Trying to repopulate my novel projects after Scriv 3 update, and I 'm making a mess of it.

I did a search on my Mac for the old files, and couldn’t find them in Finder. So, I went into my hard drive. There are no dates associated with the backups zipped there. I don’t know which ones are the most recent. Each time I try to check, Scrivener repopulates the project folders. I got a warning that one file was within a backup and could accidentally be overwritten.

Anyhow…I’m confused. I have three different project versions of one of my novels now, and none of them appear to be the latest version. I want to start over, but I’m afraid to delete them.

Can someone please tell me how I can find what .scriv file to use to repopulate my project? Should I be using the zipped ones? I have three novels and many short stories I need to reopen with the new Scrivener.

And what do I do with the three backed up versions I have accidentally set up as projects? I just wanted to see what the dates were on the .scriv files. I didn’t think Scrivener would grab them and rebuild everything.

I hope this makes sense. I’m not an IT wizard as you can tell. And I just don’t know if I’m doing anything right.

Thanks to whomever tries to help. I need ya.


First of all, close Scrivener. It isn’t helping at this point.

Second, Finder will show you the dates for everything. In Finder, go to the View -> Show View Options menu, and make sure the “Date Modified” is checked.

Next, search your hard drive for .scriv files. You should find something. Create a new folder – I’ll call it CandidateProjects – and drag any projects that look like good candidates into it.

Do another search for .zip files. Create another new folder – CandidateBackups – and drag any backups that look like good candidates into that.

Create one more new folder, called ActiveProjects.

Now, reopen Scrivener 3. Clear the Recent Projects menu, because you don’t know what it’s pointing to. DO NOT use this menu again until you’ve gotten everything sorted out.

Go to Scrivener -> Preferences -> Backups, and check the default backup location. I’d recommend creating another new folder, NewBackups, and setting it as the backup location until you get everything sorted out. That will protect your existing backups.

Now, use Scrivener to look at the projects in the CandidateProjects folder. Open them one at a time and see what’s there. If you find something useful, use the File -> Backup -> Backup To command to make a copy of it to the ActiveProjects folder. Give the copy a unique name so you can identify it later.

(Note that Scrivener 3 will probably ask to convert these files from Scrivener 2 format. Let it. It will make backups of the originals as it goes. They’ll be in the same folder.)

If you’re still missing things, do the same with the CandidateBackups folder. Again, inspect these files one at a time so you can keep track of what’s what.

When you’re done, all of your current work should be in the ActiveProjects folder. Clear the Recent Projects menu again. Reset the default backup folder to whatever you want it to be. Keep all the other folders and backups you created around until you’re sure you’ve found everything.