Computer Help forum


Help my computer restarted and wiped everything!

Hi guys please help, I was using my computer just fine as usual, all of a sudden I get a blue screen with this message:

Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart.
We're just collecting some error info, and then
we'll restart for you.

It restarted my computer and literally everything has gone from my computer now, all my downloads, documents, internet history, itunes library. everything gone. I've gone to system restore it says there is no back up file to draw from.

What the hell happened? have I seriously lost all of my files forever? why and how did this even happen? Please help someone.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Help my computer restarted and wiped everything!
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Help my computer restarted and wiped everything!
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

All Answers

Collapse -
Re: wiped everything

In reply to: Help my computer restarted and wiped everything!

That's unlikely. If it wiped everything, it should have wiped Windows also, and clearly it runs Windows, or wouldn't be able to boot.

Prudent people make a regular backup and don't even loose anything if their PC burns down. Other people (like you?) take the risk that nothing serious will happen and can lose everything. That's their own choice, but we don't recommend it.

This looks like a case of a currupted account,. Then Windows makes a temporary account to login to. If that's the case, all your data is still safely stored in your original account; there only is nothing in your current temporary account.

The first thing to do then: copy all your data (from your normal account) - that's the whole Windows profile - to some external hard disk. Two disks is even better, just in case you use only one and it fails.
You might be able to do this from your temporary account as it is. Maybe you have to run Explorer in administrator mode, or take ownership of the data you want to copy. Maybe you need to login into your spare admin account (if you don't have one, you know understand why you should have made it). An alternative is to boot into some Linux disc or stick and copy from there.

Once your data is safe, see if you can make a new permanent account, login to that and see if you can copy your data either from your old permanent account or from the backup copies you just made.

If you feel unsure about everything, have it done by a repair shop.

Collapse -
Re: wiped everything

In reply to: Re: wiped everything

Thanks for the response, well it wiped the things I mentioned, documents, downloads, itunes library etc. but yes windows is still there, everything wasn't meant to be super literal.

I honestly thought windows made regular back ups like once a month or something because why not right?, I guess I was naive to think so but I think my old laptop used to do that.

I just logged in to my usual account on start up with the same password as usual and I even have the same programs on there, though I had to install them again. Like itunes was still there but I had to install it and the itunes library is completely gone.

I would copy data from my normal account but as far as I'm aware I am on my normal account now? but most of my data has vanished in the space of about 2 minutes during the restart.

Collapse -
Re: data lost

In reply to: Re: wiped everything

Programs aren't in an account. Programs are in Program Files or Program Files (x86). So if - for whatever reasons - data inside your account is lost, all programs should still be present and there would be no need to reinstall them. You would only need to create new shortcuts, if the old one was in your account (and not in "All users").

If you're in your normal account and, for example, your My Documents folder is empty (check that from Windows Explorer (go to c:\Users\<your logon name>\My Documents and have a look), and you have no backup, you lost all contents indeed. Same for other folders (like My Music and Downloads). Only you can check that, since you're the only one that has access to your PC.

If you lost them indeed, better start doing a regular backup in stead of trusting Windows to do it automatically. It might be new for you, but Windows doesn't and has never done it. You have to do it yourself, using your favorite backup program. I repeat: Windows doesn't.

Collapse -

In reply to: Re: data lost

Thank you I used the route you provided of going in to my user name and all my files were there! thank god and thank you for providing the assistance I needed. That has saved me A LOT of grief. Also a nice reminder I need to get a back up going.

Just one more question, how do I get these files back in to the regular my documents?

Collapse -
You might be able to fix it simply - or it might be worse

In reply to: Thanks!

They are already in your "regular" My Documents location.
What happened is that Windows detected a problem with your profile, and created a temporary one. Every time you log in, it does a "sanity check" of sorts, and verifies information.

So how do you switch back?

Well that actually depends on what is wrong with the other profile. It could be a simple fix, or it could be corrupt data in the user registry file. Here's a link to a page that lists how to fix a corrupt profile problem in Windows XP through Windows 8.1:

Note that some of these involve modifying the registry. Do yourself a HUGE favor, and back up the registry before starting! (The last thing you want to do is turn a bad profile into a computer that won't boot.)

Above all, read through all the directions before starting - if you don't understand any part of the instructions, or are unsure at all, don't begin the modifications - you may create a situation where you can't recover later.

Did I mention making a backup of the registry?

Don't be frightened... but it's better that someone who knows what they're doing looks at the problem if you're at all unsure so as to not make a bad situation worse.

Collapse -
Re: regular my documents

In reply to: Thanks!

The usual and easy way is to just make a new account with a new name, start using that to login to and then copy all you need from your old account before deleting that (from Controle Panel>User accounts).

However, If you prefer a DIY repair of the old account, try that. Success isn't guaranteed.

Collapse -
" DIY repair of the old account " worth repeating.

In reply to: Thanks!

Collapse -

In reply to: Thanks!

Since all Your Stuff still appears on the hdd your first step is to create a complete backup of that hdd.

Now you can start playing around with moving things.

If it turns into a big hash nothing lost you just spin in your backup and start over.

Collapse -
Getting a backup going

In reply to: Thanks!

A 1TB drive can be had for about $50 and a 2 TB dive for about $20 more. install it as a second drive on your home computer and share it to all of your other computers. If you have or can come up with an older computer, you could install the drive there and put FreeNAS on it to make an cheap network drive for your home. Suchj machines with FreeNAS are ideal for back-ups.

Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


This one tip will help you sleep better tonight

A few seconds are all you need to get a better night's rest.