Two things to discuss here:
1. How to reduce losing work
2. Save as is your friend
1. Losing work is super frustrating, and if you haven’t lost work yet, then you will at some stage. So, how to avoid this, or at least reduce it? Most programs have an “auto save” feature, so if you’re working on something for even a short while, it’s worth investigating the feature to ensure its on and set the regularity of the automatic save. I think 5 minutes is a pretty good time, as then the most you ever lose is 5 mins max. Programs like Pro Tools have this feature, and will ask how many recent copies you want to have. I choose 99 here, many more than I’ll need. It’s worth noting that if you do need to open a back up file, you’ll need to (and should) save as a new file once you’re up and going again.
2. Saving is good, but “save as” is better. This especially applies to programs like Pro Tools that use pointer based file theory, where the “session file” is small and points to the big files that lye in another folder. This means that you can save multiple copies of the file without chewing up disk space. At least 2 major benefits result from doing regular incremental “save as’s”.
Firstly, if a file gets corrupted or damaged in any way, you have a completely different and recent copy to go back to. This has been very helpful for me with programs like Word and Sibelius, which have both had high rates of crashing on me in the past.
Secondly, and especially in Pro Tools, a lot of users do regular save as’s to mark different stages of the project, each preceded by a new number each time. For example.
– session 01 drums
– session 02 drums tracked
– session 03 bass
– session 04 bass 2
… And so on.
Hopefully, with auto save and save as’s you will never lose more than 5 minutes work!