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Windows 7: User files lost after system repair + repeated Preparing Desktop

20 Aug 2011   #1
mcw

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 
User files lost after system repair + repeated Preparing Desktop

Hello, and sorry to have a first post asking for help.

I did a forced shutdown yesterday when my PC seemed to be incredibly slow then hanging while logging off. On restarting today, I got 'disk read error' repeatedly, after the BIOS boot screen but before any of Windows.

I used my Windows install CD to run System Repair, which went like this:
  • couldn't identify an OS to fix and since I couldn't find a hard disk driver to install, I just carried on to find Repair
  • short first disk repair, then approved a restart
  • much longer second repair cycle, accompanied by 'File or directory \Windows is corrupt and unreadable' window - very persistent but kept OK-ing it until it stopped. [Is this genuine or malware?]
It was taking a long time (>1 hour) so I went away to do other things and popped back from time to time. Next thing I saw was the normal choice of users login screen, with User and our two named accounts.

However, I now have the following situation for my account, which was the one being logged off when I powered it down:
  • Logging in the first time, and subsequently, invoked 'Preparing Desktop', and leads to a default desktop and minimal icons
  • I can't see any of my files, either via Libraries or in \Users.
  • Applications have no history, 'Recent Files' etc.
  • But... I do have familiar files in my Recycle Bin!
The User account [administrator] seems OK but we don't leave much there. I can't see the Event Log - a DLL is missing. I can't get our wireless connection to work. Other software installed - Photoshop, Office - seems OK though Office did think to itself a bit. I can't see my files from this account either - \Users\username is just not there.

I ran a disk check on C:\ as administrator (via Windows, not command line), with the full sector check, and it reported no problems. I don't know how to find any report from the System Repair process.

The other normal user account seems fine - familiar desktop, files present.

In retrospect, no, I probably shouldn't have forced the shutdown; I should have made some restore points; probably other things too... but too late now. I have many of the files elsewhere, one way or another, but I can't help thinking these files are still there somewhere, just disconnected.

I'd be very grateful if anyone could suggest what to try next.

Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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22 Aug 2011   #2
MvdB

Windows 7 64b Ultimate
 
 

Hello Mcw, welcome to SF!

I think your hdd is suspect. Even though checkdsk went fine please test further if possible:
For a full diagnostic of your HD that goes beyond Chkdsk, see:
HD Diagnostic

Also just in case, start up in Safe mode Safe Mode - Windows 7 Forums
and check for any differences. If there are.. then do full scans with an up to date AV and anti malware like Malwarebytes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 User files lost after system repair + repeated Preparing Desktop




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