Saving frequently and making backups (was RE: Fun with Word

Subject: Saving frequently and making backups (was RE: Fun with Word
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2008 12:18:41 -0400

On Behalf Of Geoff Lane
> FWIW, I make much of my living with Word and I've learned enough about
> it to know it doesn't always do what it says on the tin. I've also
> learned that frequent backups and prods of Ctrl+S are a good insurance
> policy.

This last sentence bears repeating and emphasizing for people who might
be new to the biz.
With Word, as with many other programs, the admonition to Save Early and
Save Often should be engraved in stone. Things can break, crashes can
happen, and the longer it's been since your last "Save", the more work
you've lost.

However, "Save" is not the same as back-up.
If you are working with a large document, and Word decides to switch on
the nasty function, it is entirely possible that great large honkin'
pieces of your document could get corrupted or destroyed, and if the
pages that you are currently working on are not visibly affected, then
you routinely hit [Ctrl][S]... and save the disaster. Without a good and
recent backup, you are doomed.

Every time you open a file in Word, you should probably save that file
separately, safely, so that you are effectively working on a copy. In
other words, if you open the same document to work on it every day for
the next two months, you should eventually have 60 copies (or more) just
as you would if checking into-and-out-of a version control system.

That's probably a little extreme, and if you are in the habit of poring
through your document every day before closing to see that, not only did
today's work get added, but all other parts of the document appear free
of breakage (which could be an hour or two out of every day for big
docs), then you need only the most recent backup.

If you are as slack as I am, and only give a thorough reading/review of
the workpiece every so often, then multiple generations of backup are
good insurance.

At one time, I just saved my work to a server every night, counting on
it to be backed up by automatic network backup functions. Then I found
out that IS/IT Dept. had:
a) been backing up only weekly
b) not been verifying those backups.
It turned out, when I needed a restore done, that the most recent backup
a) at least a week old (according to the label on the tape) and
b) corrupt and unusuable (as in... the entire tape refused to load).

Later, I again did the backup to server thing, but with assurance that
the IS/IT Dept. had learned the lesson and tightened up their
procedures. They had. However, I'd been saving backups with 200 pages of
a 400-page document repeated (having overwritten the other 200 pages of
original material. Since I'd been working in only a couple of chapters,
and casual scrolling and jumping-around had not shown anything obviously
ugly or out-of-place, I didn't notice. So I compounded the problem every
time I saved to server.
When I finally updated fields and reviewed progress, it became obvious
that I'd lost a solid week of previous work. It also cost the company
money to find out, because once a tape (or other medium) has gone
off-site, there's a charge and other costs to resurrect it, bring it to
the office, load it, find the file, read the file, discover that it's
broken, submit a request for yet an earlier backup, and repeat until a
non-broken version of the saved file is finally discovered.

File that under "things they probably didn't teach you at Technical
Communicator School".



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Re: Fun with Word: From: Nancy Allison
Re: Fun with Word: From: Edwin Skau
RE: Fun with Word: From: Pinkham, Jim
Re: Fun with Word: From: Geoff Lane

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