sum of all the parts” they only see the individual parts.

Closed projects backed up by TM should be completely fine. Any open project may suffer from a partial backup depending on scriv’s write state at the time.

Make any sense? I have been told that I am not very sensical today.

I can understand that if a file is not finished writing when TM backs it up (I’m surprised pending writes are not taken into account by Time Machine), then you might have a problem, but since no one has my project open on the time machine volume (or they shouldn’t if they value their mousing hand) why is a backup of a project that is open but idle any different than a local copy that was open (but not being written to) when a power failure occurs?

I’m assuming here that Scrivener can easily recover from a power failure if there weren’t any pending writes. Right?

Yes, that is the case, and even more so with 2.x. The format is much more robust in terms of Scrivener suddenly losing connection with the file due to crash or power failure, and thus by extension, recovering from an in situ backup by Time Machine—but a simple trick can alleviate even the need to worry about that aspect. Just make sure everything is closed at the end of the day and run one manual backup before sleeping the computer. That’s the backup that will last all the way down to the end of the line, so you are sure to have a good snapshot of the project weeks, months, or even years later.

Pending writes are of less concern as they rarely exist unless you have your auto-save cranked down. What you most often see with a TM backup is the “This project is already open” warning.

Thanks, Ioa, that makes me feel better. I just wanted to make sure that my last backup of the day* was a good one so I could rely on Time Machine as one point in my multi-part backup strategy.

  • Edited to add: Ioa’s suggestion is precisely what I do when I’m hooked up to my backup drive and not writing at midnight.