"Zipped backup failed with error..."


I’ve done a quick search to see if may query has already been answered but I’ve not found anything yet. Apologies if I’ve missed the relevant thread.

When I close Scrivener, Scrivener performs the back up option that I’ve set in the Preferences and updates one of the 3 zipped back up files. But since the 8th January Scrivener has produced an error message and failed to perform the back up:

Scrivener obviously renames files but after a little hunting I was able to find the relevant ‘201.mp4’ file which happened to be in Scrivener’s trash. Assuming it was an issue with the file I emptied the trash, closed Scrivener and the program started the back up procedure. Then I got the following message:

This file is over 300Mb so I’m scaling the video down to reducing its size at the moment, but I’m concerned as to why Scrivener is having trouble producing these back up files. Is there a file size issue? My Scrivener Project is currently at 2.45GB. Maybe it is a file size issue of individual files within the project? There is nearly 200GB free on the back up drive so I don’t think the issue is there.

Scrivener has no trouble reading either of these files or saving the project normally, the problem seems localised to the zipped back ups.

If the scaling of the video doesn’t work then I’ll try the none zipped backups option, but if anyone could shed some light on this backup issue I’d be most grateful.

Best wishes,



One thing you could try is finding the file (205.mp4) that’s being reported as problematic - you apparently already know how to do that by drilling into the .scriv package, but if you need further instructions let me know - and then copy and paste it into your home folder in the Finder. Then open up Terminal from ~/Applications/Utilities and type:

zip test.zip 205.mp4

(You can delete the created zip file and 205.mp4 from your home folder afterwards.)

Does it successfully zip up? (Scrivener uses this same process for zipping folders.)

I suspect that your file size may be the culprit here. Unfortunately Scrivener doesn’t have much control over the zip process - it just calls through to the commandline and reports any errors that get returned. I wouldn’t recommend automatic backups for a file of that size anyway, because every time you close the program you will have to wait for ages and you will end up with several 1GB+ files sitting in your backups folder taking up space. Instead, I’d recommend turning off backups for this project (which you can do on a project-by-project basis via the File menu) and instigating a manual backup routine for this particular process. Automatic backups work well in general, for most projects, but when a project gets to 2.45GB the zip process may struggle - it may even be that the zip process is running out of memory.

All the best,

Hi Keith,

Thank you for your help, I did the test zip on ‘205.mp4’ from terminal as you advised and received an error message. Like you, I suspect the file size is the issue, and now that I understand it a little better I’ll back up manually as you suggest.

Thanks again for your help and for producing a great program, it’s being so helpful and convenient with a couple of projects I’m working on.

Best wishes,


Hi Taylor,

Many thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

If the zip utility is spewing the error message too for the single file, then that’s definitely the culprit. A quick Google suggests that some versions of zip don’t support files bigger than 2GB, so that may be the issue, although it’s strange it’s happening on a single 300MB video file as well.

Thanks and all the best,