I saved a project earlier today and closed the program. When I tried to open the project later I was told it didn't exist. I have been saving every 5 minutes for about 10 hours now and the projects are only 233KB. There is no way the media is being saved with such a small size. When it saves, it literally flashes for a second and I know from previous uses when saving it takes a longer time to save the project. I am working on an IMAC OSX 10.8.5. Why can't I save footage? I am keeping the program open all night for fear of losing it when I shut down. Any answers?
After Effects doesn't save the media along with the project file, so it's possible that it is actually saving your projects even though the size is small. Try installing AE on another system and checking your project files there to check. Or upload it somewhere so we can take a look at it.
Out of curiosity, why are you using such an out-of-date version of AE?