From the Kenosha News on 10-9-05

     Automatic backups protect documents in case of crash

      If you're using MS Office applications such as Word or Excel, how often do you save? Some people recommend every 10 minutes or so. My rule of thumb is to save whenever you've done something you don't want to do over again! Then there are ways to set up automatic backups so that it will automatically save periodically. Here's how:

      Click on the Tools menu and drag to Options. Click the Save tab. Make sure the box next to "Save Autorecover info…" is checked. Enter the time interval at which you would like to have it saved. Mine is set to 10 minutes.

      What this actually does is save versions of your documents that you can choose to use or ignore in the case of a crash or other accidental shut-down. For example, sometimes I'm in a hurry to shut down my computer at the end of the day, and I forget to click save on every document window that I have open. (I'm often running Excel, Word, IE, etc. all at once.)

     When I restart my computer the next day and open that application (e.g. Word or Excel), it shows me one or more recovered documents on the left of the screen. I usually think to myself that I'm lucky to have this feature! Then I click on the top document on the list, which is the most recent. That document then fills my screen. I can edit it or just save as I should have the day before. In another scenario, my computer or just Word freezes. I restart the computer and re-launch the application. Again, the list of documents comes up.

     There are some situations in which this does NOT work. If you close an application and you answer NO when it prompts you to save, then the application figures you made an informed choice to do so and it will not prompt you with a list of recovered documents.

     So where does it put these mysterious documents? It depends on your configuration. Click on the Tools menu and drag to Options. Click on the File Locations tab in Word or the Save tab in Excel. Look for the location that is specified for Autorecover documents. Note that some of the folders involved may be hidden, so you may not be able to see the folder if you try to access it through "My Computer."

     The recover files are also not saved as Word documents, so you won't be able to just open them from the File menu. Instead, they are saved as .asd files, which I think indicates "Auto Save Document." In a case of severe need you can use the search function through the Start menu to search for .asd files. Once you find the one you want, right-click on it and select "Open with…" Then select the appropriate application, such as Word or Excel. If the document you find is in the Recycle Bin, right-click on it and select Restore. This will restore it to an active folder and you can open it as described above.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 10-9-05