Using Scrivener with OneDrive

I just started using scrivener on my macbook pro, and I want to back everything I write in the program on onedrive so that I can view all the files from multiple devices etc etc. Scrivener gave me a warning saying I’m likely to lose all my files this way, but I feel like it’s the other way around.

Anyone else back up all their work on onedrive? Are there any pros or cons I might be unaware of?

I’m not sure what warning you ran into, as I don’t believe we have anything programmed into Scrivener that would detect if you’ve saved a project into a OneDrive folder.

What you might have seen was a warning about mixing backups and live projects into one folder. That’s a bad idea even if you’re an expert computer user, but you can also get into trouble if you start accidentally working on backups, and in doing so, have Scrivener’s automatic 5-backup cap rotate the last version you edited out of existence. That’s where we caution about data loss (it’s actually not very easy to do that since backups are by default zipped and stored in a folder that is not easy to stumble across).

Beyond that, as a rule of thumb it is a good idea to keep either your backups synced or your projects, but not both. Consider if your account gets hacked and your data is wiped from the server, which seconds later destroys all copies on every device you own—because that’s how sync works. That’s why nothing with “cloud” in the marketing should ever be confused with backups.

Backups are only ever copied from the original, they never manipulate the original unless you explicitly request it. If you delete a file on your computer, nothing happens to the backup. If a hacker gains access to your online backup account, nothing they can do from there will grant them even indirect access to your computer.

If you want a dependable off-site backup (and that’s a great idea!), consider something like Backblaze or SpiderOak—companies that are dedicated to backing up data, not syncing it. The other advantage to such tools is that you can usually backup anything or even everything, whereas you most certainly wouldn’t want to put anything and everything into the OneDrive folder. They also tend to be cheaper by the terabyte, since they are providing a much simpler service.