A reader sort of threw down a challenge. She thought a recent mistake she made was the dumbest mistake I’d ever heard of. Here’s what went wrong for her:

“The only reason I’m gonna tell you this is that I bet is the most unbelievable thing someone has ever done on a computer at this point in your career.
Here it is:  I actually, but mistakenly, deleted my entire pictures library!!  But, I thought I still have my 90,000+- pictures in Photo Gallery.  I clicked it open only to watch as the folders began disappearing from the screen.  Photo Gallery is actually a mirror of Pictures Library. 
Unbelievable, right.  I am still in disbelief that I could have done such an unbelievably stupid thing.  OK, accidentally, but stupid.  I have run three recovery programs and gotten some photos back, but an incredible amount of corrupted ones and in no order whatsoever.  I was able to discover two of the recovery files, but not the third.
Since I have done that, I am reasonably sure there is no further way I can recover any more of them.  What I have done is to make a folder for years 2000 to 2018 and moved uncorrupted photos into the years they were taken in.  However, during the recoveries, the dates were changed for some reason that is beyond my comprehension.   What I’d like to know is which recovery program do you recommend for the future.
The problem is not as dire as it sounds, as I do have the photos on two external hard drives, one I can open and one I still have not been able to get into (although all indications are that it is working properly), I cannot get the pc to recognize it).  I have told you of this prior.  To bring them back into the pc is hard as the menu I get in attempting it, is to move them to documents, not pictures library.  I haven’t had to will to attempt anything further as the stress of the situation is . . . .!  Distressing, to say the least.
So, is this the number 1 stupid thing you’ve heard of in all of your years in solving our problems?”
Honestly, not even close to the worst mistake I’ve ever heard of. I think the government wins that hands down for things like unsecured servers. And this is actually the second time I’ve heard of someone making that mistake.
Recovering deleted files is always a tricky business. The best bet is to have an external back-up as you do. It’s even safer to have items backed up in both the cloud and on an external drive.  Especially precious items like photos might be worth backing up to two separate external drives. One to keep close at hand at home and another to but in a safe deposit box just in case something happens to your home.
A recovery program is always the last resort. For important files, you might want to consider password protecting them so they can’t be deleted without that extra step of entering a password can also help prevent accidents.
There are an awful lot of good data recovery software options out there including Stellar Phoenix, ProSoft, Recuva, Seagate Premium Recovery Suite, Kroll Ontrack Easy Recovery, and more. But there’s no guarantee of recovering files intact. And as you noticed, there will be a new date because it’s actually a new file put together from the pieces of what recovery programs are able to find.
My favorite all-time tech mistake involved a customer at my previous company who had purchased a cable and program designed to transfer your old files and programs to a new PC. She complained bitterly that nowhere in the product information did it state that you had to have the old PC to plug the cable into. She’d gotten rid of the old PC but thought that somehow the magic cable would be able to transfer the programs.
Anyone else willing to own up to their worst tech mistake ever? Let us know in the comments.