Weird "Add files/folders" bug

I have this project I’ve been working on for quite awhile now. I am on the second draft, and when I go to add a new file or a new folder, it fills up with random information from another file in the binder; in other words, I find myself COMPLETELY unable to create a new and empty text file or folder. Anyone else run into this?

This sounds like what happens when the .scrivx file (which indexes the project and creates the binder list) gets out of sync with the rest of the project, which can happen for instance if you’re working from Dropbox or another similar sync service. All the documents in a Scrivener project are numbered internally, and the .scrivx uses that number to identify the items in the binder; new documents created (or imported) just increment by one. What can happen in a sync error is that an out-of-date version of the .scrivx replaces the newer one, so it doesn’t know about the most recently created documents, thus when you start creating new items in the binder, the .scrivx uses a number already in existence and presto, your new document is magically populated with the text of the pre-existing item of that same number.

In this case, I’d expect that although the material populating the new items is familiar to you, it’s not actually listed elsewhere in the binder at present (due to the .scrivx not realizing it already exists). Have you checked to see whether these documents are actually being duplicated–that is, the original items are all present exactly as you expect them to be, rather than that some documents appear to be missing and are reappearing when you create new items? If they’re not otherwise listed in the binder, you’ll eventually get clear of this after creating enough new items that you start getting into new numbers that don’t already have existing documents. (Not that that’s the solution to the problem per se, but a symptom if you will.) Are you using anything like Dropbox to host your project?

Yeah, I am using Dropbox. It would be really nice if there was a way to sync that without having to just create enough files to do so.

Well, you have a few options. Since Dropbox stores versions of files, you can spend some time digging through the project’s .scriv folder on the website to find the correct version of the .scrivx that got overwritten during the sync–they’re dated and time stamped, so if you know when you last had the good project, you should be able to narrow this down. You’ll want to look through for any “conflicted” files as well, since the .scrivx probably isn’t the only file that got the wrong version. Before you start all this, make a backup of the project as it currently stands, just so you’ve got that for safekeeping.

Better is if you have a full project backup from the last time you worked before the Dropbox sync problem. Scrivener’s default settings are to make an automatic backup when the project is closed and to save the five most recent of these, so if you haven’t changed that you may be able to go to the computer where you last had the good copy of the project and check the backups there to find the one just before the sync. You can then just remove the entire corrupted project from Dropbox and replace it with the good backup copy, let that sync to all your machines, and then carry on.

To access the backups (which are saved locally, unless you changed this, so you’ll need to access them on the computer used before the bad sync), open a different project in Scrivener and go to Tools > Options… and click the “Backup” tab. The button at the bottom will open your backups folder in Windows Explorer, and you can copy the whole set of backups for your project and paste them on the Desktop. Right-click each and choose “Extract All” to get at the contained projects. I’d suggest renaming each of the .scriv copies as you unpack it, giving it a datestamp or such in the name (e.g. ProjectA-11Jan2012.scriv) to avoid confusion and also to prevent accidentally backing up the backups over the originals when you open the projects in Scrivener.

The “Scrivener Everywhere” section of the “Cloud Integration and Sharing” chapter of the user manual (Help > Scrivener Manual) goes over the basic guidelines for using Dropbox to keep your project in sync over multiple machines, so give that a look as well. The main thing is to never have your project open on two machines simultaneously and to always ensure that Dropbox has completed the sync after closing and before opening your project.

Thanks, MM. That worked like a charm. I erased all “conflicted” copies, erased it from all my machines except the original one, then I opened the file and backed it up. I can now add blank files and folders!!! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: