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

20 Aug 2011   #1

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.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Aug 2011   #2

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

 User files lost after system repair + repeated Preparing Desktop

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