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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
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Page updated Jan 25, 2022

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Automatically make back ups of your document to help you recover your work

Using WordPerfect's built-in backup features (and some other backup methods)


Overview and some important points

Option 1:

"Timed document backup every X minutes"

What happens if you close the document without deliberately saving it (and ignore - or answer "No" to - the message that appears that asks if you want to save the changes you have made to the document)?

Can the timed document backup be used to recover accidentally deleted material from the active document?

Option 2:

"Save original document as a backup at each save"

The best method


Saving your work is important — which is why this is a very comprehensive explanation of WordPerfect's two automatic backup features. A good understanding of them can help save time and minimize frustration.

If these features are enabled (turned on) they will automatically save backups of your current work — but they work in very different ways, as explained below.

To enable them choose Tools, Settings, Files, which opens the Files Settings dialog (see next image).

Under the Document tab on that dialog you should see something like this:

Automatic backup choices

There are two checkbox options related to these features:
Option 1: "Timed document backup every X minutes"
Option 2: "Save original document as a backup at each save" (in WordPerfect 8 and earlier this was "Original document backup")

Important points

These two options are user settings so they might not be turned on (i.e., check boxes ticked).

Option 1 should normally always be turned on. It makes a temporary backup copy of the original file as insurance against an abnormal program termination. [You will see more about this option below.]

Option 2
is useful to many users — but it makes (and keeps) just one backup version of the original file each time the original is manually saved. [You will see more about this option below.]

These options have different purposes and work in different ways, as explained in the next sections.

Even with both options enabled . . . you still need to save any changed files before you close them.

As mentioned, these options offer some protection to help you restore your work but neither option will protect you from data loss if you manually close a changed file (e.g., with File, Close) without deliberately saving it first, or when the program asks you if you want to save changes to the file and you answer "No".


For the best insurance against data loss in WordPerfect (as well as in other programs) see the end of this page under "The best method."

For solutions (or information that might help you find solutions) to some related problems please read through the material below.

[Advanced topic:] To create a macro to quickly toggle these settings on/off see Footnote 1.

Option 1 - "Timed document backup every X minutes"


•  This first automatic back up feature — if enabled (checkbox ticked) — is designed to increase the chance that you will be able to recover your work after a power failure, program lock-up, system crash, or other abnormal method of exiting WordPerfect such as shutting off the power to your computer while an unsaved document is still open.

•  It is not a replacement for deliberately saving your open files periodically. In fact, it simply and automatically creates a temporary copy of each currently open and changed file on your drive, on a periodic (timed) basis.

•  Important point: These temporary timed backups are normally automatically deleted when either the edited documents or the WordPerfect program are closed in a normal fashion. In certain circumstances you might be able to use them to recover accidentally deleted material, as discussed below — but don't count on it. If your work is important, you should deliberately save it often.

Should you enable it?

Most users will want to have this feature enabled. It is generally considered to be a Good Thing.

The files it can create — a maximum of one timed backup file per open (and changed) document — are deleted upon a normal exit from the program. But they are retained after an abnormal exit from the program to give you a chance to recover their contents, as explained below.

How much time should you specify?

The "conventional wisdom" is to set the timed backup to not less than 5 minutes, nor much more than the default of 10 minutes. [See Tools, Settings, Files, Document (tab) for this setting.] Joell Haugan, a Corel C_Tech, once said:
"Having [backups] come too fast leaves open the possibility of one backup not finishing before the next one starts. Hopefully, under normal situations, this wouldn't happen ... but couple a large file with a busy computer and there could be a fatal corruption."
Moreover, if you set it to a very short interval (e.g., 1 minute), you may notice the program slows down or even stops, while WordPerfect continuously tries to save your work. The Windows spinning hourglass (or time wheel) that appears on your screen might be indicative of a too-short time setting.

How the timed document backup works

When you make a change to an open file — i.e., when you edit the current document on screen — WordPerfect will (at the specified backup time) create a temporary backup of that file on disk.

An initial temporary backup is made even if the document is new and has not yet been saved.

This is a major reason why the temporary backup file has a temporary, program-generated name (see next paragraphs for examples) rather than a variant of a standard, user-created filename. Because a standard filename is not attached to a document unless and until it is saved at least once, any automated timed backup versions of documents necessarily must employ temporary filenames for newly created but (as yet) unsaved documents. It also makes sense for the program to use this method for previously saved ones, as well.

Temporary timed backup files are stored in a special backup folder specified in the Tools, Settings, Files, Document (tab), "Backup folder" field. [Note that this is a different disk location from the one used by the "Save original document" backup feature, as explained below.]

Caution: Generally you should not use that folder for other purposes, since the program uses it dynamically as a "work space" to store its temporary timed backups, update those files as needed based on the chosen time schedule, and delete them when the program exits normally.(See more information in this section below.) If that folder is used for other user purposes the possibility arises of conflicting or unexpected tasks for the program to deal with.

Temporary backup files will have a program-generated filename with an incrementally numbered filename extension (.bk#).

•  Starting with WordPerfect X6 these temporary files have long filenames beginning with the letters WPWIN and followed by a unique session identifier, like these examples (using WordPerfect X8 for illustration):


The filename's numbers and letters that follow WPWIN are program-assigned and will be different for each WordPerfect session, but the filename extension's sequentially numbered pattern (.bk#) is always the same for any given session (the first temporary file will be number .bk1, the second will be .bk2, etc.).

•  WordPerfect X5 and earlier versions also use temporary files, but with shorter filenames having the same program-assigned pattern (i.e., wp{wp}) for every WordPerfect session, like this:


As with modern WordPerfect versions, the filename extensions have a
sequentially numbered pattern (.bk#) that is always the same for any given session (the first temporary file will be number .bk1, the second will be .bk2, etc.).

•  At this point you may be wondering: Why does the program use such strange names for these temporary files? Wouldn't it be better to name them in some more recognizable way perhaps based on the original filename of the document that was still open when the crash occurred?  For those interested in this topic, below in Footnote 3 is my personal take on this issue.

It's important to emphasize that these temporary files (after the initial one) are not created until a change is made to the currently open document.

This "starts the clock" for the temporary backup of that file — which backup will be made at the timed delay point (specified in the Tools, Settings, Files dialog) whenever more changes are made to the document during the session.

As you might expect, once a temporary backup is made to an open document no further backup is made until another change to that open document is made — which starts the clock again.

In essence, WordPerfect takes a "delayed snapshot" of the entire changed document and stores it in a temporary disk file.

As long as the original file remains open
— and even if you switch between other open documents — this temporary file will be automatically updated after each edit according to the time delay you specified.


¤  Numbering: Since the program can open up to 9 documents in a single instance [WordPerfect versions X6+ can open several instances], the digit on the end of the filename will correspond to the document's internal number assigned when you opened it.

Thus, assuming you are actively editing several documents, there might be as many as 9 temporary backups existing at the same time.

¤  The two automatic backup features discussed on this page use different filename conventions: The filename and extension format above is quite different from that assigned to the "Save original document" backup described below. It's worth emphasizing that temporary timed backup files are stored in the backup folder named in Tools, Settings, Files — not in the folder that contains the document being edited.

¤  Length of time delay: As previously mentioned, you probably should not set the time delay to less than 5 minutes.

What happens next to the temporary file depends on how the document and/or the program is closed:

Situation A:   What happens to the timed backup file in the usual case...

If the on-screen document is either (A) deliberately saved or (B) deliberately closed without saving it any temporary timed backup of that file will be automatically and immediately deleted from your disk.

This is a "normal" or "usual" file operation on your part. In both cases the temporary file's job is done so there is no purpose in retaining it (even if you continue with the current WordPerfect session).

This fact is important to bear in mind since many users erroneously believe that this temporary backup file still exists after they have saved the original file, or, more likely, if they have not yet saved the original file and then go about exiting WordPerfect normally — but mistakenly answer No to the pop up dialog that asks them if they wish to "Save changes to <file>?".

WordPerfect does what you tell it to do: If you answer No to the question asking you if you want to save the changed file, WordPerfect will not save it — nor will it keep any temporary backup copy of it. [However, see the Note below for a Windows method (such as using a third party utility like Undelete+) that might work to recover such a file.]

Situation B:   What happens to the timed backup file in the not-so-usual case...

If the WordPerfect program had an abnormal termination (e.g., a program freeze or crash, a power failure, or the computer was powered off before saving open and changed files) the temporary timed backup file(s) created during the previous session will continue to exist on the disk until you next load WordPerfect.

They can then be used to restore the previously opened and changed files (at least to the point when they were last automatically saved).

Important point #1:

WordPerfect will automatically detect these temporary files and display a Timed Backup dialog message as soon as you load the program to ask you how you want to deal with them:

Timed backup message

Normally you would open them with the Open button to examine them and then make a disposition — e.g., save them (but see point #2 below).

However the message also lets you either rename them with the Rename button without opening them or delete them immediately with the Delete button — assuming you already know they should be deleted!.

Important point #2:

If you wish to save them after opening them be sure to rename them (File, Save As) or you could confuse the program later, and it might start popping up persistent error messages — see the next paragraphs below.

More on Situation B above (i.e., abnormal terminations):

Are you getting a different program message from the Timed Backup message shown in the dialog above?

Note the following information about abnormal program terminations and the temporary timed document backup files.
¤ If you do not delete the temporary timed document backup, or rename it or save it under a different name, you might get a message in the next few minutes when WordPerfect attempts to back up the timed back up file itself. If you try to delete the file, you might get another message saying you "...do not have the rights..." to do this. Close the open timed back up file and things should return to normal.

¤ After an abnormal termination, if you see the message about a backup file existing and you open it (as explained above) to save or delete it, and you still get a message the next time you open WordPerfect (something like, "..To save the backup file please open or rename it..."), it is possible the timed backup folder was corrupted, too. Here's a tip from Wolfgang Deiminger on the Corel WP12 newsgroup:

"Find the location of the [timed] backup folder (in WP, do Tools, Settings, Files, Document Tab). Then, with WP closed, use Windows Explorer to delete the folder and create it again. This should sort things out."

¤ If you receive a message that the temporary timed backup file exists — e.g., "Document 0 backup file exists..." and even after you renamed or deleted it you still get the message that this temporary files exists, here are some tips that should help:

•  "... [Close WordPerfect.] Use Windows Explorer [or File Explorer in recent Windows versions] to [1] browse to the specified timed backup folder shown in Tools, Settings, Files, Document tab, 'Backup folder' and [2] delete the file wp{wp}.bk! as well as any other wp{wp}.*.* files in that folder [they are temporary files anyway].
    What probably happened is that you opened a backup file such as wp{wp}.bk2 and then saved it without changing its filename. This can create the wp{wp}.bk! file -- and WordPerfect translates that file's name to wp{wp}.bk0 in the message."

[- After a tip from Charles Rossiter, Corel C_Tech]

[This tip was also in an old Corel support database article (754080 and 3565), which indicated you should "Delete all files whose name begins with 'wp' in this folder [i.e., in Tools, Settings, Files, Document tab, 'Backup folder']."]

•  Similarly, and especially if you feel uncomfortable about deleting files that you believe could be important to you, you can exit WordPerfect and rename that Backup folder on your disk (using Windows Explorer or similar file manager). This will force WordPerfect to create a new, empty folder in the same location the next time WordPerfect is started. [Renaming the old folder should preserve its contents in the event you should ever need them (which is unlikely for most users).]

What happens if you close the document without deliberately saving it — and ignore (or answer No) to the message that appears that asks if you want to save the changes you have made to the document?

This is not considered an abnormal termination of the program as explained above, so the temporary timed backup file(s) will be automatically and immediately deleted (see Situation A above).

WordPerfect naturally assumes you want to discard your changes if you ignore or answer 'No' to the on-screen message.

If you have accidentally lost work because you failed to save your work when WordPerfect asks if you want to do so, you might consider using a macro or a third party program to help you save your work more frequently as you edit your documents. See the last section on this page.

Some programs, notably databases or those that are designed around a database (e.g., Quicken), will automatically save an entry when you press the Enter key. But word processors do not do this. If they did and blindly wrote over the previously saved version of the file while you are editing and experimenting with various creative ideas ... well, most people would become very upset over such a loss of the previous material. So WordPerfect will not automatically save your work in a way that overwrites a previous version.


See the Save original document as a backup at each save option below. If this option is enabled, WordPerfect creates one backup copy of each saved document on disk, so it will overwrite the previous backup file (such files will have a .bk! filename extension) on each subsequent manual save. Thus, if the "Save original..." option is enabled, the backup it makes contains a copy of the original file as it existed when the original was last (manually) saved.
Can the timed document backup be used to recover accidentally deleted material from the active document?

The short answer is "maybe".

Let's take an example where a system crash is not involved, and see what happens while you edit files on screen and then delete some important material. You might have done this by using File, Close (and then answered "No"), or by exiting WordPerfect without saving your work. (Tip: If you selected some material and hit the <Delete> key, the best thing to do is use Edit, Undo as soon as possible.)

If you have previously enabled the timed document backup option, any material in the actively edited file, or any other loaded file where a change has been made, is temporarily saved to disk (after the selected time delay) in a file named something like wp{wp}.bk1, in the backup folder specified in Tools, Settings, Files.

As mentioned, this protects against a power failure or crash. It does not save you from yourself. If you close a file without saving it, or delete so much material that you exceed your personal settings in Edit, Undo/Redo History, Options, you might not be able to recover all material. This temporary timed document backup file would exist only until you close the edited file or exit the program, whereupon it is automatically deleted.

However ...

if you have deleted a lot of material in the currently open file, you might be able to recover it if you are lucky enough to be able to open the backup file before the next timed backup overwrites it. [The file being edited must still be open in WordPerfect, or else WordPerfect will immediately delete the wp{wp}.bkn file (where n = a number from 1-9).] Try navigating to your WordPerfect temporary backup folder [shown in Tools, Settings, Files, Document tab, Backup folder] with Windows Explorer or other file manager, and copy the temporary wp{wp}.bkn file to another folder, where it can be renamed to a more normal name.


¤ Recovery of any material from a deleted wp{wp}.bkn file (where n = a number from 1-9) might be possible with a separate file recovery program (such as UndeletePlus [not reviewed by this author]) if recovery procedures are instituted before anything else is written to disk. If the file can be recovered it should be moved to another folder and renamed.

    Obviously, the best approach is to avoid getting into a situation where you need to take such measures.

¤ If you keep getting an error message, "The specific backup folder no longer exists," try this (originally from Answer ID 754208, an old Corel Knowledgebase article):
"... This error message is usually caused if WordPerfect can no longer write to the backup folder or the folder has become damaged in some way.

The easiest solution to this problem is to reboot your computer and try WordPerfect® again. If problems persist, rename the location of the backup directory. To do this, follow the instructions listed below:

(1) Go up to the Tools menu and select Settings.
(2) Click on the Files button and select the Document tab.
(3) Type 'C:\Backup' ( without the quotes ) in the Backup Folder box.
(4) Click on Ok. Click Yes to create the directory if [you are] prompted.

[N.B.: On some systems you might need to first create an actual folder of that name and location on disk with Windows Explorer.]

... To prevent this problem from occuring in the future, ensure that your virus scanner is NOT checking the WordPerfect backup file directory."

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Option 2 - "Save original document as a backup at each save"


The second (checkbox) feature works as you might expect:

WordPerfect's Help says that this optional feature "guards against accidentally replacing a file that you did not intend to replace," and this might be valuable to you. If so, check (tick) the box to enable this feature.

When enabled,
each time you save the active ("working") document to disk (after the initial save) the feature creates another file using the original filename — but with a .BK! extension rather than a .wpd extension.

This 3-character extension is the same for all backup files made with this method. (
Note the use of an exclamation mark (!). On the other hand, the timed backup method uses a number as the last character in the extension.)

This backup file will be located in the same folder as the original file, as explained in the Notes below. This makes it easier to locate and also prevents any same-named file in another folder from overwriting it when that other file is saved.

Hence, if you have saved the active document at least once (after the initial save) you will always have at least one backup of that document.

It's worth emphasizing here that Option 2 — if enabled — creates just one backup file of your working document after the initial save of that document, no matter how many times you save your working document.

That is, the same backup file (<filename>.BK!) is simply updated (overwritten) during each additional save of that working document. Option 2 does not create multiple separate backups.

Also see some important notes about this optional backup file method below.

Tip: If your work is important enough to guard against accidents (including premature saves, accidental file deletion, or document corruption) then you might consider using some sort of file versioning which produces multiple separate backups (a.k.a., iterations) with slightly different names. See some of these other methods in "The best method" section below.

Note: If you noticed that this option was left disabled (unchecked) in the dialog image above it's because this author uses file versioning for important work, so enabling this option would result in extra file copies. But since it can be turned On/Off as needed (e.g., see Footnote 1) you might prefer to enable it.

"Save original document as a backup at each save" - Some details on how WordPerfect automatically makes this special backup (with some notes and tips).

After the feature is enabled:

When you create or edit a document and you manually save it for the first time, no automatic backup is made. At this point you have simply made a copy of the on-screen document in your computer's memory and saved it to disk.

Example: Let's say you named it "MyFile.wpd" when you saved it to disk.
The next time you save that document:
(1) The program first makes an exact copy of the active document's last-saved file that is located on your disk — the one that was previously saved as "MyFile.wpd".

(2) Then it immediately uses that copy to create a backup file (.BK!) on disk named "MyFile.BK!" with the same date and time stamp as the original disk version. (If a previous version of "MyFile.BK!" exists it is replaced by the new version.)

      This is the actual backup step.

(3) Finally, is saves the active document as usual, overwriting the previous version of "MyFile.wpd". The active document will have the most recent date and time stamp.


•  You now have two adjacent files in the same folder, named slightly differently: "MyFile.wpd" and "MyFile.BK!".

•  Each subsequent time you save "MyFile.wpd" the three steps above are repeated, producing an updated version of both files. The date/time stamp of these two files will differ as long as more than a minute has passed since the last save..

•  Both files should be visible in the File, Open dialog or in any file manager like Windows Explorer, File Explorer, etc. [If you can't tell the files apart see Footnote 2.]

Notes and tips:

•  The .BK! file needs to be closed for it to serve as a backup. If you have it open on screen — perhaps to compare it with the active version — be sure to close it before saving the active version again. Otherwise it will not be updated if you save the active version while the backup version is still open.

•  You can restore the active version (e.g., MyFile.wpd) using the backed up version (e.g., MyFile.BK!) by simply saving (or renaming in Windows) that .BK! version as a new file with the same filename but with a .wpd extension. The next time you save that file a new backup version will be initiated when needed.

•  You can keep the current active version and start a new active version based on the earlier backup file (a "forked" version) by renaming the backup version with a different filename and with a .wpd extension (e.g., MyFile#2.wpd). The next time you save that file a new backup version for that file will be initiated when needed. (There are other ways to make multiple saved versions of your document. See below.)

•  It can help visualize this feature using small newly created test files that you can save, edit, re-save, etc. — while observing the creation and updating of the the backup file(s) using Windows Explorer or other file manager.

•  Be sure to also see some other backup methods below.

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Important notes about Option 2

¤ The "Save original document" backup file is placed in the same Windows folder as the original.

Filename extensions will be different

That is, after the first save the current document (e.g., MyFile.wpd) will have a similarly named backup but with the filename extension .BK! (e.g., MyFile.BK!) in the same folder.

[Notice this filename extension is somewhat similar to the ones used with the timed backup option but instead of a number at the end of the extension the program uses an exclamation mark (!). This similarity has at times caused confusion when asking for help on support sites, so be sure which type of backup file you are referencing in such situations.]

Why this is done

Making the .BK! backup in the same folder as the original prevents the possibility of a file being backed up to a common "backup folder" and accidentally overwriting a backup from a different file (located in another folder) that might have the same root filename. (If you want a backup to go somewhere else, see the SaveCopy macro.)

Small downside: an impact on disk space

Be aware that with this option enabled you will decrease available disk space because all your WordPerfect files created after the option is enabled will have a backup file from that point onward.

But with today's large hard drives this should not be much of an issue.

However, if you delete the original file you probably will want to delete the backup file, too.


Making backups to the same folder as the one containing the original document is better than not making any backups — but a disk crash or accidental deletion of files or folders can mean you would lose both the original and the backup.

Hence, be sure to make backups of important files to another physical internal disk drive (not merely a partition on the same drive) or better yet, to an external drive, flash drive, etc.

See the next section for some alternatives.
¤  The backup file (.BK!) needs to be closed for it to serve as a backup. If you are editing the original and comparing it to the backup, remember to close the backup before saving the original again.

¤  If you need to use the backup file (.BK!) as a new working document (e.g., to revert back to that earlier backed up version) you can simply save it with a .wpd extension. (Or better yet, save it with a new filename and .wpd extension.)

¤  If you cannot find the backup file(s) or distinguish the backup file(s) in the same folder from the original file(s), you might be a "victim" of Windows default settings, which typically hides certain filename extensions. See Footnote 2 below.

¤  If you think your current work needs to be backed up more frequently than whenever you happen to remember to do it, or you want to make interim versions of your work, see the next section.

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The best method:
Save your work to disk frequently, and make multiple backups with different file names as insurance against data loss

☼  In general, a WordPerfect document must be saved to disk before any recovery is possible.

•  If you have enabled the timed document backup feature (above) the system must have crashed (thus leaving a temporary backup on disk), since until that document is physically saved * the material exists only in the computer's memory or in a temporary file located on disk.

[... unless, of course, you get lucky and can quickly recover the material from the temporary .bk# file with a text editor or viewer or even by opening the .bk# file in WordPerfect. Note that WordPerfect must remain open to do this. If you close it, WordPerfect will delete the timed backup file. *]

•  Enabling the second option (under Tools, Settings, Files), "Save original document as a backup at each save" (discussed above) is one way to make reliable automatic backups of your WordPerfect files. However, as noted, this makes only one backup of the current document.

•  Important: It is worth repeating that neither of these two features will protect you from making the mistake of closing a file and not deliberately saving any recent changes you might have made (with File, Save or with File, Save As, or perhaps with a macro) since the last manual or automatic save. Those changes will be lost since the program is simply following your instructions.

* If you open a timed backup file from the Timed Backup dialog or by navigating to the file in the backup folder, be sure to save it with File, Save As so that it is renamed. See above for more on this topic.

☼  Other methods exist to prevent — or at least minimize — the possibility of losing data due to "operator error" and which can make multiple backups or versions of the current document or simply automate the save process.

For example:

You could use a macro to make automatic backups.

MULTISAV (in the Library) contains several macros. See the tips on the download page.

- The "save as you type" methods there do not depend on the user remembering to save a file periodically. For example, they can save immediately after the user presses the period (full stop) key or the Enter key at the end of a line, sentence or paragraph.
- The NewFN# macro in that MultiSav suite can automate the creation of sequentially numbered backups (MyBook001.wpd, MyBook002.wpd, etc.).

- Starting with WordPerfect X7 a new Corel-included macro does something similar to NewFN#. You can play it with Tools, Macro, Play; then type the macro name, "Numbered save," in the Play Macro window. [You might want to compare the features and operation of both macros and use the one best suited to your needs.]

SAVECOPY (in the Library) is a macro that makes a copy on another drive or partition when you save the file. The copy serves as a backup, and if it's on another physical drive, it will be much more immune to disk problems.

•  There are many commercial third-party programs that make automatic backups of any saved file that meets your specifications.

Such programs allow you to include/exclude files from the backup, and can back up to a variety of locations, including other physical drives/media.

The latter is the "gold standard" of backing up important files since a disk crash can wipe out both original files and any locally stored backups of them at the same time.


Be sure to thoroughly test any such program to ensure it works as you expect — especially if you rely on its automatic operations. Trial
versions are usually available. Some paid versions might offer more features.

Note: Some information below might not be up to date or accurate. No relation between the WPToolbox and any company.]

Backup4all can automate the process of backing up to local or external drives (even to the cloud) and even ZIP the at the same time (with optional encryption). It can selectively restore previous versions of important files, too.

SecondCopy from Centered Systems backs up (or optionally synchronizes) saved files — one copy of each, optionally compressed into a password-protected, standard ZIP file; it can also automatically move/store multiple older copies ("versioning") in a separate archive. Backups can be made on a user-defined time schedule or when files change.

SyncBackSE from 2BrightSparks. Very powerful and flexible, lots of options, excellent contextual help, and ideal for geeks like me (I use it daily). You can mirror, backup, synchronize, or restore folders and files to local or remote storage. Easy and Expert modes. It can compress and encrypt your backups, and it can do "versioning" of backup files, too. (Four editions available: Free, Lite, SE, and Pro. Compare here.)

•  Windows Vista/7/8/10 users can take advantage of the Restore Previous Versions feature that is built into these operating systems.

Note that this feature only saves files until the space reserved for them gets filled up. Also, they are saved on the same drive as Windows, so they aren't very good as permanent backups on another physical drive. (Drive crashes do happen.) But for recently deleted or altered files the feature can be useful.

•  Windows 8/10:

These versions also have a File History feature you can use to restore files (if that feature is enabled). Search "Windows File History," "Restore files or folders using File History," or similar, on the Internet or in the Windows program.

☼  I have not found a WordPerfect technique or a separate word processing program that permanently saves the current on screen material to disk without some kind of user intervention.

All such "permanent save" methods depend on the user making a deliberate File > Save (or File > Save As), at least once. Then macros or programs such as those listed above can make one or more multiple or sequential backups of the original.

There's an old saying: If you make backups you probably won't need them — and the reverse is also true. To which I would add: Make sure they are not kept on the same computer.

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Footnote 1
[Continued from above...]

In addition to manually opening the File Settings dialog (Tools, Settings, Files) to enable or disable these options, there are macro commands available to toggle these backup features on and off.

[Tips: To copy any of these code snippets into your WordPerfect program to create a working macro, see here. To make them easy and quick to play see here.]

For the "Timed document backup..." feature -

To simply turn it On or Off use either -

Backup(On!) PrefSave()  -or-
Backup(Off!) PrefSave()

To enable it and set it to 5 minutes -

Backup(On!) BackupMinutes(5) PrefSave()

For the "Save original document..." feature, use either -

BackupOriginalDoc(On!) PrefSave()  -or-
BackupOriginalDoc(Off!) PrefSave()

For the "Save original document..." feature with a user message, use either -

BackupOriginalDoc(On!) PrefSave()
Prompt ("Save Original Document = ON";
"(Tools>Settings>File Settings:)" +NToC(0F90Ah)+
"Automatic creation of 1 backup copy of every saved file  is now ON";
NoButtons! | InformationIcon!)
Wait(40)    // Wait 4.0 seconds before destroying prompt


BackupOriginalDoc(Off!) PrefSave()
Prompt ("Save Original Document = OFF";
"(Tools>Settings>File Settings:)" +NToC(0F90Ah)+
"Automatic creation of 1 backup copy of every saved file  is now OFF";
NoButtons! | ExclamationPoint!)
Wait(40)    // Wait 4.0 seconds before destroying prompt

Footnote 2
[Continued from above...]

Can't distinguish your backup files from the originals?

That is, with backup files with names like filename.BK! as explained above under "Save original document as a backup at each save"?

If so, it might be due to certain Windows out-of-the-box (i.e., default) settings that probably were meant to help make Windows more user-friendly or to prevent users from deleting important computer files.

Here's how to change those settings.
Windows 10/8/7: You can follow the same method as the one used to "un-hide" your WordPerfect default template file (.WPT) described on the Toolbox site here. It shows how to quickly display a Windows File Explorer Options dialog and use its Search tab to change these two settings:
   "Hidden Files and Folders" (enable "Show ...") and
   "Hide extensions for known file types" (disable that setting).

[Earlier Windows versions: Open Windows Explorer and click on Tools. (You might need to press the Alt key to see the menu with the Tools option.) That gives you a drop-down menu of which the bottom entry is "Folder Options". Click on that option. This opens a dialog with 3 tabs across the top: General, View, and File Types [in Windows Vista/7/8/10 the third item is Search]. Click the View tab, then set the two settings as explained in the linked method just above.]

Result: Once you make those two changes your system will now show both filename.wpd and filename.BK! (i.e, their full names) in Windows File Explorer or in any file manager.

Note: You can restore these two settings to their original defaults if you or your organization prefer to keep such backup files (and other such files, folders, and filename extensions) hidden from users.

Footnote 3
[Continued from above...]

Why does the program use strange names for its temporary timed backup files?

Here is a copy of a post on WordPerfect Universe thread (here) that gives my take of this issue.

"... After a crash (e.g., due to a power failure) is there a way to have the program recover (or identify) all timed backup files that were created before the crash by user-created filenames based on the original filename of the document that was still open when the crash occurred -- and not by program-created filenames composed of a string of somewhat random characters?

I have some observations to offer.

1. Why it probably wouldn't always work:

As noted in [another WordPerfect Universe post here] any newly opened documents (e.g., temporarily named Document1 through Document9) that have not yet been saved will not have a user-created filename.

Hence, a program-created temporary filename, separately generated periodically by the program's automatic timed backup feature (if enabled), seems to be the only reasonable way (or only possible way) to name a "recovery" file for this type of document.

2. Why it probably doesn't matter:

There seems to be little reason for the program not to use the same recovery filename method for other open files -- i.e., files you previously saved and therefore were named by you -- that were also open and changed before the crash. Using different methods to name timed backup files after a crash, even if possible, might do more harm than good. (Coders are aware that when you add something to a very complex program you can often break something.)

3. Why the method almost certainly won't be changed:

If #1 and #2 are true, then I cannot imagine why Corel would devote any time and resources to develop a different open-and-changed document recovery system -- especially since crashes are, for most people, rare events. I cannot think of any method that will deal effectively with the type of file described in #1. [Even Roy's helpful macro (here) does not deal with such unnamed files -- again, since they were not saved they won't have user-created filenames -- and which might contain a lot of important material.]

4. What can you do?

When you reload WordPerfect after a crash and see the Timed Backup message, I have found that immediately opening the recovered temporary documents after a crash in order to examine them is superior to blindly renaming them or blindly deleting them.

Let's face it: If you had a crash you probably have lost some work that was only in memory and not save to disk. But why not try to recover some (maybe most) of it as a priority task? To me, the best way is to do it as soon as possible by opening the temporary recovery file and, if it's important, saving it with a new name (thereby renaming the temporary file) or at least copying material from it before you delete it. (Note the emphasis: Do not save it using its program-generated filename or you'll probably be treated to repeated "Document 0 backup file exists..." messages [as explained above].)

5. BEST SOLUTION: Frequent user-created backups.

If a document is important, it's important enough to be saved often. Macros can help you automate periodic saving to disk, such as those described [above])."

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