Zip backups only?

Can I rely solely on the date-stamped Zipped backups? That’s what I’ve been doing so far, so I hope it’s alright. But I’m using dummy - in both senses of the word - pages to learn on, so it’s no disaster if they go south.

My programme is set to back up upon closing, and I manual-save whenever [a] I write anything of unsurpassable brilliance, or [b] a certain amount of time has elapsed. No prizes for guessing which happens more often.

When my session is finished for the day, I upload the latest Zipfile to 8 million (ok, five) cloud drives - these are freebies which I already had, so might as well make use of: Dropbox, iCloud, GoogleDrive, OneDrive, and Box. They are not shared with anybody. Then I save the Zip onto two separate USB hard drives, and two others if you count the Time Machine backups. So that’s like 9 off-computer stashes.

Do I need to also enable offline content, or is that only necessary for syncing?

I work exclusively on my MacBook and don’t swap between different devices, and this feels the safest to me. The live-syncs have more vulnerabilities - not least if the wifi stutters - and they just make me nervous.

Is this as secure as I think it is, or am I missing something?

Off-site backups. Like storage media somewhere else (not in the cloud, you have no control over those servers). Preferably a bunker deep under some remote mountains. Or off-planet.

But all in all your strategy sounds decent.

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IMHO way too complicated due to over-abundance of backup copies in all kinds of places. But if it makes you feel good, ok. Me … I’d lose track of all of them.

I never count on back up stored on cloud destinations that are sync services. This is because if there is a flaw on the source (your computer) or at the sync server, then “poof”, backup gone. Just me.

You don’t mention that you ever tested your backups that you can un-zip and use as a new project. Might be worth you trying that.

The key to Scrivener backups is to keep them in a folder/location different than the project location.


The funny thing is… I almost wrote: “and don’t let anyone tell you there is something like ‘too many backups’!” :joy: I get what you mean, though.

I hope you use Hazel or some other automation tool which can copy the zipped backup to all those cloud drives automatically. And if you added some physical external drive that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

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If you are storing an active project (not a backup) with a cloud service, then yes. (This includes if OneDrive or iCloud is syncing your data without your knowledge.) Enable it now, then come back and read the explanation of why. I’ll wait.

The reason is that cloud services will “helpfully” “optimize” your use of hard disk space by storing “less used” files exclusively on their servers. The idea is that they are only downloaded to the local system when actually needed. This works decently well for individual documents, but is a terrible idea for Scrivener projects. Scrivener expects documents to be available immediately. I would say this issue is the number one cause of “missing” work right now, by such a wide margin that I don’t even know what’s in second place.


I hope this isn’t too dumb a question, but do you mean that work goes missing even from a zipped backup?

I don’t do ANY live-sync at all, and save onto a mixture of cloud drives and local hard drives, all off-computer, which I upload manually.

I store my on-computer backups in a different folder from the project ones.

I’ll enable offline content as soon as I figure out how to do it!

An entire ZIP backup might end up exclusively in the cloud, but internally it should be fine.


Hi rms

Yes, I have tested my cloud-stored zipped back-ups.* I use only one computer, and I don’t live-sync at all. I’m under the impression that there is no syncing involved at any point in the following steps, and need to know if I’m wrong about that.

I never put anything in the cloud except zipped backup files, which I manually upload to each destination.
They are also stored on local external hard drives.

I’ve always kept my backup zips in a different folder on my computer from the ongoing projects.

*by downloading an old one to my desktop, unzipping it, renaming, putting it into my project folder, and opening it through Scriv’s File>Open function (I don’t just click on the project itself).
I tried this several more times with different past backups, and they all seem to work fine.

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And, do you have a system backup regime? Odds of your computer failing (hardware fault, liquid spillage, theft, … long list) might be higher than failure of a zip backup. Just curious.

Yes… I keep 2 USB external hard drives (not thumb drives) plugged in, onto which I back up every file/folder of importance whenever I add anything new to them each day. Plus 2 other USB hard drives for separate regular Time Machine backups. (I’ve always done this.)

I was toying with one further idea, for when I start importing stuff to Scriv for a serious project: When I’m finished writing for a session, to export the ODT document(s) containing new creative material back onto my desktop, and copy them onto the data-drive backups, just as I do everything else; then file them in their own folder on my Mac. That way I at least won’t lose my original writing. Maybe I’ll even email them to myself, to also have an off-computer location.

I never want to depend on live syncing because it just seems so vulnerable. And I live on the south coast of Ireland, which does Weather in dramatic ways, meaning that the internet can get interrupted unexpectedly.

I’m sure this is more info than you wanted, but thanks for asking!

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