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Windows 7: W7 boots up strange, and 'deletes' all files...why?


16 Nov 2009   #1

Windows 7
 
 
W7 boots up strange, and 'deletes' all files...why?

So I just bought a dell studio laptop, and it came with windows 7 ultimate on it. Loved it to pieces...for the first four days while it worked.

I just booted it up this morning, and the thing has decided that it'll come up with a black screen, and deleted all my files (not that I had much, and a good majority was backed up, but even so...). First time I booted it up, there was nothing on the desktop, and the taskbar icons weren't visible (replaced by the generic blank page icon). Also, the aero theme was disabled, even though the personalise menu was listed as having my theme set. I figured it was nothing major, and shut it down, gave it 10 mins, then rebooted. From here, it starts going downhill:
  • after reboot, the icons on desktop return, but wallpaper is still black. Folders I had on the desktop, and indeed everywhere else, no longer exist for some reason.
  • attempting to open the recycle bin on this second reboot results in some strange message saying it couldn't load the thing as some important file couldn't be accessed.
  • At this stage, I attempt a system restore, which seems to almost complete, then as it reaches the still black desktop, it says the restore failed for some reason.
  • Attempting a restore further back brings back the desktop, but no files.
  • A final system restore to undo the previous system restores yields the lame theme that was installed when I first booted the computer after I got it (some Dell one), and-big surprise-no files.
I've spent probably the last 2 hours looking around the net for information, but thus far haven't really found much that sounds like it could either be the cause or a solution. The last things that I installed on the computer before turning it off last night include iTunes. It worked fine yesterday.

Anyone know why the files disappeared, and/or how to get them back? Would greatly appreciate any help

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Nov 2009   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

Look in Computer>Manage>Event Viewer>Administrative View to google and resolve any Critical or Errors.

Look in Computer>Manage>Device manager for any hardware in error state (!)

I would run a Repair Install, which in Windows 7 is an upgrade over itself run from the desktop. Did Dell provide you with a clean copy of Windows 7 Ult? What are their repair/recov options?

All programs, files and settings are retained in place, the OS reinstalled and boot reconfigured correctly.

Afterwards you need to reactivate from Computer>Properties.

Personally I always do a clean reinstall when buying a manufacturer's installation corrupted by sponsored bloatware. Did Dell provide you with a clean copy of Windows 7 Ultimate? Others have said they still do. If not, we can help you clean reinstall using the RTM which will auto-activate with the license on your box.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2009   #3

Windows7 beta 7000
 
 

The deleting of files does not sound like something that could occur because of an error in Windows7. Is there any chance you already got a malicious program off the net or a thumb drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Nov 2009   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 OEM
 
 

The symptoms sound like hardware, video would be my first guess but 4 days, wow...since it is only the first week, I would do the factory re-image, F11 on most OEM machines...if it happens again, hardware....the weird thing is a video card issue would not delete files off the hard drive, strange...try a re-image and test...hmmm, bad HD?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2009   #5

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
The deleting of files does not sound like something that could occur because of an error in Windows7. Is there any chance you already got a malicious program off the net or a thumb drive?
Possible, but I'd run a scan just the night before; nothing it claims. I also don't surf the net from windows, and I'm fairly certain about any files on my USB.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Personally I always do a clean reinstall when buying a manufacturer's installation corrupted by sponsored bloatware. Did Dell provide you with a clean copy of Windows 7 Ultimate? Others have said they still do. If not, we can help you clean reinstall using the RTM which will auto-activate with the license on your box.
Yeah, I've got a copy of the disc that came with it. I must say a clean install is sounding mighty good right now, were it not for a few files. I may not have any choice.


Something else I just remembered, one of the times after booting up, it claimed that it couldn't load my user or something, and instead went into the default user (which is odd, considering I'm the only user registered on the comp).

Trying the above solutions to see if I can get me some results; thanks guys
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2009   #6

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BadLag View Post
The symptoms sound like hardware, video would be my first guess but 4 days, wow...since it is only the first week, I would do the factory re-image, F11 on most OEM machines...if it happens again, hardware....the weird thing is a video card issue would not delete files off the hard drive, strange...try a re-image and test...hmmm, bad HD?
Now that you mention it, I'd been having some wierd issues with my graphics. On my old Vista laptop (also Dell) which had roughly the same specs, my games would run fine, and at fairly decent settings. Now with windows 7 they ran really choppy, and some of the textures looked really...off (mainly noticed this in Team Fortress 2; most other games ran about the same texturewise). Didn't think much of it until now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2009   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 OEM
 
 

These OEM Windows builds are not tested other than the first boot, fresh install of Windows 7 is the first thing to try, your last post with the user error indicates bad sectors, I would do a full format, not a quick if you get that option....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2009   #8

Windows 7
 
 

Okay, so I've found the files, and I think I'm beginning to work out what's happening...sort of.

At some stage today, a message came up saying that windows was unable to load my profile, and thus loaded a "default" one. By the time this error came up, the files were already missing.

But taking a little poke around, the files were found in my actual user folder (i.e. C:/USER/<name>), whereas it seems to be by default looking in C:/USER/default now for some unknown reason. I'm going to mess around a bit, but by the sounds of things, a reinstall might be my best bet. I'll run a virus scan just to make sure that's not the issue, and after that's done will probably reinstall after that's done (assuming nobody here comes up with any other solutions).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2009   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 OEM
 
 

Its not a virus, this is classic Windows seeing a drive a thinking, I wanna boot to this drive and moving the swap files/profiles to that drive...did you get a "found new hardware, need to reboot"??? Did you boot the machine with an external hard drive connected??? Anyways, this thing may be fixed with "fixmbr" command from recovery console....I may be wrong but the more you say points to this possibility...let us know
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2009   #10

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BadLag View Post
Its not a virus, this is classic Windows seeing a drive a thinking, I wanna boot to this drive and moving the swap files/profiles to that drive...did you get a "found new hardware, need to reboot"??? Did you boot the machine with an external hard drive connected??? Anyways, this thing may be fixed with "fixmbr" command from recovery console....I may be wrong but the more you say points to this possibility...let us know
This sounds like it could be worth a shot. Don't know much about the fixmbr command or the recovery console, so I might need some help with locating and using it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 W7 boots up strange, and 'deletes' all files...why?




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