For the love of God...don't do what I did a couple nights ago. I was attempting to consolidate all the chapters of my manuscript into a single document, and...well, I fucked up. The worst thing that could possibly happen, happened. I committed the cardinal sin. That one thing they warn you about. The one thing that only dumb asshats like myself do.
I ended up deleting about 80% of my manuscript.
First off, I wasn't really paying attention to what I was doing. I was cutting, pasting, deleting, cutting, pasting, deleting...watching TV, yawning, eating, drinking, yawning, and then...*delete* I deleted. The wrong. Document.
No problem, right? Just go to the recycle bin? Wrong. I was working with the files on my thumb drive, and once you delete them from there, they don't go to the recycle bin. There are just gone. I did a computer recovery, setting it back to what it was a few days ago, but that didn't help. The auto backups don't include the thumb drive. Learn from me, my friends. Learn from my stupidity.
So to the Internet I flew. I downloaded multiple free file recovery programs. Some were crappy, some were okay. You get what you pay for. Thankfully, because Baby Jesus loves me (or maybe not, because he allowed me to fuck up so badly), I was able to recover most of my stuff. Some is corrupt for some odd reason, but I just happen to have a stash of various chapters (in varying stages of completion) buried on my computer hard drive at home and at work. I can piece it all back together, but I'm going to have to re-write some.