I am often surprised by your observations. I don't see any kind of instability with Word 2010 (nor did I with Word 2007). I have similar observations regarding your experience with Windows 7.
Granted, I use a pretty uninteresting set of applications. I don't over clock my hardware and I only use FREE third-party applications recommended by professional colleagues.
That said, I am not overly cautious about what I install on my systems -- nor about which Web sites I visit. Nor am I overly paranoid about security vulnerabilities. Other than MS Forefront (or MS Security essentials), Windows Defender and Windows Firewall, I take no extraordinary precautions. I do use UAC and I keep Windows and MS Applications up-to-date but that's just common sense.
In the end, I just never see the kinds of instabilities which you report.
Since leaving XP behind (far behind) for Windows Vista SP1, I have seen none of the instabilities you report. Windows 7 has been even better. What gives?
I got into the habit of clicking the actual save button. I've never lost a document that I manually clicked save on. Also, since upgrading to Office 2010 64-bit, I have not had one single crash in Word. Same with Outlook 2010 64-bit, for that matter. The only catch is that you can't, yet, use third party plugins with the 64-bit version of Office 2010. (They just don't exist yet.)
That being said, 90 percent of the time Word or Office has a problem, it's due to some third-party plugin crashing inside of Word -- even if you aren't actively using the plugin's features. Crappy code from Microsoft? Well maybe, but also from Joe Programmer Word Plugin Guy. Don't forget, IE toolbars do have an effect on Office apps.
Agree on the love/hate relationship. My current pet peeve is that Word 2010 doesn't stay open unless you have a file open. Every time you open a fresh file the program has to start up again. Word and Excel developers don't have common standards.
Doug, I think it's time for you to use the technical skills that you purport to have and do some investigation. Continuing to write articles that show your continued trouble -- which appear to be more unique to you than the norm -- just makes me wonder if you are trying to instigate an argument. The stability issues that you continue to have are probably due to your environment.