Windows shows that no folders or files are on the hard drive

So my aunt called me today and said she had a problem with her computer,
i had fixed some little things in the past for them(viruses) but i this
one is over my head so i turn to you all!

They have a fairly new Acer desktop running windows 7.

When I turn it on windows starts fine but no programs show on the
desktop or start menu. I originaly thought everything was gone but all
of the virus protection loaded and seems to run fine, and I can run the
programs that appear in the notifactation toolbar. When looking at C:
it is empty, no folders, nothing! In the add/remove programs it shows
everything is still installed. So i am making the assumption that all of
the files and programs are still on the hard drive and intact. So at
this point i am trying to figure out if this is a hard drive issue or
most likely a windows problem.

Any ideas? Im a lil lost...

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Clarification Request
Does this sound like that new Windows Recovery virus?
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I didn't think it was a virus but this sounds about right! I'll give it a shot. Thank you!!

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Ok, how about trojan, malware, spoof or other?

The symptom sounds the same so let's hope it's a variant.

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