Windows Legacy OS forum


Suddenly missing an important folder on my desktop??? HELP!!

by lamkingyip / September 10, 2011 12:30 PM PDT

Hi all,

I am running Windows XP Service Pack 3. I just noticed that an important folder which obviously contains important documents is missing. I have carried out a Windows Search including hidden folders and found nothing.

I have also ran 2 different recovery/restoration software and have found files/folders deleted over 4 or 5 years ago, but nothing from this folder. The only remains I have found are from the "My Recent Documents" folder:

C:\Documents and Settings\[user name]\My Recent Documents

where there are one or two shortcuts from some files that were in the missing folder. But obviously these shortcuts are dead as the folder/files have moved or vanished?

Please advise, hopefully someone else has had this problem. This is the only file I have noticed is missing, if I had deleted it surely these 2 programmes:

- FileRestorePlus
- Restoration

would have identified the missing files/folder along with the rest of my deleted data.

Please advise.

Best wishes and thanks in advance

Denis Lam

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All Answers

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Why not just restore from a backup?
by Jimmy Greystone / September 10, 2011 1:19 PM PDT

Why not just restore from a backup rather than go to all the effort of trying to recover the files? You do have a backup don't you? You said these were very important documents, so surely you would have a backup.

And if the files have been deleted, then every write action taken on the drive, such as installing recovery programs, only increases the odds that the space where the files resided will be overwritten with new data. You should stop using the drive immediately and take it to a professional.

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Agree with Jimmy
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 10, 2011 8:09 PM PDT

but I would ask, have you been hit by any viruses or other malware recently?

One particular nasty type that pretends to tell you your system has been infected and you need to purchase software, can hide important files and folders and there are procedures for 'un-hiding' those.


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There is RECUVA as well.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 11, 2011 1:10 AM PDT

And then we have WIndows issues with corrupt profiles where it will, well you know that!

Be sure to not use this drive but put it as a slave on another system so you don't overwrite the missing files.

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Good relevant advice on how to solve the issue?
by lamkingyip / September 11, 2011 7:58 AM PDT

You are right with hindsight of course I see that I should have backed up my files, but that is the way the cookie crumbles, it's too late now.

The recovery software allow me to scan for all files that have been deleted irrespective of whether or not they have been overwritten. If they have been overwritten then the results will still display the files but with a comment stating that they have been indeed overwritten. But the trouble is as I have mentioned the files do not appear in my results. I first became of their disappearance yesterday, at most the files have been gone for up to one month. Whereas the results from both softwares I utilised display deleted data that must have been long overwritten from up to 2005-2006~. Hence this should not really be an issue, if the data has been overwritten then the file should still present in some shape or another.

I do not believe I have any viruses or malware on my computer. I am running MalwareByes (MBAM) and PC Tools Spyware Doctor. But the former should be the best in preventing malware, I have it on active guard, so no need for me to actively scan my computer.

I can understand corrupt Windows or faulty hardware i.e. the hard drive failing, but how can it be that a precise folder is missing? Other countless files/folders to the best of my knowledge on my desktop or mydocuments or elsewhere are all accounted for?

The only thing that has happened to me in the past month that may have caused some sort of error would be;
Firefox hanged whilst I was browsing a website I think there is some issue with flash? There was no response so I switched off the computer by holding down the power button, this happened on numerous occasions within some 20 minutes. This eventually led to my computer upon booting not even getting to the posting screen. When I clicked tab to enter bios it would take a long time (a few minutes), eventually to find that both hard drives cannot be detected. This happened upon the next few boots. I then switched off laptop and began to undo the base plate containing the hard drive, however one of the screws would not come out, however I once again tried to boot my computer and problem solved. I have not had a problem since, this was around 1 to 2 weeks ago.. that was upon discovering the missing folder. But as I said no other files/folder have been detected?

Any actual decent advice as to how I can restore or identify *** has happened to my files/folder?

Best wishes and thanks in advance


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Again, about "profiles"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 11, 2011 2:52 PM PDT

I know that new admin folk or home users may not understand the terminology but Windows can lose the user's files if a profile becomes corrupt. It's an old issue and usually I can get the files back if I can get the drive BEFORE the owner uses the machine. That is, if they notice the files are gone and I get the drive as a slave on another PC I can usually get the recovery done.

You're write about the note about the overwritten files but those that want their files back know the routine.

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by lamkingyip / September 11, 2011 5:21 PM PDT

Are you actually gonna explain what I need to do?

What software do I need and wewhat do I need to do to fix these corrupt profiles?

If the profile was corrupt why is more data not lost?

Anyway post something useful this time.. and actually explain what I need to do to solve this issue. I must also add that I am using a laptop and not a desktop.


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More info on a corrupt profile
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 11, 2011 8:53 PM PDT
In reply to: Elaborate

There is guidance on this from Microsoft, here;

A corrupt profile, (profile is the account you log into XP with), 'can' cause problems with files. It may not be the case here but it is worth a try.

What you need to do;

Create a new "Admin capable account".

Reboot, (restart), XP and log in to XP using that new account.

Follow the instructions in that Microsoft link to create yet another Admin capable account and copy the data from your own, suspected corrupted profile, to this new account you have just created from that guidance.

Do NOT delete the old, possibly corrupted account yet.

Reboot and log into this 2nd new account and test.

If you find all your files and if everything else works as you hope, then after a while you can delete the affected account.

But be sure to follow that guidance carefully. If you use Outlook Express to manage your emails, (Outlook Express, not Outlook. They are two different email managers), then note the possible problems with that.

I hope that helps.


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Not relevant but thanks
by lamkingyip / September 12, 2011 4:06 AM PDT

Thanks for the advice. But looking through the procedure I don't see how it would work as I cannot find the files to copy back into the new profile?

R. Profitt, how about your method in restoring files from a corrupt profile?


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I don't understand
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 12, 2011 4:55 AM PDT

Sorry I am not sure where the problem is.

Those instructions state to copy the whole of the C:\Documents and Settings\Old_Username folder contents, where Old_Username is the name of the account you normally log in with, and whose folders and files you want to copy).

Bob's post was referring to the exact same guidance.

Are you saying that your C:\Documents and Settings\Old_Username folder is completely missing?

If so, then this might mean something else entirely.


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Don't understand, let me explain!
by lamkingyip / September 12, 2011 7:09 AM PDT
In reply to: I don't understand

No what I am saying is that if I copy these files and folders from that path you mentioned, it will just contain what I have now. Thus this means I am still missing the relevant files/folder. So I don't see how carrying out that process will help me to solve my issue?

I am saying that I have also accessed those particular folders and checked the desktop aspects of all user accounts and cannot locate that particular folder (named: Jobs). Hence if I open a new account and copy and paste the current user names contents i.e. documents etc. I would still be left with the same issue, maybe a more stable account. But judging by the fact I am only missing this one particular folder I do not believe this is a corrupt profile issue, but even if it was that solution would not solve anything?

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Re: copying
by Kees_B Forum moderator / September 13, 2011 7:39 AM PDT

Three remarks:
1. You believe copying won't help. Did you try? If not, why not do it? Even if it doesn't help (and I agree it's doubtful) it will only take a quarter of an hour or so. As they say in the UK: the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
2. I assume you checked for hidden files and folders also (there are 2 checkboxes in the folder options for those). And that you tried booting from a Linux CD to have a look at the disk. You never know if it will help.
3. If none of the recovery programs you tried find them nor do #1 and #2, consider them gone and lost. You can keep asking why, but that doesn't help to find them.
4. If #3 isn't acceptable, pay a professional data recovery company to search for them.


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by lamkingyip / September 13, 2011 12:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: copying

1. I believe copying won't help because the file is not there? But I will consider trying this.

2. Yes checked for hidden files and folders. I am not familiar with Linux CD? Could you elaborate. I know of Linux operating system but never used it. Is it literally a CD I download and use as a bootable drive?

3. Yes am considering the files lost.

4. Any advice on which company i.e cheapest and most efficient.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: copying
by Kees_B Forum moderator / September 13, 2011 9:11 PM PDT
In reply to: copying

1. So do I. But it won't harm to try anyway.
2. Yes, bootable CD/DVD.
3. Makes some sense.
4. I don't have any personal experience. But some people here recommend or


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Sorry I thought I covered what I do.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 12, 2011 5:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Elaborate

I have to get the drive BEFORE the user installs recovery apps and overwrites things.

But my last reply was NOT ABOUT THAT. You asked for more about WHY? So I gave that.

Now you want to be told what to do. I'll do that.

When files go missing NEVER use the drive. NEVER install apps to find the files on that drive. MOVE the drive to another PC with recovery software like RECUVA and get the files out.

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Recuva and other recovery software locate deleted files
by lamkingyip / September 12, 2011 7:17 AM PDT

Sorry I am not getting the hang of this forums posting systen. I have replied to this thread already, but not sure why it has not updated.

Anyway what I was trying to say is that regardless of whether I install the software and save other documents or files onto this hard drive with the missing data. If the files were overwritten the recovery software would still locate and identify this deleted files but just highlight that the files have been overwritten or partially overwritten. HOWEVER all recovery softwares I have used mentioned in first post and now Recuva do not manage to track the missing files, however can still identify files from 2005-2006 which are undoubtedly long overwritten. Hence this leads me to believe the files are not overwritten but perhaps hidden somewhere, so if someone could recommend perhaps some better search system compared to windows search?

So do you mean I need to give my hard drive to you to help me locate the missing files? What I was saying is if you could instruct me how to do this and I will endeavour to recover the files myself.

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I can explain that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 12, 2011 7:24 AM PDT

I will explain why recovery software can't find those items. When the drive is used for installing recovery apps the directory entries are overwritten so we can't find the old files.

If YOU or the person that is attempting recovery then all bets are off if the drive remained in service too long. There is that company called DRIVE SAVERS but if the person kept using the drive, even they will not be able to help.

You have asked and received instructions more than once. I'm gong to ask you specifically what step was hard to understand.

-> What step of the recovery noted so far was not understood?

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Useful help
by lamkingyip / September 12, 2011 8:48 AM PDT
In reply to: I can explain that.

I understood what you said but did you not understand my explanation?

Why does the recovery software allow me to find files that were deleted 5 or 6 years ago which are definately long overwritten, but this entire folder and its contents are completely unsearchable? READ carefully what I said. The software will locate files that are 100% overwritten or partially overwritten etc, so this is not an issue. EVEN if it was an issue I am not using the drive I am using a secondary drive. But either way the MAIN THING is that the software would still FIND these files that are DELETED and OVERWRITTEN.

Do you understand what I am saying now?

Now my question, what do I do now - I am not using the drive. Now next step please?

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I can explain that too.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 12, 2011 9:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Useful help

Because the directory entries were not overwritten but just marked deleted, the recovery software was able to note them.

And it may take time for you as the recovery master to accept this.

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by lamkingyip / September 13, 2011 12:30 PM PDT
In reply to: I can explain that.

I understand what you have said. But the recovery programme states (overwritten, partially recoverable, poorly recoverable, recoverable). So surely this scale would imply overwritten is the worst state the file could be hence my argument.

Is it possible the files have been moved and renamed by Windows into another location?


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How I found mine.. Different systems same idea.
by on1eluv / September 13, 2011 1:39 PM PDT
In reply to: Help

It was recommended earlier not to use apps to do fix this, but I used an app. that scan's for missing .ini / .dll / files that should normally be there then fix's them through Image Burning. A few basic shell cmd's; .ini & .dll files were missing or even out of date went to got what I needed then learned how to make the .ini files through Notepad saved it as an initiated (.ini) file right on desktop then boom there they were hiding in one of my external HDD because I forgot years ago I saved everything updates and all on my EX-HDD's.
Copy pasting from old user might have these cmd or .ini in it. Hence it can't hurt.

Just an idea. Hope I'm not completely off on this one, but there's always a way.

Good Luck!

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by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 13, 2011 8:58 PM PDT
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Re: deleted
by Kees_B Forum moderator / September 13, 2011 9:10 PM PDT
In reply to: Help

No, Windows doesn't do that on its own. So it seems the options for what happened are:
1. You deleted these files yourself.
2. Somebody logged in in your PC and deleted those files.
3. A program you ran deleted that files.
4. Some malware deleted that files.
5. These files were deleted due to a malfunction of the hard disk or the file system software.
6. They still are there but you can't find them.
The profile is corrupt for some reason and these files will magically
appear again if you copy it to a new profile. But you don't want to do
that, it seems.


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Same here!!
by on1eluv / September 11, 2011 4:09 PM PDT

On my PC it wont read any drivers, the admin. tools window shows up blank along w/every other tool I would use in windows to restore it. I even have a back up disk but it cant get recognized because the it's 64-bit back up I'm only working 32-bit. I've tried booting the disk from start up & nothing? Basically, I'm looking for a way to scrub my PC while I don't have disks to scrub or re-install win 7 drivers/.ini./.dll etc.. along with a few other things. I do have a collection of old towers that are open for whatever but they are way to old to fit in my new Quad. Furthermore, I am not to good with taking apart & putting back together things as they were 100%. So w/the little tech knowledge that I'm familiar ,(DoS) is where I'm at now. Will D.o.S get there sooner rather than later. Wink

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Re: same here
by Kees_B Forum moderator / September 11, 2011 8:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Same here!!

Seems you have quite a lot of problems, but not especially a deleted folder on your desktop. So it's better to start a new thread in stead of hijacking an old one.


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Not the same problem at all.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 11, 2011 9:02 PM PDT
In reply to: Same here!!

Please re-post and make your own new thread.

Be sure to provide Full Details.

You talk about Win 7 but this is the XP forum, so you will probably want to re-post as a new thread in the Windows 7 forum.

Please explain what "It's 64 bit back up I'm only working 32-bit" means. What is 64 bit backup and where did this come from?

Booting from disk. What disk?

Remember, we can only see what you provide in your post so unless you help us to understand the situation time will be wasted as we search for more details.


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My mistake.
by on1eluv / September 12, 2011 8:11 AM PDT

Still learning all of the T.O.S. This problem is mine to just not XP, BOB answered it for me. Saving issue. Again sorry. Please don't delete my thread following it helps.

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Same symptoms .. .WHat happened to me and my solution.
by thornnnn / November 19, 2015 1:50 AM PST

I lost a folder. I searched with recova and did not see the folder. I saw other older deleted files. I could not understand how the folder could jsut dissapear. The drive Space used information seemed to be unchanged even tho the folder itself was 80% of the drives content.. so the content was still there somewhere.. DO YOU KNOW WHERE I FOUND IT?
somehow i had misclicked.. just a split second.. and instead of opening that folder.. i had dragged the folder to a neighboring folder.. which is where i found it.. all safe and intact. SO.. check your other folders for the missing folder.. you may have inadvertantly dragged it wihle clicking.. and moved it. good luck.

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