|Volume 5 Issue 11
|In This Issue
|Protect Your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Files From Data Loss With AutoRecover
|How important are your Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Publisher files to you? Have you ever lost your changes to a file due to a computer problem or crash? Read on for my advice on how you can protect yourself from this type of data loss.
Protect Your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Files From Data Loss With AutoRecover
The problem: Your unsaved changes are at risk
Has this ever happened to you? You're at the computer, working on an important document. All of a sudden your cursor starts spinning or the computer crashes or the power goes out. You start to panic, worried that you may have lost your most recent changes or that your file may be gone. How long ago did you last hit Save? Can you remember all of the changes you've made since then?
The good news: If you were on Windows or Macintosh using Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint (or on Windows using Microsoft Publisher), then there's a chance that you can recover not only your file but also some or all of your unsaved changes as well, possibly right up to the moment your computer crashed.
The bad news: The default options in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher are not set to give you maximum protection.
I've got a good backup system, wouldn't that protect me?
Almost every day I find myself strongly advising a client, colleague, friend, or the person next to me in line at the grocery store to back up their computer. Backing up your computer is a good, inexpensive strategy for protecting yourself from unexpected data loss.
However, backup systems can only back up the files that have been saved to your disk. When you're editing a document, your unsaved changes (i.e., all the changes you've made since you last Opened the document or Saved it) are "in the hands" of the program you're using, and are not (yet) stored on your disk. So, even if your backup system is running constantly, it can only access the last saved version of your document. It can't back up the best version of your document until after you Save your changes.
So, what will protect me from this problem?
First of all, the best habit to develop that can greatly reduce this risk (regardless of which program you use) is to Save your document changes often, because the longer you work without hitting Save, the more your unsaved changes are at risk. If you're working on an existing document, Save will store its most recent version (including all of your changes) on your disk. If you started a new document, Save will prompt you to give it a name and choose a folder to put it in, and then store it on your disk.
Secondly, if you're using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Publisher, find the program's Options on Windows (Preferences on Macintosh), and then look for the following settings under the "Save" category or tab:
What is this AutoRecover feature in Microsoft Office?
Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher have a powerful, behind-the-scenes "safety net" called AutoRecover. This feature is designed to help protect and recover your unsaved document changes when any of these programs stops working in the middle of an editing session. Here's how it works:
How can I practice using AutoRecover before a disaster strikes and confirm that it's working?
Here's how you can test it:
Depending on which version of Microsoft Office you're using and whether you're on Windows or Macintosh, when you reopen your program after a crash you may see it try to open:
A number of things can go wrong, including (using Word as the example):
I haven't seen a feature similar to AutoRecover in many other programs. If you spend a lot of time using another program and you're worried about losing unsaved changes, look through that program's "settings" or "options" or help file to see if it has a similar feature.
Some programs are just designed to save your work as you go. For example:
How to contact me:
phone: (617) 484-6657
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I love helping people learn how to use their computers better! Like a "computer driving instructor," I work 1-on-1 with small business owners and individuals to help them find a more productive and successful relationship with their computers and other high-tech gadgets.