Recover projects

If a project file doesn't open or the project crashes or performs poorly when it is open, there are several options for saving or repairing it:

  • when a project file doesn't open you may be given the option to repair it in the Project Recovery Wizard—always take this option if it is offered. If repair is successful the file is replaced and the original, damaged file is renamed and retained.

  • the Project Recovery Wizard may also offer the option to restore the project from an automatically created recovery file. This reverts you to an earlier, backup version of the project—you lose work done since the recovery file was created. Project recovery files (below)
    Alternatively, or in addition, you may want to back up projects manually, as historical records, or because recovery file creation affects NVivo's performance Copy projects.

  • if the project file is saved on a network drive there may be a copy on your computer—NVivo automatically offers to save this copy as the main project version Recover a network project.

  • you can save disk space and improve performance by compacting and repairing projects Compact and repair projects

  • sometimes a project can be repaired by creating a new project and importing the problem project into it Merge projects or import items from another project.

Before attempting any of these strategies make sure that:

  • you are running only one instance of NVivo
  • you have permissions to rename the project file
  • you have enough free disk space (about three times the size of the project)

For assistance troubleshooting project problems, see the customer support website.

Project recovery files

By default, NVivo automatically creates 'project recovery' files (.nvb) as backups. If a standard .nvp project file will not open, the Project Recovery Wizard runs. If it can't repair the file it gives you the option to restore the project from a recovery file.

  • .nvb (recovery) files cannot be opened directly into NVivo—they can only be used for project restoration in the Project Recovery Wizard. If you want backup files that you can open at any time, use NVivo's copy function Copy projects.

IMPORTANT  Restoration from a project recovery file reverts a project to an earlier version—work done since the recovery file was created is lost.

Configure recovery file creation

You can set how often recovery files are created, how many to keep, and where to keep them:

  • You can select not to create recovery files, or create them at 1-hour, 4-hour or daily intervals.

    IMPORTANT  Recovery files are only created when a project is saved so, e.g. with hourly creation, if the last recovery file was created at 10 am, the next one is created the first time you save after 11 am.

  • You can keep up to three recovery files—the most recent and the two prior ones.
  • By default, recovery (.nvb) files are saved in the 'NVivo 12 Recovery' folder in your personal Documents folder on the C drive. You can change where the files are stored.

    IMPORTANT  We strongly recommend that you save recovery files on a local drive—not a network drive or one that is automatically synched to cloud storage.

  1. On the File tab, open Options.
  2. On the Project Recovery tab, edit the project recovery settings.

NOTE  The creation of project recovery files can impact computer performance. If this is the case for you, you can set daily creation, to limit the impact, or turn off recovery file creation and create backup files manually Copy projects.

Restore a project from a recovery file

NVivo automatically runs the Project Recovery Wizard for corrupted files and, if it can't repair them, offers project restoration. Because you will lose recent work if you restore a project, attempt other options first, e.g. the repair option in the Recovery Wizard, or try importing the project into a new, clean, project Merge projects or import items from another project.

When you restore a project from a recovery file, the project's file name and location remain the same. The damaged file is retained in the same location with '(damaged)' appended to its name.

Recover a network project

If a project stored on a network drive is damaged and you cannot open it, NVivo checks to see if there is a more recent version of the project on your local machine and prompts you to open it.

If you choose to recover your project from this local copy, you are prompted to specify a new location for the recovered project.