Computer Follies 2: Scrivener Crash-Fixes for El Capitan

Last night, Scrivener started acting up again, particularly when I put it in full-screen mode. It would crash on entry into full-screen and, after that, crash on launch.

At the end of my own capabilities, I put in a ticket with Literature & Latte to try to get the matter resolved. This morning, I got a response that suggested I try the fixes I’d already tried. But fortunately, the message also contained another email address for escalating the problem if the quick-fix didn’t solve it.

I heard back promptly from the second email account, from a wonderful soul by the name of Astrid.

As it happens, the alternative fix she suggested in light of the full-screen crashes solved my problems, as near as I can tell, so I thought I’d share it here in case anyone else is having the same trouble.

Hi Lisa,

It sounds as though your project may be affected by a different problem in Mac OS X.  There appears to be a problem in Mac OS X 10.11.x, in which Apple’s full screen mode has become noticeably less reliable on some systems (causing problems in multiple applications, not just Scrivener).  When you close a project, Scrivener remembers whether it was in full screen mode at the time — if so, then when you re-open the project it returns to full screen mode, which triggers the crash again.

Please make sure that you have a backup of your project in its current state (creating a copy of it in Finder, or creating a zip file of it), and close Scrivener.  Right-click on the problem project in Finder and select “Show Package Contents” from the contextual menu. Drill down into the “Settings” sub-folder, and drag the file called “ui.plist” from there to a temporary location such as the Desktop. That will remove the settings that were in place when you last closed the project.  After you have done that, double-click on the project to load it, and you should find that it opens successfully.

You will need to avoid using full screen mode (or, at least, closing a project while in full screen mode) until Apple fixes the problem, as I’m afraid that the underlying issue is something beyond our control.  I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

If you continue to have problems after trying the workaround above, please do let us know, and include the crash log with your reply so that we can see what is happening.

Thank you for your interest in Scrivener.


So there’s that. Now I can finally, after a bit of fiddling, get back into my current projects. Hopefully if you’ve found your way here with the same problem, this fix will help you, too. If not, try emailing Literature & Latte’s customer service. Maybe Astrid or another such wizard can help you out.

Midweek Computer Follies

This week I made the decision to upgrade the Mac to El Capitan.

Until now, I’d been holding out because of reports of programs coming out broken on the other side of the process. Considering that Scrivener and Office were two of the culprits, I thought it best to be safe rather than sorry.

To be sure, I keep a robust set of backups, so I didn’t stand to lose any data if I ended up having to reinstall, but who wants to waste a day on such things?

In any case, this week I checked again to see if fixes for the errant programs were available, and as far as I could tell, they were. Satisfied that I would not nuke my productivity from orbit in upgrading, I set about doing the deed this morning.

Kane, as you can see, chose to “help.”


The installation itself seems to have gone smoothly enough, and once all was said and done, I found that Office works about as well as it ever has.

Scrivener, though? Nope. Broken. Crashed on startup.

I headed over to the fix documentation and worked my way through the steps. Here there was a slight improvement. I was able to start Scrivener once, but as soon as I quit the program, it would crash on the next start.

So I installed a fresh copy. Same problem.

Fresh copy plus fixes. Same problem.

After that, it was mostly down to guessing and bellowing, as usual.

I think I may have finally located the issue, but only by sheer luck. A very old third-party program I occasionally use, and which is not compatible with El Capitan, threw a fit when I tried to launch it. Wondering if that program’s upgrade-incompatible settings could have potentially been interfering with Scrivener, I uninstalled it.

After that, a fresh install of Scrivener (again), the fixes (again), and a reboot (again).

Now, suddenly, Scrivener works.

I have no idea how the old program affected system settings, or how it was affecting the magical unicorn blood which is surely the data storage medium used by all Apple products, but for now, things seem to work.

If Scrivener starts acting up again, I guess I’m going to have to sacrifice a goat to the Apple gods or something.

Anyone else have issues with Scrivener when moving to El Capitan? If you did, what was your eventual solution?