Window 11 - Scrivener freezes when autosave into Dropbox

I hesitate to post this issue as it may only apply on my systems (both a desktop and a laptop). However, as the issue is affecting both computers, I thought I would ask if anyone else is having the same issue.

I have been using Scrivener for many years without problems. All my documents are kept in Dropbox so that a can synchronise between desktop, laptop and iPad. I have not had any problems to date.

21 January I installed the Window 11 update (KB5010795). Since installing the update the system freezes for about 1-2 seconds every time the document autosaves. The autosave was set for 2 seconds inactivity. I have now set autosave to 30 seconds which has improved the situation a little bit, but doesn’t stop Scrivener freezing when it autosaves [note: I didn’t have this problem before the update].

For reference, the version of Dropbox is 140.4.1951.

How did you confirm this was a problem with Dropbox? Asking because it may not be. So, step 1 I would suggest making a copy of one of your problem projects in a temporary non-Dropbox folder. Use File > Save As and be sure to name the test project to something so glaringly obvious that you can’t confuse it for the real project. :nerd_face:

If you’re still experiencing the issue in the test project, then it’s not Dropbox. In that event, the first place I would look is your antivirus, as the Win11 upgrade may have changed things under the cover. So, step 2 try disabling your AV and seeing if that makes a difference. If it does, then whitelist the Scrivener program folder in the AV.


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You may need to go exclude the Scrivener installation folder from Smartscreen and Windows Defender (or whatever anti-virus/security suite you are using) again. Also ensure that you have the latest Dropbox client installed. This sounds like something is intercepting the writes to disk.

I say the entire Scrivener folder because sometimes just whitelisting the Scrivener executable itself is not enough – the various Qt .dll files can also trigger responses from various security suites.

It is also worth checking the rest of your programs that you keep running on a regular basis (and are open when Scrivener is open) to make sure you have the latest versions of those and that they are not known to have issues with Windows 11. Include things like drivers – I was having a really bad time with system lag right after I first upgraded to Windows 11 until I noticed that my Nvidia driver needed updated.

@JimRac and @devinganger

Thank you for your comments, they are very much appreciated.

Just to clarify. I am actually asking if anyone has experienced similar problems since applying the latest Windows 11 patch. To answer JimRac’s question, there is no difference with the scriv file either inside or outside of dropbox.

You may want to reconsider the advice you are giving in public forums to deactive security on the computer. From my own perspective:

There is a baseline assumption that all software has exploitable bugs - including Scrivener. This is not to malign the developers, just a statement that it is incredibly difficult to verify that software does not contain errors. Scrivener aslo includes third-party libraries which may also contain errors which the developers are unaware of.

There is a baseline assumption that Dropbox is insecure, either due to software error, compromised passwords or compromised employees. As Dropbox is on the public internet there is potential for a threat actor to place malicious files within the scriv folder.

There is a baseline assumption that any scrivener file you receive is compromised and may contain malicious content.

There is a baseline assumption that any file downloaded and installed in the scriv folder could lead to compromise of the scrivener application or third party utilities. For example, dowload image files, pdfs, html, or any other file which gets included with the scriv file.

There is a baseline assumption that what you write, who you communicate with and information you store on your computer is valuable information. We live in a world were free speech is oppressed, people are persecuted and theft of intellectual property is accepted practice. The baseline assumption is that someone wants the information you have. Whilst you may think that you are not a direct target for exploit, you may be exploited so that someone can use you or what you know to exploit someone else. You may think it will never happen, until it happens.

Therefore, if it is a choice of reducing the level of security on the computer or deleting your favourite writing tool - the writing tool goes.

It’s a (mostly) free world. You can make your own choices. However, I would advise against making recommendations in public forums that people should reduce security as a preferred or acceptable option. It is potentially ruinous to people - especially if you lose your life’s work. If you suffer fraud and the subsequent investigation finds out that it is because you have reduced security on your computer the insurance will have good excuse not to pay out.

Keep well,

Advising you to see if your support programs need updating is actually the opposite, as updates generally include bug fixes.

Advising you to check for driver updates is actually the opposite, for the same reason.

Security software is also software that has bugs and can also be an attack vector, or generate false positives. Some security software has a known long history of falsely flagging on Qt libraries because of poorly written algorithms.

Changing settings to see if the problem goes away is a wonderful troubleshooting technique to narrow down where the actual problem is. Nobody said that had to be permanent, but knowing whether your problem goes away when your security software no longer performs real-time scanning on one application is pretty darn useful for making informed decisions about how to proceed for the long run — including whether to switch your software (be it writing, security, or other) or whether to open a support case and try to get it resolved.

You do you, boo.

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