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-> So here's my question: Does the automatic save feature (set to saving
-> every so many minutes, say, five) have the same result to Word
-> performance/reliability as doing a manual save? Or by relying on
-> automatic save (but not fast save), am I fooling myself?
Fast Save writes the changes to the end of the file, where they are
eventually merged back into the document when you do a "real" save. It
does not in itself have anything to do with auto save.
I recommend turning 'fast save' off for the following reasons:
1. It eats a lot of disk space, since the changes, and the pointers to
the changes are tacked onto the end of the file every time you save,
with several successive revisions.
2. If those pointers to changes get mangled, you will probably cuss, and
you may not be able to recover the file intact. Mangling is not a
feature built into Word, but can be induced thru power failures, disk
errors and other programs crashing and locking up your PC. Not worth
the risk on large documents.
You will note that Pagemaker has a similar option: faster/smaller.
Always pick "smaller", per Pagemaker tech support ... same reasons, only
Pagemaker has a higher tendency to corrupt its own files, particularly
when you are embedding a lot of index tags in a publication that covers
Auto Save is a different animal, and creates a hidden copy of your file
in your Windows temp directory on a timed basis -- that is, if nn
minutes have elapsed since you last saved your file, and you have
changed the file in any respect, Word will auto-save it for you. The
size of the autosave file depends on whether or not you allow fast
saves. The benefit to this is if you crash, Word will automatically
reload your last auto-saved file for you, and ask if you want to save
it. It has been useful for me on a few occasions.
The drawback to auto-save is that it does not work at all if you have
opened a master document containing one or more sub-documents. The Word
6.0c update does not fix this, so I would guess that Microsoft either
doesn't consider this a bug, or hasn't been informed that their users do
not care for this "feature".
Interestingly, Pagemaker does a 'mini save' every time you go from one
page to another, or print your document. Given Pagemaker's slightly
higher propensity to throw up, this means that only the stuff on the
page you were working on is likely to have been lost when you re-open
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