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Because Unix does not provide version numbers in file names,
rewriting a file in Unix automatically destroys all record of what the
file used to contain. Thus, saving a file from Emacs throws away the
old contents of the file--or it would, except that Emacs carefully
copies the old contents to another file, called the "backup" file,
before actually saving. (Make sure that the variable
`make-backup-files' is non-`nil'. Backup files are not written if this
variable is `nil').
At your option, Emacs can keep either a single backup file or a
series of numbered backup files for each file you edit.
Emacs makes a backup for a file only the first time a file is saved
from one buffer. No matter how many times you save a file, its backup
file continues to contain the contents from before the file was visited.
Normally this means that the backup file contains the contents from
before the current editing session; however, if you kill the buffer and
then visit the file again, a new backup file is made by the next save.
- Backup NamesHow backup files are named;
Choosing single or numbered backup files.
- Backup DeletionEmacs deletes excess numbered backups.
- Backup CopyingBackups can be made by copying or renaming.
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