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Solved: Desperate for help! Please help...

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by hoangluong, Apr 30, 2010.

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  1. hoangluong

    hoangluong Thread Starter

    Apr 30, 2010

    I'm a graduate university student in finance.

    I've been collecting raw data night and day for research from a subscribed data provider (Worldscope/Datastream) for nearly 3 weeks. I kept the PC running day and night because I set up the "Request Manager" for data query. Every one or two day, I saved the batches of data downloaded, cleaned the raw data using SAS, and then ran the next query, and so on. Everything had been fine until one day when I came back to the office to do the usual tasks. To my surprise, my PC look very, very much like it's been reinstalled from scratch without saving anything. Symptons that persuade me to conclude this way is:

    - No files/folders that I set up on desktop were there

    - My settings are all totally different: I used to keep Task Bar on the right, now it's at the bottom. All "Favorites" on Internet Explorer/Firefox/Google Chrome are all gone, nothing there, no favorites, no favorite bars....

    - Usually, when I use hotmail, skype, yahoo mail, etc..., I entered username and leave the PC remember it so that I won't have to re-enter username everytime I want to check for mails. Now, when I open hotmail, skype or yahoo, it's all gone just as if somebody reset the internet explorer or something

    - Previously, whenever inside WORD/EXCEL I always see files on "Recent Documents", or when clicking on Start Menu, I used to see files on "My Recent Documents". NOW, on that terrible day, there's nothing like that. ALL GONE, it looks just like somebody has reinstalled the PC without letting us know

    - Previously, I kept the settings for Internet Explorer, let's say I keep small Google on the top far right corner but removed Google toolbar with many features. Now, Google toolbars with full features are there, just as if somebody reinstalled Internet Explorer and reinstalled Google toolbars with full features without customizing

    - All things that often stay on "Recent Documents" or things like that in some applications such as SAS, Stata, etc... are all gone

    ONE MORE THING: My university sometimes runs maintenance for all PCs in the School and in the lab. I'm talking about this because perhaps the maintenance automatically reinstalled the whole PC??? I suspect it couldn't???

    My supervisor/professor wants me to provide the data. I worked with the IT guys in my School and they appeared very irresponsible. Just saying they don't know and that we are responsible for that. The thing is that we didn't do anything at all besides downloading the data. Things like Stata, SAS, Word, etc... were before I began the data collection. During those past 3 weeks of data collection, I didn't do anything on this PC because doing so may slow down the data collection. So how could they say we could do something that deleted all the data? I've tried to restore the PC to previous days but to no avail.

    Does anyone have this kind of bad experience before? Could you please tell brief how this could have happened. I somehow believe that the IT group in my school has done something to our PC.

    Please help!!! Thanks so much... We will be killed without the data (3 weeks of data, a lot of work, data we bought and now lost)....
  2. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

    Dec 9, 2004
    Yes, they certainly could have run something that wiped out the computer. I would assume you're responsible for data backup. You bought all this data, spent all this time, and you never made a backup?

    Your only option now is to attempt data recovery, but you need to stop using the computer immediately. If free utilities don't work, you'd have to pay big money to a data recovery company to even attempt to recover something.

    Sounds like you and the department all need to find out what the IT policies and procedures for the school are. Have your manager talk to the IT department manager.

  3. oksteve


    Sep 14, 2008
    double click your c drive or whatever your main drive is and see if there is a folder in there called Old Windows ?
  4. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

    May 12, 2002
    First Name:
    I couldn't have said it any better than you did.

    Somebody sure dropped the ball.

  5. TheOutcaste


    Aug 7, 2007
    One other unlikely possibility - Are you logged into the same User account?
    Or possibly a Temp account the system created because the normal one has gotten corrupted? (a brief power failure could do that).
    Check under Documents and Settings, see if the data is in another profile folder. If you see two folders with the same name, but one has an extension (usually the PC name) check those first.
  6. hoangluong

    hoangluong Thread Starter

    Apr 30, 2010
    Thank you all so much for taking time to reply and help.

    From what you said, it means that a maintenance can delete all the data files I created (but not back-up yet) since the last maintenance?

    The PC I took over used to belong to somebody else. When the incident occurred, all her files are still there, but my files created during the past 3 weeks since I took over the PC were gone.

    Most of the files I have saved only to Desktop. I have logged in using the same username, sometimes under Work Station, sometimes via the School network.

    For years, this has not ever happened on my PC that the School allocated to me, despite frequent maintenance.

    Is saving files on Desktop safe? I used to save them all in the local drive and also on the network drive. This time, I just thought that I needed to use it for 1-2 weeks and so I saved my files on Desktop only.

    Thanks so much for replies. That is much more helpful/useful to me than the IT support in my school. They just keep saying that "We don't know. We didn't touch your lab PC", and never said what possibilities there might have been.

  7. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

    Dec 9, 2004
    We have no idea what happened to the computer. What we're saying is that it is certainly possible for the IT department to have wiped everything on the computer. We can't tell you if that was "maintenance" or what exactly was done, only that the end result is possible.

    The Desktop is a folder on the hard drive. It's no different than any other folder on the hard drive. Do you understand the term "backup"? It means a second copy in another location such as a network or an external hard drive or CD or DVD. If you had a network location to save your data to, then that's exactly where you should have saved it. The school almost certainly backs up network data so it's safe.

    Doesn't matter. Data loss happens. You have to be prepared for it. We cannot tell you sitting at our computers a half a world away exactly what your local IT department did to your computer. You have to talk to the IT department about it, and not the support techies you've been talking to. Your manager needs to talk to their manager.

    Absolutely not. It's a folder on the hard drive. Backup, backup, backup, backup. If you don't know how to backup, research that for a while.

    You are not talking to the right IT support people. You're talking to the employees (probably other students) who likely didn't even do any "maintenance" on your computer. Your boss needs to talk to their boss. Read my post again. This is a department policy issue for both your department and your IT department. You need a much better data management plan than saving costly and crucial data on the desktop and not backing it up. You also need a much better understanding of IT policies and procedures.
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