missing files

Mar 21, 2017 7:30PM PDT

I meticulously store information in Documents and always have - using Windows XP, Vista, Windows 8 and now Windows 10. I have folders dedicated to Taxes, Birth Certificates, etc., etc., containing valuable information - nothing new there - everyone does BUT........ Windows 10 has taken to leaving me named folders but when I click to open there is nothing in there - not a file in sight.
I don't know when this happens or why. I posted on a Windows Forum and was prompted to right click on the folder and select Restore Previous Version. I tried this and was given a selection of 4 or 5 previous versions. After selecting three or four or more I was eventually able to find the missing file. BUT there are two "howevers" - the first being that the task that night was humungous, having to go through all my documents and the folders therein and then my husband's and then general shared folders. The second "however" is that - they have gone again!!!!!! I have many many folders in Documents with no files within.
What is going on?
I would be very grateful for a solution to this problem.

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Where Are They Stored? On "OneDrive"...?
Mar 21, 2017 7:36PM PDT

First and foremost, MAKE BACKUPS of all those files. To a DVD, other hard drive, flash drive, etc. Losing them is not an option.

If the files are being save in the "OneDrive" cloud, try creating a local login profile instead of the Microsoft email login version you're using now. Once there, copy all your files to the new profile, which will reside on the computer's hard drive, in the "Documents" folder.

Here, using a local login on all our Win10 computers, we have never seen files simply disappear from the "My Documents" folder.

Hope this helps.


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I use a local account.
Mar 22, 2017 10:09AM PDT

Thanks Grif for such a speedy reply.
When I set up windows 10 my husband didn't like the idea of logging on each time with his own account so we have a local account that requires a password - not sure about a "profile" though.
I have the file information saved on an external hard drive but notice that there is nothing stored on the computer's hard drive.
I guess I'm in a muddle/pickle!! I have never used the One Drive storage for our shared computer- should I be? Is that why I have empty folders?
I guess I need a step by step guide for twits because I am obviously missing something essential.
Thanks, Chris

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Personally, I Don't Use One Drive Because...
Mar 22, 2017 3:22PM PDT

...we hear about so many have issues just like yours. But as long as you have a local account on the computer, I say, that's a good thing.... In addition, if you're saving backup files to an external hard drive, that's also a good thing, although I'd also make a second backup of such files, just in case the external drive goes south.. Still, it is strange why your files might be going missing in the 'Documents' folder.

Picking up on James' earlier suggestion, you might want to try creating a separate folder in a different location for saving your files. For example, I have created personal folders, of my own, in my user directory, such as "Important Documents", "Recovery Files" and in the "Pictures" directory, I also have created separate folders by year and topic. Simply open the C:\Users\Yourusername directory, then RIGHT click, choose "New", select "Folder" and create a folder name for the items you want to save there. On my desktop, I have a directory folder named: Grif, which is my username. I can then open it and navigate to any of the folders I have created, plus those that Windows has created such as "Pictures", "Documents", etc. When I create a document of any type, I make sure to save it in one of these folders.

Also, It seems as though the Windows 10 "upgrade" process may not install all the files correctly, or maybe they're damaged, or maybe something else, but running Chkdsk has fixed quite a few of your type of minor glitches. Try running Chkdsk in "repair" mode to find any damaged files and correct them. Start by opening a command prompt as an admin. RIGHT click on the Start button, choose "Command Prompt (Admin). Once there, type chkdsk /f /r /x, leaving the appropriate spaces between the letters as shown, then press the Enter key. You should see a note that it can't be run till a restart is done, type "Y" for yes, then press the Enter key again. Close the command prompt and restart the computer. Chkdsk will run upon restart and will take quite a while to finish.. Don't panic when the progress bar stays at 10% for a long time. It's fairly normal and the Chkdsk process may take a couple of hours.

When it's finished, it will boot to your normal startup/lock screen and you can login normally and hopefully your files won't go missing again.

Hope this helps.


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Lots of great advice
Mar 22, 2017 7:00PM PDT

Thanks for all the simplified, easy to understand and work through, advice. I'll try all of this and get back to you.

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Those "MY" folders
Mar 22, 2017 10:21AM PDT

They aren't really folders, but a type of link to other actual folders. You can add the folders and files you want to My Documents, but the still actually reside in their original folders.

Those 'MY' folders are 'Symbolic Links'

"The My Documents folder on the Desktop as well as the Fonts and the Administrative Tools folders in the Control Panel are examples of shell objects redirected to file-system folders."

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