How do i properly save and load my projects?

Hello, so im having an issue that could be user error. my issue is, when im making a project and start building, the editor will perform a save. every time i make progress it will auto save. when ive decided ive had enough editor, i go to file and save. after i close it and reopen, it loads up with what ive added. but when i close the engine out and return to it the next day or so. the project name is there and the thumbnail has what i built in it. but when i run it, it goes back to basic level with starter content. all my progress is gone and the thumbnail changes to the starter content image. im really confused as to what is happening here. i need a guiding voice.

I have had this issue in 4.7 when using any of the default starter content maps or materials without renaming them. I found a post a while back that said in 4.7 the editor reloaded starter content from the vault when reopening a project with starter content. I was just looking for that post again when I came across your question. From memory the fix involved changing a line of code in one of the config files.

here is the post:

Not sure if it solves the issue though as it is responding to a different problem.