Love Scrivener but worried about Data Loss

Li
LivingInNYC
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:16 pm Post

So, I love Scrivener. My only concern is data loss and/or corruption. I never use word unless I need to turn in a project that requires it. So, I have been using sublime text. I just feel like it's the most reliable and stress free. However, I would switch to Scrivener in a heartbeat if I could convince myself that I will not lose my data. Especially since I am writing up to 300 pages. I need this data to be rock solid and always there. I guess, I could get crazy and save the files in txt and also in scrivener. At least I would have peace of mind plus the enjoyment of using scrivener.

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lunk
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:32 pm Post

You do know that all text in Scrivener is only a bunch of .rtf files? Even if the project is corrupted your text is accessible.
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, all running the latest MacOS
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 8, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

Li
LivingInNYC
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:08 am Post

You do know... that is a great point... thank you for bringing this to my attention.

You do know that all text in Scrivener is only a bunch of .rtf files? Even if the project is corrupted your text is accessible.

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kewms
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:23 am Post

There is no "guaranteed secure" tool. Hardware failure and theft happen. Internet connections fail. Having multiple backups is always a good idea.

With that said, Scrivener's data is stored in RTF files. RTF files with a lot of associated metadata to tie the pieces of a project together, but RTF files just the same. It is possible -- though admittedly tedious -- to extract your work from a damaged project using no tools beyond the text editor of your choice and a UNIX shell.

So that it won't come to that, Scrivener saves your work automatically at regular intervals, and backs your projects up automatically. (See the Scrivener -> Preferences -> Backups pane for the relevant options.)

The vast majority of data loss errors that I see in the support queue are (a) a result of user error, and (b) recoverable.

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team

Li
LivingInNYC
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:53 am Post

Great... thanks so much... this makes me feel more at ease.

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KB
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:59 am Post

Scrivener is built to minimise the possibility of data loss as much as possible. As has been mentioned by others, a .scriv project file is really just a folder that contains lots of other files. Each section of your document is saved as an RTF file inside the .scriv package. When you load a project, Scrivener doesn't load everything into memory - only the main structure file. Then, as you open text documents, Scrivener loads only those. When Scrivener saves, it does not overwrite the entire project, but only the documents inside the project that you have changed.

So, say you have a project containing sections A, B, C and D. You open documents A and B. Only those are loaded in memory. You make a change to document A. Scrivener saves, and only overwrites document A on disk. Then you make a change to document B. When Scrivener next saves, it only overwrites document B. What this means is that there is no way that Scrivener can corrupt or lose your entire project. In the worst-case scenario of a computer failure that causes a save corruption, only a single section would be lost - although that is quite unlikely too.

On top of that, as Katherine points out, there is an automatic backups feature. You can set this up to back up your project every time you open it or close it (it's set up to back up on close by default). If you set up the backup location to something like Dropbox, you will always have a backup of your project around even if the worst does happen. And if you don't open or close the project much, you can use File > Backup > Backup Now at any point to generate a backup quickly.

As long as you know where your project is saved on disk - so that you never accidentally delete it yourself - and set up backups, data loss is very unlikely. Of course, computers and coders are fallible so there's never a 100% guarantee, no matter what software or setup you use, but we've done everything we can to minimise the likelihood of writers losing their work (and bear in mind that I, as the coder, trust all my writing to it as well, and I don't want to lose my work either!).

All the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

ta
tarzanofmars
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Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:46 am Post

Everyday or night, whenever the end of my writing session is, I save my project and compile it, both are saved to the same folder, I then drag them to my Google drive folder and to my thumb drive, and naturally the original files are unmoved, just copied. In under 30 seconds I have 3 copies of my project in 3 different locations.

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David Munch
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Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:04 am Post

tarzanofmars wrote:Everyday or night, whenever the end of my writing session is, I save my project and compile it, both are saved to the same folder, I then drag them to my Google drive folder and to my thumb drive, and naturally the original files are unmoved, just copied. In under 30 seconds I have 3 copies of my project in 3 different locations.

You could make an Automator script to do it for you in the time it takes you to double click a file. :) Or even have it run automatically at a specific time, and never spend time on it..