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'My Documents' contents missing after restore

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by nomanselizab, Oct 6, 2003.

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  1. nomanselizab

    nomanselizab Thread Starter

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    Yesterday my sytem would not boot; the error message after the POST said 'NTLDR missing'. With help from this site, I was able to correct this problem by copying NTLDR and NTdetect.com from the Win XP CD to the c: drive, and replacing the Boot.ini file. Once able to do this, I restarted into safe mode and used the system restore. This seemed to work perfectly....EXCEPT... all of my files and folders that were in 'My Documents' are gone; only 'ebooks' and 'My Pictures' folders appear. For that matter, c:\Documents used to contain only four folders - Administrator, Jo (that's me), my son's (Tarver) and All Users but now there are 11 :
    Administrator
    Administrator (2)
    Administrator (3)
    All Users
    Default User
    Default User (2)
    Jo
    Jo.Jo-YFEVBL4VQAIY
    Owner
    Tarver
    Tarver(2)
    I have searched the C: drive for some of my files and a few have shown up under 'Recent Documents' but not all. My music files have also disappeared (they were in My Documents too)

    Any thoughts- I really don't want to have lost all of this.
    :eek:
     
  2. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    System Restore in itself does not target My Documents. However the loss of those files may be coincident with drive damage that caused the loss of the ntldr file too.

    Have you tried running a disk check? My Computer > Local Disk > Properties > Tools > error checking.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/tips/july02/kbtip1.asp
     
  3. nomanselizab

    nomanselizab Thread Starter

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    No, I hadn't. But I will this evening when I get home. I'll let you know what happens
     
  4. nomanselizab

    nomanselizab Thread Starter

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    OK. I did as you suggested. However, at the end phase 2 it quits with the message "Windows was unable to complete disk check" with the options Cancel, Apply, OK.

    What about the other option to "Automatically Fix File system errors"
     
  5. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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  6. nomanselizab

    nomanselizab Thread Starter

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    OK.
    I ran chkdsk /r from the recovery console. It took about 30 minutes and at the end reported that it had fixed one or more errors.
    At reboot, I took a look and my files are still missing. So I did a search for a file that I knew I had not used in the past month, in this case an Excel spreadsheet names '30022.xls'. What's wierd is that the file shows up twice, both as shortcuts (which I never made) - one in c:\Documents and Settings\Jo\Recent and the other in C:\Documents and Settings\Jo\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\Recent.

    Checking both these locations I find shortcuts to all my files, but none of the shortcuts work.

    What do you think Rog?
     
  7. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Well in theory at at least System Restore is not supposed to affect "user created data" in the User Profile.

    You *could* try undoing the System Restore. That is an option and you could try another restore point. But I'd be very surprised if it fixed the problem.

    If you right click on those shortcuts and select "properties" are the targets pointing to where the files should be?

    I know I once thought I had lost about 80 megabytes of programs and setup files I had downloaded. Half my quicklaunch bar was inoperable. Turned out I had accidently moved one folder inside of another. Searching for specific files turned up where they had gone to. But it sounds like you have done that.

    The ones you see in the "Recent" folder are just stored as a kind of temporary cache from when the document was last opened.
     
  8. nomanselizab

    nomanselizab Thread Starter

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    I do appreciate your help with this, Rollin' Rog.

    The properties textbox still points to the location that the files used to be: that path is no longer valid. I did notice that under each of the 11 'user' folders, there is now 2 new files : ntuser.dat.log and ntuser.dat.

    There are also a few files that I do not recognize; hs_err_pid3216.log, one.asx,KXMBC3P, and a couple of files seem to have 2 or 3 copies
    This is really driving me crazy:(
     
  9. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    ntuser.dat.log and ntuser.dat

    Those are system created files, don't worry about them, they should have "hidden" attributes which is why you are seeing them if you have show hidden files checked (always a good idea in my opinion)

    I don't know what the others are. Do they have system or hidden attributes, and do they always have current "modified" dates?
     
  10. nomanselizab

    nomanselizab Thread Starter

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    No. The files do not show recent modification or system atrributes.

    Anyhow, just as an update, I did undo the restore and then ran a new restore, but with no difference. The files still show up as shortcuts to nowhere. Some of the files listed are ones I had not opened in a year or more.

    I guess what's bothering me is that this loss seems to be sooooooooo selective - everything is in it's place - credit card processing, programs, even a Hijack This log on the desktop froma couple of days previous - only the contents of My Documents!:mad:
     
  11. nomanselizab

    nomanselizab Thread Starter

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    Somebody just mentioned that they thought that the missing files might have become encrypted in some way (?)
    They suggested logging off and then back on as each individual user and changing the passwords (but then I don't think I ever logged on as a particular user)

    Does this make any sense to you?
     
  12. nomanselizab

    nomanselizab Thread Starter

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    For that matter, have you ever used PC Inspector or a program like it? I'm wondering if it could find the files since I did not reformat or clean install XP. But would chkdsk /r foul it up?
     
  13. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    I'm not familiar with pc inspector, and the encryption issue is outside my knowledge base too.

    However looking at the home page, it sure looks like it is worth trying. I can't see it damaging anything since it isn't writing to the disk, just reading. I'm not sure what influence chkdsk might have had on the recovery process if possible. One thing you don't want to do is install many new programs until you've determined that nothing is recoverable

    Some of these freeware programs have limits on what can be recovered, but I don't see anything mentioned there.

    If you use it I'd appreciate some feedback on how it goes, even if you have no success.

    http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm
     
  14. nomanselizab

    nomanselizab Thread Starter

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    Ok. I give up.

    1. I tried PC Inspector but kept getting an 'access denied' error message to the program itself. the support line said this is a known problem with XP and they are working on it.

    2. I tried a program I found on cnet called [email protected]; this program was pretty simple to use although I can't comment on its effectiveness. It did however, locate one of the missing files, and excel spreadsheet, but after recovery the file turned out to be too corrupted. I tried it on my old slave drive on which I used to have a few of the files (before I deleted them) and it did indeed locate them but they had been overwritten and were too far gone.

    I'm just going to give up the ghost. The only thing that will REALLY suck is having to replace all my excel mailing lists:(

    Thanks for all your help.
     
  15. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    You're welcome for the efforts. Might not be a bad idea to look for a diagnostic utilty from the hard drive vendor's site and see what it says about the health of the drive. Best to be backing up any valued data on CD as well.
     
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