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Fortunately it newer happened to me, but to many of my friends it did.

When one is working on a paper for a long time (eg. final thesis for university), they tend to keep everything in one DOC file. And when something happens to the file, sometimes months of work are lost. How can we prevent this problem? I'm looking for solution that I could suggest to some not very computer-savvy people.

I was looking into cloud storages, like SkyDrive, DropBox of Google Drive. They all offer tools to automatically synchronize local file with cloud. However, they only keep the latest version of the file, which sometimes is not enough. If file gets corrupted, it gets overwritten in the cloud as well.

I used SVN in my work, but that's too complicated for most people. Other friends keep e-mailing the file to themselves every couple of days, but that is not fool proof. You can easily forget to do this.

Is there a way to automatically backup a file, and keep versioning as well?

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I know this may not be what you're looking for, but if you're really serious about this, consider getting a Macintosh, as it has this feature built-in (starting with 10.7). – Hassan Jun 7 '12 at 9:54
No can do, that's overkill. I need something that user can use in his/her existing PC. (You're talking about Time Machine, right?) – Tschareck Jun 7 '12 at 10:09
No Time Machine is for backups. I'm talking about Versions. Basically, you never save, and you can go back at any time to see all your changes, even if they were weeks ago. Nifty if you use it. – Hassan Jun 7 '12 at 10:11
And, is there such thing for Windows? That would be something! – Tschareck Jun 7 '12 at 10:23
I don't know, sorry. It's definitely possible, but it would depend on the application. – Hassan Jun 7 '12 at 10:28

If your on Windows 7, it has this built in using Volume Shadow Copy. Right click on a file, go to Properties, and there is a "Previous Versions" tab. I think by default on Windows 7, it only runs once a day though.

FileHampster is also a good app for this to. It watches files or directories, then prompts you when it sees them change.

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What do you think about a batch script? I'd make something like this (it will not work on XP, though):

@echo off
cd (Backup Folder)
set p=(Documents's Path)
timeout 600
set t=%DATE%_%TIME: =0%
set t=%t:/=-%
set t=%t::=-%
xcopy %p% Document_%t%.doc /I /E /K /C /F /Y /D
goto :s

This script will make a copy of your document every 10 minutes and each copy will have a name like this: Document_12-Aug-12_03-12-28.24.doc.

Just replace (Backup Folder) with the folder path where you want it to copy to and (Documents's Path) with the path to your document.

This can save tons of work and it's comfortable to use because of timestamps.

EDIT: I've forgotten to tell: this script will make a copy only if your document was changed. So, no changes - no unnecessary copies!

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A bit too complicated. I need something more like "Don't Loose Months Of Your Work for Dummies". – Tschareck Apr 11 '13 at 19:34

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