I know what you're going to say. "Save early and often." And you're right.
But computer systems should be built that help to overcome our weaknesses and magnify our strengths. And if one of your weaknesses is that you don't always save your documents before you go to bed for the night, there's a little bitty monster inside your Windows installation that's waiting to take away your data.
As I said in an earlier post, I usually write blog posts in Google Documents for later posting, then paste them into a blogging client. This is great for me, because Google Documents autosaves, and my data is available everywhere.
Well, once in a while, when I think I'm writing a quick off-the-cuff post, I don't do that. And if it becomes a longer post than I expected, I sometimes forget to save.
Forgetting to save and letting it sit overnight is bad. There could be a power outage, and you'll lose your document. You should always save! BUT - your computer also shouldn't sabotage you. Last night, that's just what my computer did to me.
I failed to save a blog post, left it open on my computer and my computer downloaded updates from Microsoft and restarted my machine without asking. That's because my computer is set up to automatically download and install Windows updates. And an automatic restart is in there, too.
If you object to automatic restarts of your machine (and there are many reasons you might) it's pretty easy to disable the automatic update. I prefer to let my desktop machine download the updates for me and then ask me if I want them installed.
It's easy to change your update settings. Right-click your "My Computer" icon and choose "Properties." Your Automatic Updates options should be under the Automatic Updates tab of the Properties window.
Set it to the setting that's most appropriate to your habits.
fn1. My blog client sucks at saving. It inserts extra line breaks between every paragraph when you re-open a saved document. Yet another reason I use Google Documents.
fn2. Your situation may vary. On my laptop, I prefer to just be notified of updates, because downloading over the WiFi slows me down too much. I want to choose when the download happens.