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Windows 7: Restore APPDATA to default location fails; APPDATA deleted by mistake

04 Dec 2014   #1
lite1

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 
Restore APPDATA to default location fails; APPDATA deleted by mistake

PROBABLY EASIEST TO SKIP TO POST #3 for quick summary. @ Yard Dog has offered some help but feels this is over his head and asked other experts to step. Thanks for your help.

======= Older description - probably not necessary to read ===========
During the process of setting up and installing programs on new desktop, I accidentally deleted most of the subfolders under APPDATA and wish to know the best approach to recovering. The details below might be important/unique to my situation and hence influence your expert advice. Briefly my mistake had come about when changing the location of various standard folders e.g. My Documents My Music Dekstop from their default location of C:\Users\name\ to a similarly named sub-folder under D:\myname\ In doing the same thing for each of the 3 subfolders (Local LocalLow Roaming) of APPDATA I was unable to redirect APPDATA\Local, and decided to restore the other two subfolders to their default location and it is during that process that I did something that resulted in deleting a great deal of APPDATA.

Resources I had created:
1) Windows System Restore points from just before installing several programs a few weeks ago. (But some internet forum posts indicate that such restore points would not do anything about deleted APPDATA.)

2) Immediately prior to 1 above I made full backups of C drive as well as Image - Clone - ISO file of entire hard drive including D.
These are stored on an external USB drive; and I have not yet tried to look at their contents.

NOTE: That subsequent to above I had installed about 10 programs but had not done any further backups or Clones.

Goal
A) Restore APPDATA to default locations.
B) Minimize the number of programs I need to install again.
C) Nice, but not critical ... The only important data transferred a few days ago onto new computer was some photos in My Pictures which I had redirected to D, and which are now gone.

DETAILS of what I did that led to deleted APPDATA
My relocating of MY Documents My Pictures Contacts etc. from default location to D went fine. Relocating 3 sub-folders under APPDATA was much more challenging as some files produced an Access Denied message; nonetheless, eventually it seems I was totally successdul with ROAMING and with LOCALLOW, but was unable to relocate LOCAL.

At that point, I tried to use the Restore Defaut button on Location tab in Properties of APPDATA subfolder and while this process started and ran for a short while it then showed some error message that I can not now recall. Per a forum post, I then tried to do this same thing in Safe Mode and when the Dropbox "bin" subfolder under ROAMING stalled the process I made a copy of "bin" and then deleted from within APPDATA; it is that deletion and whatever I did immediately thereafter that also deleted most other subfolders under APPDATA.

I am able to boot normally; however virtually all of my desktop folders and shortcuts are missing; task bar has pinned programs but the color image of prog does not display, yet I am able to launch and use the prog e.g. Adobe Reader.

What do I see first at C:\Users\name\Appdata and second at D:\name\Appdata? Basically it seems that APPDATA is a mixed bag being more complete at default location on C in some instances AND more complete at the new location on D.
At ROOT of APPDATA, roaminguser_gensett.xml in each but D has todays date whereas C shows 9.2.2014

LOCAL only appears in C and shows 32 subfolders (I assume this is complete as I was never able to relocate LOCAL to D.)

LOCALLOW 8 subfolders on C; and only Adobe and Microsoft on D. The two on D are ALSO on C but the date on D is today, and the same subfolder on C is yesterdays date AND while it has for ADOBE some of the same sub-subfolders it is missing the assets subfolder. For the Microsoft folder, C drive is more complete meaning that there are 3 subfolders missing from D e.g. those for locallow\microsoft\Internet Explorer Silverlight and Windows however these sub-subfolders have no files within.

I am NOT going to launch any programs or do anything else until advised. I really appreciate your help in recovering from my stupid error.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Dec 2014   #2
lite1

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Anyone? Assistance would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2014   #3
lite1

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Let me try again to get some help. I have accidentally deleted a great deal of APPDATA and trying to recover my new desktop and want advice on the best approach.

1) Problem occurred when I had first redirected location of APPDATA 3 subfolders from default location under USERS on my SSD to other internal HD. I was unsuccessful in redirecting one of the 3 subfolders so used the Restore Default Location button in attempt to reverse the process. Windows reported/failed to restore things to the default location and seemingly deleted a large number of files. Now I am uncertain where Windows is "looking for APPDATA (local Roaming LocalLow) - more on that in a moment.

2) Resources for recovery
A) I have several Windows standard created System Restore point BEFORE I did the redirecing of the APPDATA subfolders. Forum posts here and elsewhere seem to indicate contradictory things about whether using such a restore point will re-establish things. Some indicate the System Restore does NOT deal with APPDATA at all!!!

B) I ran Recuva from USB thumb drive and recovered 4,461 files and folder structure of APPDATA as it appeared on the D drive where I had re-directed things.

3) IMPORTANT NOTE Current state of desktop shows a much fuller set of Folders - subfolders (&files) in USERS\APPDATA than which is the default location and the D drive has very little APPDATA. So as I wrote previously, I have no idea of where Windows is looking for APPDATA.

I truly appreciate your time and expertise in suggesting the best steps to take so that I am most likely to recover things. I am fine with using the Restore Point as a solution and if that is successful then I'd only need to re-install 6 to 10 programs which is OK. There is very little content I have created on this desktop so I am NOT concerned about loosing any of that as most are test files to make sure programs were working properly after installation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Dec 2014   #4
Yard Dog

Win 7 Home Premium SP1 32 bit
 
 

Hmmm. wondering if shadow explorer will find them. : ShadowExplorer - Recover Lost Files and Folders
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2014   #5
lite1

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

@Yard Dog thanks for link, I found somthing similar here BUT I don't know whether I should try to replace everything in the default location of USERS or not. I don't know how Windows works and wonder whether my redirecting APPDATA folders has made registry changes. If it has and Windows is looking for files in the re-directed folder - subfolders, restoring things to the default USER location might simply make things worse. Thanks to you or anyone else who knows enough to make a valid suggestion. I believe through Recuva and/or the suggested program and my restore points I already have access to the deleted files. My issue/question is where should I copy things to?

When I asked Windows to restore things to the default location it had done so for 2 of the subfolders in APPDATA but failed on another one so I think Windows is "confused" and "looking" for some APPDATA in the redirected area AND some in the default location.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2014   #6
Yard Dog

Win 7 Home Premium SP1 32 bit
 
 

yeah.. see your issue.. it can get confusing.. how bout copy all to a flash drive ? Just get them all on something.. for now.. then we work on installing them into your drive ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2014   #7
Yard Dog

Win 7 Home Premium SP1 32 bit
 
 

Then.. we let the experts take over.. we can get you sorted.. I will post this for others to follow up on.. we can get ya sorted..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2014   #8
lite1

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

From Recuva I have already copied everything from APPDATA on the non-SSD internal HD where I had redirected APPDATA. I have NOT yet used software to go into a Restore Point and copied APPDATA from the USER (default) location to a USB drive. I can do the latter, especially if I can run the program from a USB drive as I do NOT want to install anything on the SSD (operating system drive) or on the other internal HD drive as it seems that it is best to avoid writing anything to either of those, correct?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2014   #9
Yard Dog

Win 7 Home Premium SP1 32 bit
 
 

Yes.. pls hold at what you have done.. I have requested experts to take over from here.. standby for them to assist .. thanks for using SevenForums..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2014   #10
lite1

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

I appreciate your suggestions. It is middle of the night for me and I am off to bed. Once I have both sets of APPDATA to a separate external drive, what is that you suggest that I do? I'd like to have a picture of the suggested approach? Am I correct in assuming that when I redirected APPDATA and then partially was successful in via the Windows button "Restore to Default Location" that these processes made Registry entries? If they did then my non-computer statement that Windows seems "confused" and is "looking for APPDATA in two locations seems to have some accuracy. While I'd prefer that it "look for all APPDATA" on the non-SSD drive since I was unsuccessful in accomplishing, getting it to look for all of it in the default location in USERS is quite fine with me.

Glad that you have requested more expertise, I will look for it after getting some sleep. Thanks to you and to anyone else that joins in. You are life savers ...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Restore APPDATA to default location fails; APPDATA deleted by mistake




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