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Autosave in MS Office may cause Data Loss

📎 If you have the habit of saving documents to cloud so that you can access them from other drives, take the following precautions seriously.

Unlike early versions, Office 2010 and above versions do not have autosave function.
They do store a copy of your documents, presentations, and spreadsheets so that you can recover your work in an event of system crashing.

With earlier versions, these backups used to be in the same folder as that of originals. Later versions save it somewhere in User Accounts. There is no guarantee it might have autosaved all your data.

I recommend using add-ons for MS Word so that you can have a local copy in case of crash or improper syncing.

By improper syncing, I mean Microsoft's assumption that the document having latest timestamp is the one to be kept in OneDrive. It's a different story if you don't save your files directly to OneDrive.
For example, if you write 10 pages using Office 2016 on your PC, it will be uploaded to OneDrive automatically. Later, if you open the same file on your smartphone using Word Mobile and make any changes to it, Microsoft will assume that the document version you opened on phone is the one to be kept. While it is correct logically, people may lose data. Remember that Word for Mobile has autosave function. So unless you really want to make any changes, do not play with the contents on Word Mobile just to "try it out".

In my cases, I made some changes to content in Word Mobile on Android just to see what all features are available in Word Mobile. That resulted in content loss. Since I didn't remember that Word Mobile saves documents automatically, I didn't restore the document before closing Word Mobile on Android. Now, because the document had timestamp greater than that on OneDrive, it overwrote the original document, resulting in loss of all data.

The things I wish to convey are:
1. Download and install Word add-ons from Microsoft so that Office 2010 and above save a local copy automatically
2. Don't play with documents on Onedrive because Office 365 will assume that you made some changes and will upload the "supposed" latest version of document.

In case you do lose data due to improper syncing, run a search on C drive for *.asd files. Open the documents one by one to see which one helps you recover data. *.asd files are "auto save documents" and their location is somewhere in c:\users folder. You can use Windows key + F to bring up the search dialog box.

Arun Kumar

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Sent on 22/09/17 at 1257 hours (IST)


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