How Do I recover lost files

Computer crashed and had to use system restore. I lost all personal data files and photos. When I run search, though, it brings up my photos. The path is My documents/ etc. etc. but when I go to my documents nothing is there.

I have tried selecting "Show hidden files", but that doesn't help. If this information is still there how do I recover it?

Using a Compaq Presario desktop and running MS XP.

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Maybe somebody elses documents?

If you use the full path, starting with c:\ and ending with .jpg (the file extension for pictures) that search shows, you'll be able to find them in Explorer. That full path is unique. There's only one such file and everybody with the right permissions can see it. So if you can access it through search, you can access it through Explorer.


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After the search, try this.

On one of the photos, right click and see if there is a "Open containing folder."

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The trick I use to find the folder: ...

I open the pic in any photo-editor (like Irfanview, but even MS Paint should work). Then I do File>Save As and it shows me the current location.

The OP might encounter an "Access denied" error. But that's easy to solve once you know where it is.


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Recovering lost files

I ran search again looking for photos with a specific name (Christmas). Once they appeared I clicked on a photo and was able to see the full path. I copied and pasted the path into address bar in explorer, not only did that file open, but explorer magically listed ALL of my missing files.

New problem: when I close explorer all files disappear again and I have to repeat the same process?

Not sure what relevance this has, but when my data files and photos were visible they were extremely faded or "washed out". When I opened them though, they are fine.

Thanks for your help.

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Re: recovering

Now you copy them from the folder they are in (you didn't tell us the name of that folder, and we can't guess) to the folder you want them to be in (maybe My Pictures, or a subfolder of that, you didn't tell that either).

Once they are safely on a backup or two, you can delete them from where they are now, to free some disk space.


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Recovering lost files

I didn't mention the actual path because it isn't one photo or one file. It was all of my data: about a dozen folders, numerous sub-folders and dozens of files.

Anyway, I did as suggested and using one path in the address bar which seemed to recover everything, I then copied each folder to a different location and they are there each time I open explorer now. Seems I still have problems to resolve, though. As I said, all photos and icons are "washed out", and folders do not have the + sign indicating sub-folders.

Guess this is how we learn computers - fixing one problem at a time.

Thanks again for input.

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This is where you make use of ...

the tools the OS supplies.

You didn't mention the actual PATH to the files but use this as an example:

1. the path to the files is -
C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\My Documents\My Pictures\WallPaper\Test Folder

2. In Windows Explorer you can see up to but not including the final Wallpaper folder-
C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\My Documents\My Pictures\

3. Open a command prompt and type the following commands (pressing the enter key after each command):
cd \
cd "documents and settings\USERNAME\My Documents\My Pictures"
attrib -H Wallpaper

4. The Wallpaper folder and its contents is no longer hidden.

attrib -H "Wallpaper\Test Folder"

5. The Test Folder is now no longer hidden either.

If that looks too difficult you might try unhide.exe which you can download from which might work depending on how the directories got hidden

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