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Solved: Data lost when removing Domain??


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Cougar10 Cougar10 is offline
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08-Jul-2010, 11:56 AM #1
Solved: Data lost when removing Domain??
Greetings all,

I was working on a co-worker's computer at her house yesterday when I noticed she was still logging into a domain. This confused me because this computer was originally at a workstation at her previous company.. But now she was connected via Comcast. Somehow it still worked (beyond my knowledge). She wanted to share her printer across the network so I simply removed the domain and changed it to a WORKGROUP.

Upon restarting, her login no longer worked. I logged in as Administrator and took a look through all the Documents and Settings Folders and couldn't find any of the files she had saved to her desktop. I also did a search of the C: Drive to no avail.

Are her files forever lost? Or am I missing something here?
Seems to me the domain wouldn't work once she was off the "metropolitan" network. I know it's impossible that all this data was being stored on a network drive, since that network no longer existed.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you,

Best Regards,
- Cougar10
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08-Jul-2010, 12:45 PM #2
try control panel, folders, folder options, view, and tick show hidden folders and files
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08-Jul-2010, 12:55 PM #3
Thank you for the reply but I have already tried this.
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08-Jul-2010, 01:26 PM #4
Very bad move taking the computer out of the domain. At best she'll have to re-create her entire profile. You can't get the old one back. At worst, her data is gone. I would expect the data to actually be on the hard drive if the computer was no longer connected to the company network in any way. Is that the case? Or was it still connected through some type of VPN connection? It's also possible there's some type of security or encryption software involved designed to protect the data should the computer be stolen.

Count yourself very lucky you were able to log into the computer at all with the administrator account. She'll never be able to log into the account she used before unless you take the computer back to the company and re-join it to the domain.

I don't have any simple, quick-fix answers for you. There's clearly more involved with this computer, and it's going to take some work on your part to figure out what was installed, how it worked, and how the data might be retrieved. If she still works for the company, she may have to suck it up and tell the IT department what happened and hope they can recover her data. If she doesn't, she may simply be out of luck.
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08-Jul-2010, 01:41 PM #5
Perhaps her company had folder redirection and she was using the offline copies of the files. I'm not sure what happens to those once a profile is removed from the domain. Either way there still should be a documents and settings folder for the old domain profile even if the files are gone.
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08-Jul-2010, 01:45 PM #6
It appears that offline files are store in %systemroot$/CSC and it is a hidden folder. However it may or not be in a readible format. Microsoft has this utility that can assist but I have never personally used it.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/884739
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09-Jul-2010, 11:50 AM #7
Greetings,

I still have one last hurdle to get over. I have her files, but the folder is denying me access to the files (moving or opening). When I attempt to open one, I get the "Access denied. Please contact your administrator".

The location of these files are "\\Fileserver\Desktops\User\Desktop". However they are stored on the local disk in the "Offline Files Folder". Anyway to get at them so I can copy? Would it be possible with linux?

Thanks in advance for your valuable time.

srhoades - Thank you very much for your post. I had no idea such a utility existed. I downloaded CSCCMD 1.1 and ran a few commands I found on this tech blog and it was able to identify the exact folders her offline files were being stored in. All the files are in their original state

Double Helix - Thanks for the information. If I'm ever faced with a similar situation, I will be sure to copy and important data before removing a domain. Indeed I did catch a break of luck in the fact the administrator account on the PC didn't have a password.

Best Regards

Last edited by Cougar10; 09-Jul-2010 at 01:06 PM..
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09-Jul-2010, 12:18 PM #8
Take ownership of the folders

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308421
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09-Jul-2010, 12:20 PM #9
I wish that worked. Problem is the files are only in their native format in the "Offline Files Folder". There is no way to take ownership of this folder, or if there is I am completely unaware of how to do so.
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09-Jul-2010, 12:44 PM #10
*solved*
*SOLVED*

Greetings and Salutations

After some intense google'ing, I came across another blog that stated precisely how to extract the files from the Windows/CSC folder to their native format in another location.

For anyone trying to copy files from the offline files folder , First download CSCCMD 1.1

Then open a command prompt and:

1. Type csccmd /enable
2. Create a directory, for example C:\Recover
3. Type csccmd /extract /target:C:\Recover /recurse
4. The files will be extracted from their compressed offline files format back to their original format!

Thanks to everyone for their input. srhoades your insight into that little CSCCMD program saved my arse from some very hot water!

Best Regards

Last edited by Cougar10; 09-Jul-2010 at 01:42 PM..
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