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System recover data loss question

by mcintosh00 / September 14, 2008 12:55 AM PDT

I downloaded a virus yesterday and after unsuccessfully trying to remove it manually and through system restore, I preformed a system recovery. While going through the recovery screen, much of the wait time was spent "copying files". After recovery, the system seems to be reset to all of its defaults (which is fine) but all of my music and pictures are missing. However, a few programs I had previously installed such as Google Earth are still available. Question is, were my media files copied to a folder somewhere that needs to be unzipped or something or are they lost for good?

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System info
by mcintosh00 / September 14, 2008 12:58 AM PDT

Sorry I forgot. I don't know what all info you may need. I have a Compaq PC that is about 4 years old running Windows XP.

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Re: system recovery
by Kees Bakker / September 14, 2008 1:20 AM PDT

System recovery should have told you if you were to lose your data. So maybe they are still there. Go and search for them.

The first thing to check: the used disc space. Does that look like containing your data? Or is it so much smaller than it was that that's unlikely?
Then download a tool like CLDUW or TREESIZE and analyze the size of all folders. If there's one (other than Program Files and Windows) that contains a lot of data, that might be it.
Or search for *.jpg (assuming it were jpg's). It helps to set a few settings in Control Panel>Folder Options: "show hidden and system files" and "do not hide extensions of known filetypes".

There could be a whole new folder (something like old_contents) below the root folder. There could be a new subfolder in Documents and Settings created by the system recovery with all your data still in the old subfolder. But just as well it's possible that everything is deleted.

If you new what was on your PC (using Windows Explorer or My Computer) you should be able to find any file left. If you considered the PC as just a black box without looking to the details, it's more difficult.

Anyway, the files should still be on your backup. No backup? Better do from now on.


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"System Recovery"?
by Soul Raven / September 14, 2008 11:17 PM PDT

I'm not sure if you were referring to System Restore, or an OEM Factory Restore. The two items are very different in how they function, and one results in "complete" data loss typically.

Windows System Restore is simply a rollback to a particular date. It doesn't mess with your personal data or other files. You can access this from within Windows, from the F8 boot menu, or while booting from the Windows Setup disc.

If you performed an OEM Factory Restore or more simply an "out-of-box" recovery your data is most likely gone. This restore is a format and reinstall of the operating system which will revert your system to like when you initially purchased it. As you have described "the system seems to be reset to all of its defaults" this leads me to believe this is the option you performed.

If you did a Factory Restore the data is most likely gone, unless your computer manufacture had some special option. However, I would believe that to be rare. As the previous posters have suggested simply attempt performing a search of your entire system for the data. If you are unable to locate any files they are most likely gone.


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The computer came with instructions for ...
by Edward ODaniel / September 15, 2008 12:42 AM PDT

using the system recovery that explains the options and what will or will not happen with each option.

The recovery options vary by manufacturer and even within models by the same manufacturer. The instructions, if not on a printed user manual are normally available in a PDF file or Help file available either on the desktop as an icon or on the Start menu.

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