Understanding "automatic backup"

Hi dear forum,

I am trying to understand the automatic backup function in Scrivener, when I enable “Turn on automatic backups” in the “Backup” section.

  1. What does “back up on project open” excactly do? (Does it save the the state of the project again just like it has been saved before? What is the point and purpose of “backup on project open” if I have a backup from the last session via “Backup on project close” already?

  2. Why there is no “Auto-BACKUP” every “x-hours” inside the Automatic Backups prefences like the "Auto-Saving function in the Section “General> Saving”?

2.5) How clever do you think is there manual saving constantly and “back up with each manual save” (my scrivener file is only around 20mb, no pics – just text) , so I am not worried about space at all. my ourpose is just to have actual backup files.

  1. What does Auto-Saving excactly do in tems of the location of the file? Is kind of the original file always being updated/saved during auto-save?

  2. If I have a Time Machine Backup of the original scrivener file – can I use that as my “backup file / to restore the project” as well? (E.g. I want to see the state of my project from before 2 days again – becasue I wnat to start “new” from where I was two days ago.)

I am not a L&L employee, just an intermediate user. My thinking is in line with yours: it’s redundant to auto-backup on both open/close; Pick the one you prefer.
I believe you will find autosave is writing the open project to its original disk location, that is updating the file. Auto-backup creates a separate file, preferably in a different folder and/or directory, perhaps even a different hard disk. That’s the difference, and why we should not find autosave and autobackup in the same menu. One overwrites the existing project, the other saves a separate project file. I find this a great and intelligent way to achieve peace of mind.
As for using time machine backup, you can use that as your backup file. My problem with relying on that is this: How frequently do you have your time machine backups run? Scrivener will autosave every few seconds of inactivity if you want. Time Machine defaults to hourly. Any sooner than that and your CPU will be smoking from working so hard. I’ve also never found a problem restoring from a Scrivener backup; I can’t say that about Time Machine.

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Backing up on both project open and project close can be useful if something might be editing the project while Scrivener is closed, for example if it’s synchronized with another device via Dropbox or a similar service.

We have tested “auto backup every X hours” options and found them unworkable. With even modestly sized projects, they can bring whatever work you’re trying to do to a screeching halt, on a schedule that’s entirely out of your control. Use either the File → Backup → Backup Now command or the Backup on manual save option if you want to create intermediate backups during a session. If you frequently use either of these options, you will probably want to increase the number of backups that Scrivener keeps.

Auto-save updates the current copy of the project with whatever changes have been made since the last automatic (or manual) save. Note that a Scrivener project is a folder, not a single file, so this operation can potentially update many different files.

Always restore Time Machine backups via the Time Machine interface. But yes, I recommend Time Machine to all Mac users. For Scrivener-specific “milestone” backups, though, I recommend using the File → Backup → Backup To command to save a backup with a unique name to a unique location. (BigProjectFirstDraft6August, say) That makes it a lot easier to figure out exactly what is in a specific file. (Note that Time Machine will backup Scrivener-created backups as well, allowing your history to go back even further.)

If you do what some of us do and use a second cloud service to store all of your zipped, datestamped backups, then you generally don’t need this. If each device that is syncing the projects keeps its own local backups, this can be a good way to preserve differences being synced in.

Even if you do the cloud synced backups configuration like I mentioned, though, remember that iOS doesn’t do the backups – so if you’re syncing between a Mac/PC and your iOS device, this provides a nice way to make sure you have backups of the work you did on iOS Scrivener.

In today’s world, I work on the principal that there can’t be too many backups based on services of the app (as Scrivener provides) plus Time Machine plus offsite. Backups are too inexpensive to worry about it, IMHO.

(Speaking from a perspective of having to resort to restores from backups more than a few times over the years).

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Totllay agree with what you say regarding backups. Backups are a nobrainer for me and I put aside space and money for them without any issues.

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