Scrivener | Backups – Belt & Suspenders Approach

No writer should ever face the possibility of losing his/her work. In this post, I will cover a method of using cloud based storage to add a level of protection to your data.

What You Need:

  • DropBox account.  (If you don’t have one, you can use this link.)
  • OneDrive account. (If you don’t have one, you can use this link.)

Both DropBox & OneDrive store files locally on your computer and synchronizes them when you’re connected to the Internet.  So, you will need to decided which service is your primary and which service is used for backups.

If you’re using Windows, I suggest using OneDrive as your primary service, because it integrates better with Windows.

Once everything is installed, you will want to move your Scrivener folders to the to the primary service.  Now, if you used OneDrive and saved your files in your Documents folder, this should all be done automatically.  There are too many configuration possibilities to cover, so if you’re not sure how to do this, you probably need to reach out to someone who is familiar with how files and folders are stored on your computer.

Now launch Scrivener and do the following:

  1. From Menu, click Tools.
  2. Select Backup
  3. Make sure that Turn on Automatic Backups is checked.
  4. Make sure Backup on Project Close is checked.
  5. Make sure Compress Automatic Backups as Zip Files (slower) is checked.
  6. Make sure Use Date in Backup File Names is checked.
  7. Set Retain Backup Files to Only Keep 25 Most Recent Backup Files.
  8. Click Choose on Backup Location.
  9. On the left side, choose the cloud service (OneDrive or Dropbox).
  10. Click the New Folder button.
  11. Enter Scrivener Backups as the folder name.
  12. Click Select Folder.
  13. Click OK.


Now, every time you open and close your Scrivener project, a backup copy will be made to the cloud service you selected in step 9.

Here is what this accomplishes:

Scenario: Computer crashes
Latest Data Location: Primary cloud service
Latest Data Condition: Last time you connected to the Internet

Scenario: Primary Cloud Service data loss
Latest Data Location: Workstation
Latest Data Condition: Last time you saved the project

This solution protects against most forms of data loss, but not all.  For example, viruses or ransomware could still compromise your data.

Here is why:  Both OneDrive and DropBox are accessible as mounted drives, like a USB drive. If malware (virus or ransomware) infects your computer, it will scan all mounted drives looking to folders and files to do damage.

For more secure backups, consider using a service like Carbonite. This service provides a backup that is accessible via a secure method, which means it adds a level of protection over what is covered in this post.

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