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Windows 7: Unable to undo Explorer search files transfer

02 Oct 2016   #1
pcaker

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 
Unable to undo Explorer search files transfer

I asked Explorer to search for files made between 2 dates 2 weeks apart. A large number of folders & files correctly displayed. In order to further reduce search to one file type, I created a new folder and tried to copy all the search found files to it, so that I could then re-search for *.mp4 files only.
However, it did not copy but instead began MOVING files to new folder. I cancelled, but not before many files had been moved. I then tried Ctrl Z - nothing, then UNDO from toolbar - inactive, which I had called up. Neither undo operation worked.
So now I have a very large number of files (1,685) and folders (49) drawn and moved from all over my computer, which I cannot begin to see how to put back into their original locations. I may be able to put back most of the folders which I had created, but as for the rest ..........!
I would very much appreciate advice on how to undo this disastrous operation


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
03 Oct 2016   #2
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Without a backup I don't know what you can do. In the future you may want to use a copy utility that logs file moves.

Also depending on your hardware you may be able to use one of the "Time Machine" or "Freeze" utilities that lets you roll back the changes to a partition or entire drive by rebooting.

Another safeguard is an imaging backup such as Macrium Reflect.

Just as an experiment I searched in Explorer for all files under Program File with .txt extension. Then I selected all and copied to clipboard. I then pasted into a text editor and got nothing. So even this precaution seems not to work. I don't see any way you can back things off at this point.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2016   #3
pcaker

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Thanks MilesAhead for addressing my problem. The only mitigations are that I only searched the D partition, hopefully not containing any system or application files. In file properties, folder source was unfortunately replace by new temporary folder.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

04 Oct 2016   #4
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Were the source and destination folders on the same partition? When Windows moves a file to a location on the same partition it just updates the directory location rather than copying the file. But if the destination is on a different partition it will physically copy to destination, then delete the source. In this case you may be able to find the deleted files using an undelete utility. This would give some clues to the source folder locations. But if the whole operation was inside the same partition I don't know of any way to trace the sources.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2016   #5
pcaker

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Unfortunately, source & destination were on partition D
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2016   #6
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pcaker View Post
Unfortunately, source & destination were on partition D
If you have System Restore enabled this freeware may be able to show you the source folders of some of the files. ShadowExplorer has a Gui similar to many Undelete utilities. It looks through your Restore Points and gives a dropdown with the dates of each. You can look through the file tree but I don't think it is searchable. Still it may refresh your memory for some files.

In any case it is a good free tool for your toolbox.

The only other suggestion I can make is google some of the filenames with terms like "default location" or whatnot. You may be able to get a few back where they belong that way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2016   #7
Eric3742

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pcaker View Post
I asked Explorer to search for files made between 2 dates 2 weeks apart. A large number of folders & files correctly displayed. In order to further reduce search to one file type, I created a new folder and tried to copy all the search found files to it, so that I could then re-search for *.mp4 files only.
However, it did not copy but instead began MOVING files to new folder. I cancelled, but not before many files had been moved. I then tried Ctrl Z - nothing, then UNDO from toolbar - inactive, which I had called up. Neither undo operation worked.
So now I have a very large number of files (1,685) and folders (49) drawn and moved from all over my computer, which I cannot begin to see how to put back into their original locations. I may be able to put back most of the folders which I had created, but as for the rest ..........!
I would very much appreciate advice on how to undo this disastrous operation


For Moving any files & folders, it copy file1 to your specified folder, then deleted the file1 from the original folder.

Files & folders that are not yet move to the specified folder, will not delete by itself.

This apply to the same partition.

If you "Drag" all the files, it will also not delete those files & folders as it is still pending.

Did you panic and did something more worse.


The Search option will NOT have the actual files/folders, but as a shortcut to the location of the files/folders.
The Search is just a function.

If you click on the file2, it will bring you to the actual file2 location.

Also copying huge files size will definitely take a long time, by few hours.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2016   #8
pcaker

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Thanks Eric3742,
Sorry to have delayed responding so long. Amongst other things we lost internet for 4 days after a wind storm.
I was very careful NOT to panic or take any action which I thought counter-productive. For example, I left Explorer running for many days after incident, so that temp files would not be cleared. I really only hit ctrl-z and edit undo, albeit after an interval on internet where I looked for answers. I hit cancel within one second after realizing it was moving instead of copying. However, because all transactions were within the D partition, relocation of the files was essentially instantaneous.
3 days ago I started returning manually as many files and folders as I could. This is now finished. All folders & photos and some other files were successfully returned. Unreturned are 11 files with very long app key random alpha/numeric code type names, 26 files with 9 number file names - both of unknown file types, and a large number of small graphic symbol files.
Computer and main apps are running fine, and I am hopeful that I won't get an incident related nasty surprise in future.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2016   #9
pcaker

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Hi Eric3742,
I have noted your helpful comments on file transaction protocols.
One more thing: I found that SOME of the misplaced files had retained copies in the original locations, but NOT ALL. Most of the FOLDERS were completely moved, but since I had created them, relocation was straightforward.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2016   #10
Eric3742

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Have you check in the "Recycle Bin" as Windows normally deleted files go to.

As to permanently delete files, it have to be done by the user's finger to press the Shift key + Deleted = Permanently deleted.

Do check in the Recycle Bin.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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