SOLVED Missing Documents, music, etc.


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Started up computer today, and noticed that my background was the default background again. Upon further investigation, I realized that all of my documents, music, pictures were missing, my browser history is missing, as well as saved passwords. My default browser had changed, my desktop icons were in different places, in short everything seemed wrong. I thought it might be an issue with indexing, but that seems not to be the case. I've tried restoring from a previous version with no success, and tried using Recuva, also with no success. The files seem to exist somewhere, as there seems to be little to no change in storage capacity for my hd, but I can't find my files anywhere. Any ideas?
 
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Are you the only person using your computer?? Someone from your family or friend might have unintentionally changed your PC settings and moved your files to somewhere else. Ask them and see if they know anything about this. Moreover, list all the programs (if any) you've installed before this error starts happening.

If that's not the case, Try professional recovery program like Stellar Phoenix Partition Recovery and use advanced options for scanning your drive and later than, recovering your files if they've got deleted or misplaced. The software has search functionality and capability to narrow down the search results by looking for files with any desired extension.

At last, I would want to know the error message you've seen while trying to restore your system. Try performing 'Startup Repair' and see if any important system files has been missing or damaged.

Good Luck!!
 

Shintaro

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I would think that you user profile has become corrupt. You might find that your account is still there in c:\Users
 

TrainableMan

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It could also be a virus. Some viruses hide your files by marking them as hidden and/or system files.

I suggest your first step is to make sure you are not infected. Download TDSSKiller and RKill from our Freeware DB. If you do not have an anti-virus then download, install, and allow to update Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM). Then reboot your system into safe mode without networking (Reboot and, when it says "Starting Windows," Press F8; If you get a message asking continue in safe mode or perform a system restore, choose continue in safe mode). Now run TDSSKiller and after that run RKill and after that run a full virus scan. The first two will take maybe 5 minutes each but a full virus scan can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depending on your hard drive size and number of files.

Booting in safe mode makes sure only minimal services/programs are started. TDSSKiller is designed specifically to look for rootkits. RKill is designed to stop the stealthing programs that hide/protect/regenerate some nasty viruses. Running these first will help ensure your A/V has the absolute best chance of cleaning up infected files.

NOTE: Even though I have recommended Stellar Phoenix in the past, it is paid software, and I see it as more of a possible solution for hard drive issues when files cannot be located because of file table errors or lost formatting caused by a hard drive going bad. Even if their Data Recovery software can locate the missing files, unless you already own the software, I would encourage you to attempt free methods before paying out money.
 
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UPDATE: I've performed a virus scan, found a couple viruses, didn't fix the problem. I did however locate most of my files on my computer, they just don't show up in 'my documents'. My newest theory is that when I log in, it does not load all of my settings, documents, etc. Any theories what is actually happening, and just as importantly what is the easiest way to fix this?
 
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To answer your questions, I am the only one using the computer. I didn't get an error message restoring my system, it just didn't fix the problem. I did do a startup repair before finding my lost files, though i'm not sure this was helpful. Shintaro's right, I did find my files in my account under c:\Users.
Thanks for the help so far.
 
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TrainableMan

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People wrongly assume that getting rid of a virus will automatically put things back the way they were, unfortunately this is often not the case. If the virus put triggers in the start-up then even after it is gone you get start-up errors, or worse, it's not really gone and a backup restarts the malware. If it changed or moved any files, they stay changed/moved unless you locate and fix them. And if it deleted files, they may be gone completely. And if it messed up your registry, then your registry stays messed up unless you have a way to restore it. Viruses are nasty pieces of code from very nasty little people.

So it sounds like your registry may have been damaged; the registry includes your personalized settings, for example your library pointers. I suggest you go to System Restore. If it recommends a restore point, choose pick another (it may skip this screen). Once at the list of restore points check the box to "show more". If you are lucky, you will have restore points, however some nasty viruses actually delete all your restore points. So if you have any, pick a date prior to all the problems and allow it to restore. If things are back to normal after the restore then great. If not, then try an older restore point.

If you have success restoring your system, then run yet another virus scan. But if you run out of restore points or don't have any, then my best recommendation is to back up all your files you found, to a flash drive or external harddrive, gather your W7 product key and any additional software you use, and then completely reinstall W7.
 

TrainableMan

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Sometimes anti-virus software detects things that are only suspicious (often called PUPs, i.e. Potentially Unwanted Programs) or even more minor, tracking cookies etc, which are not viruses at all. So do you happen to recall what "viruses" were found? If it was these minor things then your issue was more likely caused by you then by a virus. A restore point could still pretty easily help your situation but if you only had PUPs or tracking cookies, my last suggestion of a complete reinstall shouldn't be needed and would almost surely be overkill.
 

TrainableMan

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So you created a new user and moved all your files over to the new userid?

Did you even try a restore point? It might have been able to reset your registry to a time prior to the corruption and then you could keep the old userid.

You mention you are still missing your notes. What kind of notes? What is the file extension? And were they in your documents or on your desktop or where? If you did not delete your old userid they may still be there, for example if they were on your desktop check in c:\users\your-old-userid\desktop.
 
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I tried to restore, but the only option(yesterday afternoon) was after the corruption.

I was using the Sticky Notes program. I'm holding on to my old profile for a little while at least, but no, I'm not seeing stickynotes anywhere in my old profile.
 
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TrainableMan

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Under the old ID, type %appdata%\Microsoft\Sticky Notes on the Windows Explorer folder line.
Copy the file: StickyNotes.snt
 
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TrainableMan

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Well if you have all your files now; I would encourage you to make a backup to a flash drive or external hard drive. And get into the habit of taking a back-up once a month or so.

I'm glad things worked out.
 

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