In Reader to Reader: "Limitations of Autosave" (April 2000, http://www.winnetmag.com, InstantDoc ID 8172), I explain how Microsoft Word's autosave works. Another reader emailed me recently with a question related to this article. This reader had the bad habit of clicking No to saving his work when he exited Word. He had autosave turned on but knew that Word deleted the autosaved file during a typical exit. The reader wanted a way to tell Word to not delete the autosaved file so that he would have a backup of work that he accidentally neglected to save. He asked me if I knew a way to create a backup of the autosave files so that he wouldn't lose his work.
Although my first reaction was that the reader break his bad habit and stop clicking No, I decided to humor him and look for a way to automatically save files when closing Word. I found the Microsoft article "WD2000: AutoClose Macro Prompts to Save When Document Is Closed" (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=212550), which explains how to edit Word's autoclose macro to bypass the save prompt and save the file automatically. If you haven't yet named the file, Word prompts you for a name.
Editing Word's autoclose macro solves the problem of accidentally clicking No to saving your work when you exit. But what if you want to exit and you don't want to save your changes? The solution in "WD2000: AutoClose Macro Prompts to Save When Document Is Closed" always overwrites open files when you exit. To work around this problem, select Tools, Options from the menu bar. Click the Save tab and select the Always create backup copy check box. Enabling this option protects against unwanted file overwrites. Word creates a backup of an open file by giving the file a .wbk extension before overwriting the open file with the newly saved file.