Yesterday, I spent almost three hours working on a presentation at my agency client's office. As I was moving to do a "Save As," I got the dreaded pop-up window: "Microsoft PowerPoint has encountered a problem and needs to close. Do you want to send an error report?"
Well no, what I wanted was for PowerPoint not to close. But apparently that was not an option. I chose no, and then closed my eyes and pleaded with any entity within earshot to pleasepleaseplease not let me lose all my work.
Apparently, that also was not an option. When I opened my eyes again, PowerPoint had opened back up to the last saved version of my presentation--which included about 10 minutes of the work I'd done.
After I panicked quietly for a moment or two on my own while trying everything I could think of to recover the presentation, I called in reinforcements. The art director said he thought the server was set to back up everything twice a day. If that turned out to be true, I could recover all but an hour of my work. My client called their IT guy because nobody had any idea how to retrieve whatever had been backed up from the server.
Because he is a contractor, the IT guy had to travel from wherever he was to my client's office--it took him about an hour and a half, during which I worked from the back of the presentation toward the middle (my rationale was that if we were able to retrieve my first two hours, the last hour was the best place to start). The good news is it took a lot less time to recreate my work than it did the first time I did it. The bad news is, none of the presentation was recoverable from the server, so I ended up having to redo the whole thing.
And why was it unrecoverable? Because, despite the fact that Microsoft Word, Excel and Publisher all seem to have the Auto Save feature selected as a default, PowerPoint does not. And without the Auto Save feature selected, there was nothing saved for the server to back up.
The moral of this story is MAKE SURE YOUR AUTO SAVE FEATURE IS TURNED ON, or at least make sure you save manually every so often.