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Windows 7: Files disappear and strange duplicate folders


02 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
Files disappear and strange duplicate folders

Running Windows 7 Home Premium with all updates on an i5-2500K PC. I have two problems that are happening on my D: data spinner drive.

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PROBLEM-1:

Within the last week, some files just disappeared. For instance, today I renamed a .jpg file from "IMG_989.jpg" to "Bumper 03.jpg". As soon as I pressed the ENTER key, the "IMG 989.jpg" file disappeared and the "Bumper 03.jpg" file does not exist.

I went to folder options in Explorer and verified that show hidden files, folders and drives" is checked and all of the other options are set to view everything as I've always set them since WinXP.

I ran cmd.exe and did a DIR command for the folder that contained the .jpg picture and neither "IMG_989.jpg" nor "Bumper 03.jpg" exists.

While continuing to work, I pasted a graphic in a new document in Photoshop and saved the document as "Front Bumper.jpg". Now I don't see that file either.

I installed the "Agent Ransack" search program and searched both my C: system drive and my internal 1TB data drive and the files were not found.

--------------
PROBLEM-2:

While trying to troubleshoot the problems above, I wondered if my main folder name of "PHOTOS ###" was causing a problem in Windows 7. So I tried to rename the folder to "PHOTOS" but Windows 7 would not allow it saying there was already a folder with that name.

Scanning the root directory of my data drive (D, I found a strange folder like item named "PHOTOS" that had a white file icon. When I click on that item, Windows 7 pops up a window that contains many different programs asking me to choose the one to open the item with. IOW, Win 7 doesn't know how to open that item. Clicking properties, the size of the item is 2.34MB.

Further scanning revealed that there was another strange item in the root directory named "GRAPHICS". I have a legitimate folder named "GRAPHICS ###" so the same thing happened to it. Clicking on the strange "GRAPHICS" item, Windows 7 doesn't know how to open it either.

I never created either of the strange items. Windows 7 created them all on its own.

-----

Any ideas on either of my two Windows 7 problems?

Thanks,
Skyzoomer

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

02 Jul 2012   #2

Windows 7 x64 Professional SP1
 
 

Hi there Skyzoomer...

Have you excluded the possibility of infection by viruses/malware by scanning your computer?

If you haven't, perhaps you can try the following steps:-

Download Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) from here:
Microsoft Security Essentials - Free Antivirus for Windows

Download the updates for MSE from here:
Install the latest Microsoft Security Essentials definition updates - Get the latest definitions - Microsoft Malware Protection Center

Download malwarebytes from here:
Download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.61 - FileHippo.com

And the malwarebytes updates from here:
http://data.mbamupdates.com/tools/mbam-rules.exe

Also, if you could fill up your system specs by following the tutorial below:-

System Info - See Your System Specs

Thanks in advance!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

The problem being described isn't specific to Windows 7 alone or even to the Windows OS entirely! This often occurs on other OSs as well.

One solution when going to rename any file or folder "and poof! gone suddenly" is to close up the immediate Windows Explorer windows and reopen a new one to browse to the same folder and then the renamed file is right there in plain sight.

The group file by name, type, date, etc. options can also be a help with that. With folders that seem to appear out of nowhere they may set by the system administrator(buit-in Windows admin) to be read only seeing that box checked off even when they are folders you created on your own. Windows is automatically elevating the permissions needed where any attempt to save and overwrite one folder may end up with a duplicate with a slight name change.

The files and folders search option usually can sort out just where any renamed file is to be found by simply typing in the new name. It doesn't rule out the other possibility of a malware infection of some type while that is less probable.

Sometimes Windows does need a little help at times. Besides taking ownership over any file or folder you might need to see the default associations restored if Windows has a problem. Default File Type Associations - Restore
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


02 Jul 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by solarmystic View Post
Hi there Skyzoomer...

Have you excluded the possibility of infection by viruses/malware by scanning your computer?
...snip...
I'm already running MSE with all updates. I ran the full scan and nothing was found. I'll try the malwarebytes and post the results.

Thanks,
skyzoomer
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jul 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Night Hawk View Post
One solution when going to rename any file or folder "and poof! gone suddenly" is to close up the immediate Windows Explorer windows and reopen a new one to browse to the same folder and then the renamed file is right there in plain sight.
That's the first thing I did and the renamed file was still missing. I also tried restarting and the file was still missing.

Quote:
The group file by name, type, date, etc. options can also be a help with that. With folders that seem to appear out of nowhere they may set by the system administrator(buit-in Windows admin) to be read only seeing that box checked off even when they are folders you created on your own. Windows is automatically elevating the permissions needed where any attempt to save and overwrite one folder may end up with a duplicate with a slight name change.
I don't quite understand this paragraph above.

Quote:
The files and folders search option usually can sort out just where any renamed file is to be found by simply typing in the new name. It doesn't rule out the other possibility of a malware infection of some type while that is less probable.
I've had questionable results with Windows 7's search before so I downloaded and ran the "Agent Ransack" search program. It was not able to find the original or renamed files on my C: or D: drives. I also tried using wild cards like "Bumper*.*" and the missing file still was not found.

Quote:
Sometimes Windows does need a little help at times. Besides taking ownership over any file or folder you might need to see the default associations restored if Windows has a problem. Default File Type Associations - Restore
I'll check out that link and see if it helps.

Thanks,
Skyzoomer
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jul 2012   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

[QUOTE=Skyzoomer;1986618]
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Night Hawk;1986501
The group file by name, type, date, etc. options can also be a help with that. With folders that seem to appear out of nowhere they may set by the system administrator(buit-in Windows admin) to be read only seeing that box checked off even when they are folders you created on your own. Windows is automatically elevating the permissions needed where any attempt to save and overwrite one folder may end up with a duplicate with a slight name change.[/quote

I don't quite understand this paragraph above.

Quote:
Sometimes Windows does need a little help at times. Besides taking ownership over any file or folder you might need to see the default associations restored if Windows has a problem. Default File Type Associations - Restore
I'll check out that link and see if it helps.

Thanks,
Skyzoomer
I was referring to the view settings like list, details, etc. there where you also have the option for arranging files by the "name of file" in aphabetical order, type of file, date created, etc. If you changed from name to type it reorganizes the files by the file extension rather then in alphabetical order to check up on all files of the same type.

What I suspect happened with the files once renamed is that they were saved without the 3 digit extension at the end. That right there will turn a normal file into a "phantom" invisible from view at times until renamed back. This would explain why you are not finding the files themselves.

On folders you create often when you right click to bring up the properties screen you will find the "read only" box is checked off when a rename runs into permissions problems. That's when you simply have to take ownership over it through the properties>advanced>owner tab to change owner from system admin to you. Sharing and Permissions

The other option is adding a TakeOwnership option to the right click menu. Besides the phantom file problem anyone can run into when not finishing a file rename where that problem comes up the fix offered in the other for restoring the default associations certainly won't hurt and usually corrects an annoying Windows related problem or two.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2012   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Night Hawk View Post
I was referring to the view settings like list, details, etc. there where you also have the option for arranging files by the "name of file" in aphabetical order, type of file, date created, etc. If you changed from name to type it reorganizes the files by the file extension rather then in alphabetical order to check up on all files of the same type.
Night Hawk,
Thanks for taking the time to help me out!

When the file disappeared, I did go to Windows 7's explorer and when I didn't see either the original file nor the renamed file, I used explorer's "view" and resorted by date. Neither file showed up then either. I opened cmd.exe and used the DOS window to search the folder and neither the original nor the renamed file was there. Somehow both files just disappeared.

Quote:
What I suspect happened with the files once renamed is that they were saved without the 3 digit extension at the end. That right there will turn a normal file into a "phantom" invisible from view at times until renamed back. This would explain why you are not finding the files themselves.
I just tried renaming a .jpg file in Photoshop which is what I did when the file disappeared. I left off the .jpg extension but Photoshop won't allow it and just returns the file name to the original name with the .jpg extension. So I don't think leaving off the extension was the problem.

Quote:
On folders you create often when you right click to bring up the properties screen you will find the "read only" box is checked off when a rename runs into permissions problems. That's when you simply have to take ownership over it through the properties>advanced>owner tab to change owner from system admin to you. Sharing and Permissions

The other option is adding a TakeOwnership option to the right click menu. Besides the phantom file problem anyone can run into when not finishing a file rename where that problem comes up the fix offered in the other for restoring the default associations certainly won't hurt and usually corrects an annoying Windows related problem or two.
I'll keep this in mind.

Thanks for taking the time,
Skyzoomer
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

I wasn't referring to Photo Shop when mentioning files seen without the 3 digit extension on them. When you right click to rename or open the general tab off of the properties and press enter once the name is changed you can forget to add or simply press enter too fast before adding on the file extension and end up with file without any.

When doing that in WE of course the renamed file is still right there only with the name change seen once the properties screen is closed up. As for any program like PS or Photo Viewer even you will a list of extensions to choose from as far as jpg, bmp, png, and any other extensions used for photos and images the program supports.

One idea to see if your present Windows install is upside down would be to create a temp folder with a name like Temp and then try browsing to it when going to save any new file in PS to see if it shows up or not. Photoshop may have stuck files in one of your user account sub folders rather then where you had it set to save being another thought if you had originally set a destination folder. PS would then have reverted to it''s own defaults.

The extent of the problem does sound too much more like an OS problem especially if you had just made some changes lately. Any new programs, setting changes for hardwares, etc. It suggests the 7 install there is going buggy on you!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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