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Windows 7: all data files AND programs have disappeared...

24 Mar 2016   #1
maya90

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 
all data files AND programs have disappeared...

my sister's computer (a Windows 7 notebook) now, when you turn it on, it says something like "welcome to your new computer..." and all her data files and programs are gone..
(her account is still there, I was able to log on with the same password from before...)

the last time she used it was a few weeks ago.. everything was working fine..
(since then the computer underwent a long road trip... I don't suppose something could have happened to the hard drive during the road trip to cause this? the road trip was a return trip, nothing happened to it on the trip there, and the computer has been on the same return road trip before..)

we're baffled here.... how can we fix this? can we recover the data and programs?


thank you...


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Mar 2016   #2
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Is it a Spinner(mechanical HD) or SSD?

What happens after login?
Does it go to a desktop? Is it like the desktop you get on the first boot out of the box?

When shut down did it really do a shutdown or just Sleep or Hibernate?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2016   #3
remm

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maya90 View Post
my sister's computer (a Windows 7 notebook) now, when you turn it on, it says something like "welcome to your new computer..." [...]
To me it sounds like it's not booting into her profile, but into a new profile, as if the computer was just setup. (I know it wasn't, just saying that seems to be the prompt you are getting.) Are you sure all the programs are really GONE? Did you look at the Program Mgr to see what's installed, or check the directories (/Programs and /Programs (x86)..) It is not likely the data and programs are actually gone, but more likely the profile is not her old one, or it got corrupted.

Not likely this would make a diff since this isn't a driver problem, but for the heck of it, did you try booting into safe mode?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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25 Mar 2016   #4
maya90

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MilesAhead View Post
Is it a Spinner(mechanical HD) or SSD?

What happens after login?
Does it go to a desktop? Is it like the desktop you get on the first boot out of the box?

When shut down did it really do a shutdown or just Sleep or Hibernate?

it's a classic spinning HD.....

after login it goes to the desktop, but there are these two new things that weren't there before (showing things like "welcome to your new computer...") like a pop-up on the desktop (that you can close by clicking on a "x" on upper right)

this computer's battery is working very poorly... when you don't touch the machine in a while and come back you have to press on/off button to get it going again (and have to log back in..) at least that's how it's set up, I suppose... remember, it's not my machine..

thank you for your response....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2016   #5
maya90

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by remm View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maya90 View Post
my sister's computer (a Windows 7 notebook) now, when you turn it on, it says something like "welcome to your new computer..." [...]
To me it sounds like it's not booting into her profile, but into a new profile, as if the computer was just setup. (I know it wasn't, just saying that seems to be the prompt you are getting.)

yes but her account (uid/password) are still there... and yes, when I go to program files/.... MS Office is no longer there.... (don't know what other programs are missing... Skype and stuff like that....)


Are you sure all the programs are really GONE? Did you look at the Program Mgr to see what's installed,

will check program mgr... I personally am on a mac... I forget things like Program Mgr..;~))

Not likely this would make a diff since this isn't a driver problem, but for the heck of it, did you try booting into safe mode?
no haven't done that...

also there's a "Recovery Mgr" under programs (in Start Menu) should I try using that?

thank you for your response...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2016   #6
maya90

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

ok.. I just looked again..

the programs (MS Office...) are there.. don't know why I didn't see it yesterday
(why is there a Programs Files/ and a Programs File(x86)??
and the programs appear in both of these folders... why is this..)

why is there a "Documents" folder and a "My Documents" folder.. for people who don't know how to organize their data files this is not pratical at all.. as they usu. have half their stuff in one folder and half in another... oh well.....

so now all that's missing is her data files.... is there a way to recover those?

thank you...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2016   #7
carmellolb

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Man! What the heck happened?
Try this. Restart your computer, but before right after it shuts down (before it starts up again) press F8 a couple of times. Click enter on either "SATA" option, then immideately press F8 again. Select "Repair My Computer". Click Recovery. Then click System Restore. Restore it to a point that you know your computer was fine at. Restore it to that point. This method always works for me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2016   #8
GEWB

Several flavors of Linux (Mint primary) / 32bit XP, Win7 HomeP / 64bit Win7 Pro, Ultimate / 64Win8.1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maya90 View Post

also there's a "Recovery Mgr" under programs (in Start Menu) should I try using that?
NOooooo - don't touch that!

As posted above, sounds like it is trying to set up a new user profile.

Regards,
GEWB
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2016   #9
maya90

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GEWB View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maya90 View Post
also there's a "Recovery Mgr" under programs (in Start Menu) should I try using that?
NOooooo - don't touch that!
ok.. I won't....

Quote:
As posted above, sounds like it is trying to set up a new user profile.

yes, but, as mentioned, her account is still there.. I was able to log into her acct w/the same pswd as before.....

thank you....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2016   #10
remm

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maya90 View Post
this computer's battery is working very poorly... when you don't touch the machine in a while and come back you have to press on/off button to get it going again (and have to log back in..) at least that's how it's set up, I suppose... remember, it's not my machine..
That does not indicate a bad battery. The computer is configured to sleep when inactive for a period of time, and the on/off button is configured to wake it up. That's normal. If it falls asleep too quickly the time period before it sleeps can be changed, but that's not your main problem right now.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maya90 View Post
ok.. I just looked again..

the programs (MS Office...) are there.. don't know why I didn't see it yesterday
(why is there a Programs Files/ and a Programs File(x86)??
and the programs appear in both of these folders... why is this..)
It is a 64-bit version of Windows. Programs written for 32bit OS's get installed into the latter folder (x86 indicates 32-bit), whereas native 64-bit programs get installed into the Programs folder... and some programs load info into both folders. You don't need to be concerned about that either though.

Quote:
why is there a "Documents" folder and a "My Documents" folder.. for people who don't know how to organize their data files this is not pratical at all.. as they usu. have half their stuff in one folder and half in another... oh well.....
The My Documents and Documents folders are created by Windows. The OS organizes things a certain way, automatically putting certain data certain places unless the user overrides it. No worries there either.

Quote:
so now all that's missing is her data files.... is there a way to recover those?
The data files are not missing, but unless logged into her profile, they will not show up as this is a privacy feature. I know you believe you ARE signing into her acct or profile, but the "welcome to your new computer" popup is a dead giveaway you are not, or the profile is corrupt.

The reason you don't want to use the Recovery manager is if it restores the computer it will restore it to how it was when brand new, meaning no programs or data anymore.

Quote:
As posted above, sounds like it is trying to set up a new user profile.
Quote:
yes, but, as mentioned, her account is still there.. I was able to log into her acct w/the same pswd as before.....
But something is rotten in Denmark or you wouldn't be having these problems.

Do you know how to log into the acct with admin privileges? Every Windows OS has a default admin acct with admin priv's. I'd recommend logging into that, then trying the following but it requires some know-how as it involves editing the Windows registry. The following suggestion was cut/pasted from here for solving a similar problem of a corrupted profile.



---PASTE---
There is a better way to fix the immediate problem. You can do this under your own user ID if you have administrative privileges:
  1. Run REGEDIT
  2. Navigate to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList"
  3. You should find your profile key, with another named identically except for a ".bak" extension
  4. Delete the "normally named" key
  5. Rename the ".bak" named key to remove the ".bak" extension
  6. Restart your machine
If you do not have administrative privileges, you will need to fist sign on with a user ID that does.

This will allow you to preserve all of the customization you "lost" without having to recreate everything. I have to do this at home all of the time. [...] Executing the fix above always brings the desktop back.

... by Dmitry Bond Friday, October 12, 2012 7:53 AM
--- END PASTE ---

Before trying the above you might just pop into Control Panel -> User Accounts ... and look at the user acct... see if anything looks amiss. Click on Manage Another Account and see if any other accts are listed... maybe a dupe that's screwing things up. This is also where you can log into the native Admin acct.

OR.... it would be even easier to use Carmello's plan above, but not everyone has the recovery console installed, so I'd suggest (since you can boot into Windows anyway), going to Control Panel -> Recovery -> click the Open System Restore button. Check the little box that says "Show more restore points" and look for a restore point that is dated PRIOR to this problem occurring. (If System Restore is not enabled on her machine, there will not be any restore points available and this option is dead.) If there IS an older restore point, select it and follow the instructions, letting the machine reboot as needed to restore to the earlier point.

If that works great. If not, you might try the above to fix the corrupted profile.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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