What's the best way to back up?

I’m relatively new to Macs (my iMac is 10.5.2) and to Scriv. I went Mac in order to use Scriv and obviously love it. Have been trying to understand the posts on backing up here, but I am deeply un-technical and therefore confused!

My problem is that I have not been backing up my Scriv files regularly (although can manage ‘File - Back up project to…’) and and would be hugely grateful for advice as the best way to do it, as I’ve just lost all the latest scenes of my novel.

Following a Mac tutorial (at the nice Apple store in Regent Street, London), I created a Current Files folder into my Dock and stuck all my most used files and folders in here - including the Scriv version of my novel. Somehow my Mac created various versions of these files: probably my fault. I stuck the extraneous versions of these files into Trash (as surely, I thought, I don’t need six versions of the same Scriv folder of my novel). However, when I emptied Trash, it empied ALL versions of the files. (I’ve tried Spotlight and yup, it’s all gone.) I don’t care about the other files so much, just my damn novel. So…

a) Does anyone know of a way to recover items deleted from Trash when Time Machine hasn’t been switched on? (I didn’t know that you needed to connect Time Machine to an External Hard Drive for it to work, and consequently couldn’t set it up.) I called AppleCare and they suggested I try free web software which may or may not work, but I got thoroughly confused after a Google search.

b) To prevent future disasters, I’ve now got an external hard drive and have switched Time Machine on, and it seems to be backing up. But when I look at the Scriv files, it shows only the outline/index cards, and NO ACTUAL WRITING. Does Time Machine actually back up Scriv files properly, or not? If not, I need to create some other way of backing up.

c) Some people in the forum seem to back up from Scriv every day, which sounds eminently sensible compared with the pain of losing un-re-writable magic! Should I do this by doing simply ‘File - Back up project to…’? Or would it be more sensible to EXPORT the whole Scriv novel folder each day? In which case i) How do I do this? And ii) Does Time Machine back this up okay?

Many many thanks for any help that’s tech jargon free!

It sounds like you might have seen “duplicates” showing up in some of the various search routines that Finder has available. Saved Spotlight searches can look a lot like regular folders, but if you select a file in a saved search and deleted it—the original gets moved to the trash. This is poor design in my opinion.

Not easily, and what I know would be no different than what the Apple person already told you. There are tools for looking at the hard disk and attempting to extract files that have been deleted, but they are not 100% reliable (files can be partially destroyed by other files, later on, since the physical space they occupy has been marked as available).

I have not actually tested Time Machine with Scrivener. I have posted on the forum before, regarding this. There is the possibility that Time Machine creates “corrupted” backups of Scrivener files while you are editing them. This is not a concern while the file is closed—but while a project is open, copies made of it could be incomplete. This won’t affect your work, that is important to know. Time Machine will not destroy a project you are working on—but it might create bad backups while you are working on it.

I haven’t tested this or confirmed it—and the issue hasn’t come up yet on the forum—it is just conjecture. But what you are seeing sounds like a bad backup to me. Try going back further in Time Machine to a time when you know the project was closed.

I backup multiple times a day. Backups are small, and hard drives are big. I see no reason to be stingy, and Scrivener makes it super easy. Just press Shift-Cmd-S and press enter. Done; keep working. You’ll want to set the “Backup as ZIP” option the first time. From that point on it will remember your choice, as well as the save location.

Periodically, I’ll delete old back-ups that are no longer necessary. And yes, Time Machine backs up everything on your drive unless you specifically tell it not to. Your whole operating system is backed up; every preference file; every temporary file; every backup you make; even stuff that happens without you even knowing it. That’s the nice thing about it.

Thanks, Av. That’s a good start. I’ll start backing up Scriv now many times a day, and maybe even printing out each scene as I write it just in case.

Just wondered re the following: if you had any urls of programmes / free software you had tried and might recommend, as it’s worth a try? I haven’t used my Mac since the data loss except for email/web so it may not yet have rewritten over the old files:

“Not easily, and what I know would be no different than what the Apple person already told you. There are tools for looking at the hard disk and attempting to extract files that have been deleted, but they are not 100% reliable (files can be partially destroyed by other files, later on, since the physical space they occupy has been marked as available).”

I don’t have any recommendations for you, sorry. I’ve never had to recover data like that. I could dig up some titles, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable endorsing them as I haven’t tried them. You might try looking on versiontracker.com or macupdate.com. Both of those sites have a lot of Mac programs, and there are usually a lot of people posting their thoughts on how well the application worked.

Thanks, I’ll try those routes.

I keep a thumb drive by the computer and when I am done writing for the night I make a copy of my SCR file onto that Drive.

I also use the Back up project feature about once a week and have Time Machine running to a networked G5…

My backup routine includes:

  • print out day’s copy (timed and dated)
  • do a ‘backup to…’ (from Scrivener menu), putting the .zip file on a separate hard drive (I will sometimes put this off for a day or two, but usually not over a week)
  • print out the writing I did that day to a file, then email that file(s) to my gmail account

This also includes having an automatic backup of my Scrivener files to my .mac account as well as a Chronosync --> backup on separate hard drive.

And, oh, yeah, Time Machine. :smiley:

If I’ve been writing on my laptop (or EeePC or Neo), I’ll save or transfer that to a .txt or .rtf file and mail it to my gmail account (if I have wifi) and save to a thumb drive or SD card.

What, me paranoid?

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, my Scriv files are backed up to a remote ftp server, and I always backup at the end of every session on a project, no matter how small any changes may be.

[1] Finish session
[2] “Backup Project To…” using ZIP file option
[3] Launch ftp client (I use Transmit)
[4] Upload ZIP file
[5] Delete previous backup on server (optional)
[6] Delete local ZIP file

Then, when I come to start work on the project again - no matter which computer I’m at, even if it’s the same one I worked on last time - I move the existing .scriv file to a general ‘safety net’ folder (replacing any older versions there), download the ZIP, decompress it and use that to work in.

I also have Time Machine running, as an extra safety net.

Once you get into the swing of it, it takes very little time to carry out, and gives me complete peace of mind. I can work on any computer without worrying whether I have the latest version of a file, and I have three ‘latest version’ copies of every project; one on my HD, one on a Time Machine external HD, and one on a remote server.