I love Scrivener - but I'm too scared to use it

Ba
BadWolf
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:36 pm
Platform: Windows

Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:12 pm Post

Having a sprawling complex story and reference materials all in one session is brilliant.

Having random chapters vanish, in whole or part, is not. If I don't notice quickly enough, backup is no help (even putting aside the time and effort involved in opening multiple versions of a file and scanning for differences). What just makes it weird is how I can go into file explorer and 'see' text that doesn't exist in the project itself.

I have been burned multiple times in the past, once so badly that it stopped me writing for over a year. Each time, I assumed it was my fault somehow - now I realise that at least most of them probably wasn't, especially since discovering the fragmented text remains in the (source files?) explorer.

I am so gutted because this really has been the best program I've ever found for my writing - but at least stupid old Microsoft Word doesn't randomly cast aside thousands of words at a time unless it's absolutely 100% my fault.

Sp
SpringfieldMH
Posts: 587
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:18 am
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS

Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:44 am Post

Sorry to hear you are experiencing problems. You might consider directly contacting tech support directly, via the link below, at bottom.

For what it's worth, the symptoms you mention are usually related to the environment on the PC on which Scrivener is running, rather than Scrivener itself. Specifically, usually related to use of cloud storage or unreliable media or associated procedures. See the following knowledgebase articles. Also for what it's worth, I did PC/network deployment and support for a couple of decades and saw just as major issues with Word, usually arising from the environments on PCs it was running on and user practices. If you wish to go forward with Scrivener, I would suggest contacting tech support. If not, I would encourage you to investigate and consider the use of some other app.

Using Scrivener with Cloud-Sync Services
https://scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb ... c-services
OneDrive/SkyDrived Advisory
https://scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb ... e-advisory
Google Drive Advisory
https://scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb ... e-advisory

Again, you may wish to directly contact Literature & Latte tech support...
http://literatureandlatte.com/support.php#section-email

Hope that is of some assistance.

P.S. I'm adding the following note here, so as to not keep bumping the thread up.

Not to be argumentative, but the suggestion below that a Scrivener project on a Mac exists as a single physical file and is thus lest subject to risk of sync related issues is not correct. See http://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum ... =2&t=34860 or do a search on "Package (OS X)" on Wikipedia (sorry, the URL to the page doesn't work properly here). It is true that a Scrivener project is presented by OS X to the user as though it is a single logical entity (referred to in the Apple Mac world as a "package"... which means something different in Windows), unless the user insists on drilling down into its properties. But underneath, in the OS X file system, a Scrivener project is still a .scriv folder containing a .scrivx index file, subfolders, and lots of individual files, same as on Windows or Linux. So while conceptually simpler in terms of finding/opening projects, copying projects, etc. in OS X, the same underlying physical file system and cloud sync considerations exist. I do wish Windows offered a similar facility for hiding the details/internals of such database folders, but as best I can tell, they don't ("package" means something different in Windows). Regardless of the platform Scrivener is running on, placing projects on cloud storage requires methodical sync practices, as discussed in the above links.

P.P.S. To verify that such issues and considerations are not unique to Scrivener, do a Google search on "avoid microsoft corruption" or "cloud sync corruption", etc. And read https://www.simple-talk.com/cloud/cloud ... -strategy/
Last edited by SpringfieldMH on Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:29 pm, edited 7 times in total.
I'm a Scrivener enthusiast and experienced in PC/network support... but I am not a Scrivener expert. And I'm still editing on my first book. So take any opinion or advice I offer with a large grain of salt.

Ja
Jaaaarne
Posts: 54
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:07 am
Platform: Linux + Windows

Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:26 pm Post

Not to make light of your situation, BadWolf, and I am sorry you've ran into trouble, really feel your pain. However, I've been using Scrivener since 2011, both the Windows version and the unsupported eternal beta for Linux, and not even once I've lost as much as a single word.

That's not to say that it's all your fault or that you're doing something wrong, mind you! What I do mean to say is that you don't have to be scared. The worst has already happened, and it doesn't happen often (a weak consolation, but still). Now you need to calm down (take your time), then sit down and analyse the environment in which you run Scrivener to see if there's something that can be improved. For example, network drives and cloud storage (say, built-in OneDrive in Win8+) etc. can be very convenient, but can also be a pain in all the wrong places where Scrivener for Windows is concerned.

Maybe someday the devs will make Scrivener for Windows files the same as on Mac, i.e. tell the OS to treat them as a single file instead of a folder (like Outlook email files or MSOffice files). Until then, though, we all need to be a tad more careful with cloud sync.

You don't need to be scared, and you definitely should not let this stop you from writing. It's only one piece of software, after all, it shouldn't be making decisions for you.

gl
glaedr
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:35 pm
Platform: Linux + Windows

Sat Jul 02, 2016 5:46 pm Post

Interesting. I used the Linux version for a while until it started doing things like that and lost me thousands of words on more than one occasion. I presumed it was something to do with versions or dependencies, but if it sometimes happens in Windows, maybe not.

sc
scshrugged
Posts: 445
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:55 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS

Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:39 pm Post

BadWolf wrote:Having a sprawling complex story and reference materials all in one session is brilliant.

Having random chapters vanish, in whole or part, is not. If I don't notice quickly enough, backup is no help (even putting aside the time and effort involved in opening multiple versions of a file and scanning for differences). What just makes it weird is how I can go into file explorer and 'see' text that doesn't exist in the project itself.

I have been burned multiple times in the past, once so badly that it stopped me writing for over a year. Each time, I assumed it was my fault somehow - now I realise that at least most of them probably wasn't, especially since discovering the fragmented text remains in the (source files?) explorer.

I am so gutted because this really has been the best program I've ever found for my writing - but at least stupid old Microsoft Word doesn't randomly cast aside thousands of words at a time unless it's absolutely 100% my fault.

I've never used Scrivener on Windows but I have lost irreplaceable data in other programs. It's a horrible experience; sorry you're going through it. Software or hardware failure is inevitable, even for the best of either.

Back-ups, back-ups and back-ups performed (and verified) redundantly, both in method and target location, are the only thing to combat your fear. This doesn't add to the workload. Properly understood, it's an essential part of the workload.

I hope L&L can somehow help you recover what appears to be lost. Contact them. Whatever happens, don't allow this to derail that which is in your control -- your choice to work or not.

Best of luck to you.
I'm a Scrivener user, not an L&L employee.

Ja
Jaaaarne
Posts: 54
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:07 am
Platform: Linux + Windows

Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:23 pm Post

scshrugged wrote:Back-ups, back-ups and back-ups performed (and verified) redundantly, both in method and target location, are the only thing to combat your fear. This doesn't add to the workload. Properly understood, it's an essential part of the workload.


Totally this! I once lost two months of updates on one of my sports websites when the hosting provider's server failed and the backup turned out to be corrupted. This was such a rare and unfortunate occasion that they gave me a year of free hosting as a compensation, but it didn't recover me all the articles and event coverages we've written together with my partner. However, this taught me not to count on somebody doing the backups, so I've scheduled my own weekly backups to my local drive ever since.

So yes, backup is everybody's best friend. This might take several minutes to perform, but that's a small price to pay for security of your unique work.

An
Anianna
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:36 pm
Platform: Windows

Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:01 pm Post

I have also lost work in other programs. I am pretty new to Scrivener and I've heard here and there of the tragic loss of work, but, for the most part, I'm not worried. I have redundant backups. I obsessively save as I write: sentence, punctuation, ctrl+s, sentence, punctuation, ctrl+s. I know it authosaves, but I've been using a word processor since back when the standard operating system was DOS and it's trained into me to save, save, save. I just can't rely on a program to save for me.

I have the software set to backup my project in a completely different location when I shut down. I copy my master flash drive regularly to both my computer and another flash drive. If they all fail, I'll lose years of work. If one or two fail, I'm golden. Your words are precious, so don't save them all in one basket. The software is just your tool to get those precious words into a readable format. It's up to you to keep them safe.
Failure is the path of least persistence.

Ji
JimRac
Posts: 1216
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:06 pm
Platform: Win + iOS

Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:33 pm Post

Hi Anianna,

Sounds like you have your backup process nailed down.

Unfortunately, the folks who lose tons of work invariably have not paid enough attention to or don't fully understand how the Scrivener backup process works. Lit & Latte should force their customers to sign off that they've read section 7.11 "Backing Up Your Work" and Appendix B9 "Backup" and B12 "Saving" in the manual before they sell them the product. :D

But I wanted to point out to you that you don't need to do CTL+S constantly. Auto-save is sufficient for ensuring that whatever you've just typed is being saved into the Scrivener project. You really aren't gaining anything that will save you if the programs crashes and/or key files are corrupted - that's what backups are for.

In fact, I have overridden CTL+S in Scrivener to take a backup, instead of a save. If I am in the midst of a long session, I will CTL+S to take a backup.

Jim
I’m just a customer.

An
Anianna
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:36 pm
Platform: Windows

Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:40 pm Post

I don't think I can help it. I'm an old dog and skipping the ctrl+s would be a new trick for me! 8)
Failure is the path of least persistence.

Ji
JimRac
Posts: 1216
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:06 pm
Platform: Win + iOS

Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:59 pm Post

Anianna wrote:I don't think I can help it. I'm an old dog and skipping the ctrl+s would be a new trick for me! 8)


No worries. It doesn't hurt anything. I constantly do ctrl-s when using products like MS Office -- it's a good habit to have!
I’m just a customer.

Ma
MaryANason
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:33 pm
Platform: Mac

Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:47 pm Post

Jaaaarne wrote:
Maybe someday the devs will make Scrivener for Windows files the same as on Mac, i.e. tell the OS to treat them as a single file instead of a folder (like Outlook email files or MSOffice files). Until then, though, we all need to be a tad more careful with cloud sync.


When I made the switch from Windows to OS X I had to learn that some file extensions look like files with a file icon, but they're actually "packages." In Finder, we can right-click on a "file" and choose "Show package contents." So packages are actually folders in WinSpeak.

This is how OS X works. It has nothing to do with Scrivener. It's how Apple keeps it simple so users don't see files users shouldn't need to see (in Apple's opinion) It may appear that Scrivener for Mac is simpler, but it's not. And I didn't realize .scriv was a "folder" until the first time I sync'd to my iPad and watched dropbox load 1000+ files for one project.

Sorry for the long post, but there are a lot of complaints about missing features in the Windows version. When there's a big difference between the same app on OS X and Windows, it's usually due to OS capabilities/"features" and porting limitations requiring code re-writes.

Ji
JimRac
Posts: 1216
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:06 pm
Platform: Win + iOS

Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:03 pm Post

Jaaaarne wrote:Maybe someday the devs will make Scrivener for Windows files the same as on Mac, i.e. tell the OS to treat them as a single file instead of a folder (like Outlook email files or MSOffice files).


To add to MaryANason's post on this point, while I hesitate to speak on behalf of L&L Scrivener's developers, I believe I can say with a high degree of confidence that you will never see Scrivener saving your work to a single file as MS Office files do.

My understanding is that storing each Scrivener document in it's own RTF file was a specific design choice that was considered a safer approach than storing in a single file. The advantage being, in a worst case scenario where the project is somehow corrupted, a user would still be able to recreate their work from the individual RTF files.
I’m just a customer.

mr
mrpseudonymph
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:21 am
Platform: Linux + Windows

Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:40 pm Post

Jaaaarne wrote:Totally this! I once lost two months of updates on one of my sports websites when the hosting provider's server failed and the backup turned out to be corrupted. This was such a rare and unfortunate occasion that they gave me a year of free hosting as a compensation, but it didn't recover me all the articles and event coverages we've written together with my partner. However, this taught me not to count on somebody doing the backups, so I've scheduled my own weekly backups to my local drive ever since.


This is totally off-topic, Jaaarne, but are you familiar with archive.org?
http://archive.org/web/
They save copies of websites they can find. If it was available openly online, there is a very good chance that you may still recover some of it here using that free service, just search the site on archive.org and choose a date before you lost it.

No
NorthTexasGirl
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:07 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS

Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:18 pm Post

I agree with you, I'm now afraid of using it. Prior to installing the iOS version on my iPad I was very pleased with Scrivener. I felt like I had control over my files. Once I installed the iOS version on my iPad that changed. After a day of fussing trying to figure out how to get my files to sync and finally having success, I then started losing the text out of my chapters. Even when I follow the instructions (being assured by the moderators that it was easy - as if I'm an idiot), making sure Scrivener is closed on all other devices before syncing to my iPad I lost the content of my chapters and research.

I have even uninstalled Scrivener on all my devices and tried to re-install it on my Mac so I can use the original version without the complications from the iOS version. No deal! The Mac remembers all the settings I made to the original to accommodate Dropbox (ick) and the iPad. I want to completely erase the install and install FRESH. But once again, no deal.

I don't want my book stored ONLY on Dropbox and as far as I can see that's where it is now. I've wasted so much time trying to get this to work. Time I should have been writing.

I cannot afford to keep opening my project only to find a skeleton of Chapter and Research titles but missing the actual documents - full of blank pages.

So, Scrivener, a once trusted application will now go unused .... unless I want to completely wipe my Mac and re-install that way. My decades old method of using a word processor, spreadsheet and ascii sort for my folder of research is now back in use. Scrivener is totally out.

User avatar
lunk
Posts: 3604
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:24 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS
Location: Sweden 64° N

Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:26 pm Post

Things are never stored ONLY on Dropbox. They are always stored locally on your Mac and/or your iPad, and copied to the Dropbox server.

I use two Mac's, one iPad and one iPhone, and has hitherto not lost anything. It works exactly as described by L&L. So there must be something fundamentally wrong in the way you handle your projects. If text disappears, you must actively have done something to prevent the syncing from working, like closing your desktop before everything is uploaded to the Dropbox server, or not saving from the iOS version.

There is no reason to be scared.
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