Help! Everything is gone!

OK so wevebeen having issues with our HP laptop for about the past month - been running extremely slow, and then finally the other day it wouldnt come on. It would bring up the black screen asking if we wanted to run in safe mode and then whatever option we picked, it would act like it was starting up, but then just go to a blue screen and do nothing,
I was planning on taking it somewhere to be looked at, but then my mother in law decided to mess with it while we were away one day.
She says she had put it in safe mode by doing the F11 trick, but then when we restarted our computer, it had us do the whole original computer set up process and now everything on our computer is gone - files, software, programs, everything.
It seems to be working ok now, doing a full virus scan, but is there a way to retrieve everything without bringing back whatever caused this in the first place? Im not sure if im still in safe mode or not, i dont see anything on the screen that would indicate safe mode.
Thanks in advance!

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Clarification Request

any suggestions?? just got access to a computer to be able to chech these forums. Thanks!

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Sadly no.

If you forgot to backup what you can't lose, TURN OFF THIS PC and head to to ask if they can recover photos and such.

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