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I haven't had this problem (don't use MS Office on my Mac) but was intrigued by this thread and no real answers, so I went to the Link Chscag gave and did some searching. Below are excerpts (quotes) from what I found:

FROM John McGhie on Jan 25th 2011: "This is a serious problem. I had an email last night from someone very senior in the development team. They have a major investigation underway, but currently they can't fix it because they do not know what is causing it.

The only protection from this bug is to set Word>Preferences>Save to
"Always create backup", then hit Command + s, to manually save each time
you pause to think.

If the problem happens, you then close the document WITHOUT saving, and
you will find the backup of it labelled "Backup of..." in the same
folder as the original document. That file will be undamaged and
complete to the point where you last saved.

Of course, you could also bring back your Time Machine copy of the file,
which should be no more than 15 minutes old.

Setting "Save AutoRecover information every 10 minutes" is completely

We have been trying to tell Microsoft that for 20 years. They will not

AutoRecover does NOT save the file, it saves only the "changes" to the
file. If the file has never been saved, or if the original file cannot
be read, AutoRecover cannot work. That's the situation you are in here:
AutoRecover can't recover; because it works only if Word knows it has
crashed, and it can read the original. In this case, Word doesn't know
it has crashed, and it can't read the original, so AutoRecover is
useless, which is what we've been trying to tell them for 20 years.

OK, now the fault is not all Microsoft's. In the past few years, users
have become overconfident about their computers, and do not take the
precautions that were simply a normal part of using a computer a few
years ago.

Well; that's not a good move Computers are MORE complex than they
were 20 years ago, and therefore, they are LESS reliable. They might be
"simpler to use", but the insides are much more complicated, there is
much more to go wrong, and it does!

We need to RUN Time Machine or some other backup, and we need to turn ON
Word>Preferences>Save>Always create backup. If we don't, every now and
again, we will lose data.

Last month, I turned my main MacPro workstation on and got an error on
the Data drive. 2.5 Terrabytes of data -- GONE! It still happens.

I repaired the problem, and restored from backup. I haven't lost a
single byte. Because I had a backup. I have had a backup for 30 years.
This is about the second time I have needed it in all that time. But
when you need it, you REALLY need it

People who are not experienced with computers sometimes do not
understand that when you lose data on a computer, you lose the lot.
Normal human beings think in terms of losing documents in a fire or
flood, where you may lose only "part" of a document, but the rest will
be readable. Computer data is not like that: you can either read the
whole of a file, or none at all.

Backup is well ahead of cleanliness, and right next to godliness. Any
computer geek will tell you that. Just don't stand downwind of him


On 26/01/11 7:33 AM, wrote:
> This happened to me twice and I DID have it set to automatically save
> every minute, but it did not save the file. I am not using Word 2011
> until it's fixed.


John McGhie, Microsoft MVP (Word, Mac Word), Consultant Technical

FROM John McGhie on Feb 19th 2011:
"Hi Russ:

No, it's not a virus. It's definitely a bug.

We need to have a discussion about this: EVERYONE should offer their
thoughts in this thread.

Because currently, Microsoft has NO CLUE to what is causing this. They
can't get it to happen in the test lab. There is no evidence in the
sample documents to suggest what the problem might be.

The "before" documents are perfectly normal. The "after" documents are
full of asterisks. Nothing to indicate what might have happened.

At first, I thought it was foreign language character sets being used.
But we have samples where they weren't.

Then I thought it might be Equations, Footnotes, Endnotes, Tables or
Bibliography, due to the high number of complex academic documents we
were losing. Then we had two samples with none of those.

For my next crazy idea: Fonts. This could be a "font" problem. Has
everyone "weeded" their fonts? Word:mac - Font Weeding

It may also be an interaction with other software! What's everybody
running (apart from Word...)?

If you're coming into this thread new, there is only ONE work-around to
this problem: BACKUPS.

1) Set Time-Machine to run every 15 minutes.

2) Go to Word>Preferences>Save and turn ON "Always create backup".

3) Hit Command + s every time you pause to think. If the bug hits,
your previous save is in a file labelled "Backup of " in
the same folder.

If you haven't hit Command + s, neither Time Machine nor "Always create
backup" can save you, because there's nothing on the disk to save.

Forget "AutoRecover": it's useless. If you HAVEN'T turned on Time
Machine and Backup, and the bug hits, do this:

1) IMMEDIATELY Quit Word. You have to get to this BEFORE the
AutoRecovery Save fires.

2) When Word offers to save YOU MUST say "NO". At this point, the
memory is full of asterisks, if you allow it to Save, you've lost your
document, there is no way to recover.

3) Reboot the machine. We have no idea what is causing this, but it
may be memory corruption: restart the OS and clear things out.

4) Re-open the document. If you were quick enough, you will get your
document back. If not, Word will offer you one full of asterisks
labelled "Recovered save of..."

5) Close the Recovered Document (it's useless, it's full of asterisks,

6) Re-open your document. If you prevented Word from saving, you will
get your original document back undamaged.

Note: The key to this is to prevent Word saving the document or the
auto-recovery file after the bug hits. If you can, the original file is
on the disk, undamaged.

Don't pfaff around wondering: if you're too slow, it will save and you
have lost it

Now: if ANYONE has ANY ideas as to what might be causing this, PLEASE
post them here.

We now have Microsoft Engineers closely studying this forum, looking for
anything that might give them a clue as to how the bug is happening.
They can't fix it until they FIND it

So PLEASE post your thoughts

Hope this helps"

This is getting long, so I will continue in another post if warranted, still reading the threads.

Link to the thread for anyone interested
Office for Mac Product Forums

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