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Windows 7: Complete Meltdown After Hiding User Folder

14 Mar 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home 64bit
Complete Meltdown After Hiding User Folder

Hi all,

I am absolutely desperate for help as I fear I have completely wrecked (by accident) my brand new laptop.

It's a Sony Vaio E Series (Buy Sony E Series 4GB 500GB 15.5 Inch Laptop - White at - Your Online Shop for Laptops and netbooks.)

This morning my bookmarks tab/button had completely vanished from Firefox (running 19.0.2). I was browsing through Mozilla's own help section and found instructions about deleting or altering a specific file in the AppData folder. It said you had to check a box to unhide the file, to do this you did something with the username for your computer i.e. c:\windows\user\abc

I made a mistake and checked the hidden box which then hid everything for my user; downloads, music, pictures, videos etc

I found out how to show hidden folders and after unchecking the hidden box I still found all the individual files inside hidden, so I made a copy of my user folder and copied it into my C drive and then rebooted in safe mode to see if the copy folder was unhidden, it wasn't. So I deleted the copied folder of my user and rebooted.

I did a system restore and eventually found how to unhide everything individually from a website through the folder options menu's.

However this is where the big issues started. Firstly, I could not download anything at all using I.E and my downloads folder had vanished, so I could not re-download Firefox. I tried everything and it still doesn't download anything.

I eventually got Firefox onto CD and re-installed it and it downloads and my download folder just randomly came back. Then the google search box went missing. Then it randomly came back.

I went to save a photo from the internet and it says I cannot save anything in "my pictures" and to chose another location. I tried "videos", "music" and I can't save anything there, it won't let me but I could save it OK to the desktop.

Then sticky notes won't load on reboot and says "can't find file (Quit)"

Then Skype corrupted and no longer works.

Then I got a C++ runtime error and Vaio Gate.exe stopped working.

I then did another system restore to last month and the above problems still exist and the laptop is running so slow and glitchy.

I have had throughout the entire ordeal Avira and it has picked up no viruses. I have not downloaded anything to get a virus either.

I have downloaded CCleaner and it picked up a tonn of registry errors, it fixed them and it's still completely FUBAR.

I am so desperate, I have just spent every single penny I have on this laptop and it looks trashed but I am in a state of panic right now and I am not very technically minded when it comes to laptops.

Please, please help me.

Thank you in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2013   #2


Try a sfc/scannow. Its a system file check, it will find and attempt to repair any system files. Just click on the blue link. SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker

If this doesn't work a repair installation may be needed, but we'll cross that bridge when/if we need to.

Ccleaner is an outstanding program, I use it myself several times a day, and highly recommended but you have to be extremely careful with ANY registry "fixes". Especially if you're not sure of what you're doing.

Welcome to the forums by the way!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home 64bit

Hi Indianacarnie,

Thank you for the advice and links. I have performed the sfc scan and also the sfc verify and both came up with no problems. I tried them again and it still said no issues.

Another issue has surfaced today, almost all my programs don't work. Vuze won't load and comes up with a ton of errors and for some reason all the internet sites I am registered to are not remembering my username and password despite ticking all the right boxes for it to do so.

I don't understand how simply hiding a user folder and then unhiding it (so long as I have done it right) has caused so much damage?

Any further advice and help would be great as my local computer store is wanting 75 just for a diagnosis.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

15 Mar 2013   #4


Probably the fastest, simplest thing to do is this, imho, of course. : Repair Install
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #5

Windows 7 Home 64bit

Hi, thanks again.

What a shame that ticking one tiny box and then undoing it has corrupted an entire computer and all it's programmes!! I actually cannot see how it's even possible to be honest but I give up.

Laptops don't come with the windows disk, I have the activation code sticker but that's it. It's a brand spanking new laptop, I don't want to mess around with warranties downloading some hooky version of Windows. What is my best (probably only) option?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #6

Windows 8 Pro (32-bit)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Thumper427 View Post
Hi, thanks again.

What a shame that ticking one tiny box and then undoing it has corrupted an entire computer and all it's programmes!! I actually cannot see how it's even possible to be honest but I give up.
I think the problem is that OP wen into safe mode and deleted his user folder after making a copy. Obviously Windows doesn't consider the copy to be the same thing.

I don't think a full reinstall is required, but I think you will have to make a new user account.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #7

Windows 7 Home 64bit

It was the copy folder that was deleted and not the original one. The copy was also in a different location, just stuck in the main C:\ drive. It's clearly messed up big time but I have no idea how. Everything works fine when I create a new user account but in the long run doing a repair/re-install is probably the best and most complete option but I don't know how to do that as laptops don't come with a physical disc copy of Win 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

If you need to do a reinstall this tutorial will help you. It includes a link to download the appropriate ISO.Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #9


Just follow the link kado897 provided, follow the instructions and all will be fine. I truly believe this is your best option, plus you'll have the benefit of a good fresh install. If you have any problems and/or questions , don't hesitate to ask. Someones always here!

I agree with your frustrations having "been there" myself at various times.

Additional : The registry cleaning may have had a lot to do with the subsequent problems. Be very wary of any changes you do in there. Registries are very delicate,finicky and easy to mess up. 99.99% of the time no changes are ever needed there as far as cleaning goes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

"I think the problem is that OP wen into safe mode and deleted his user folder"

Agree. If the folder is still in recycle bin, wouldn't restoring it help?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Complete Meltdown After Hiding User Folder

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