10 people who accidentally deleted their entire dissertation

Here are 10 people who accidentally deleted their dissertation, and were surprisingly calm about it. And also some tips on what to do if this happens to you, before you panic and contact an expensive data-recovery company.

10) This poor student, who took this a little too well

9) This near-death experience

8) This casual goodbye

7) This is why you never leave your computer unattended, even to pee

6) This other near-death experience

5) Megan takes the award for "most calm" dissertation deletion

4) Things are going swimmingly for Rachel

3) This person, grotesquely misusing the word "lololololololol"

2) This former Apple fan

1) This person, grotesquely misusing the word "ahahhaaahahhaa"

If you've accidentally deleted your dissertation, here are some simple options you can try, to restore the file to its former glory.

If your words are missing, but the document is still there

Press Ctrl + Z

This is the most obvious place to start. Press ctrl + z (or cmd + z if you're using a fancy Mac) immediately if your words were there, and then suddenly they weren't. This will hopefully undo whatever it is you've done that made all your words go away.

Look at your tracked changes

Open up your tracked changes (or "view changes" on Google Docs) and click on the previous versions until you find the right one.

Reload the document (if it's still there)

Reload the last save file available. See how much you've lost. Cry.

If it's not there, and you're using Word,

  1. Click the File menu, click Open, click Computer, and then click Browse.
  2. Locate the folder in which you last saved the missing file.
  3. In the Files of type list (All Word documents), click All Files. ...
  4. Click the backup file, and then click Open.

The backup file should be your most recent save.

If you've deleted it entirely

Search the document name in your file finder

Search for the document you've deleted. It could be you haven't deleted it, you've just moved it somewhere weird by accident. A quick search should bring it up.

If that doesn't work, look at your most recent documents. It should be there, if you haven't deleted it (and were working on it very recently).

Check the recycling folder

If you've accidentally right clicked and deleted an essay, this is a good thing. Just go to your recycling bin and drag it back into your normal folder. It will now be undeleted and your problem is solved.

Ask your friend who is good with computers

You've somehow deleted your files. You probably aren't the best person to start messing around with the recovery system, or trying to mine your lost data. Ask a friend immediately to take the computer out of your hands and find it again.

Don't panic

There are ways to get your essays back. Your computer / Google Docs / Word will regularly backup whatever you're writing, even if you forget to hit the save button. There will be a


It's now standard practice that you tweet everybody to tell them of your pain. Tweet about it, whilst a friend locates it on your computer. It's cathartic. Then, when they've found it for you, resume your dissertation / update your followers.