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Desktop Icons/files/folders Disappeared

I booted up my laptop today and i cant really say if all my desktop icons were there or not but all i did was browse a couple websites this morning and noticed later that 98% of my Desktop icons/files are gone. I was half a sleep when i booted up this morning but some how they are gone now except for a couple of them. I had some important ones on there and of course i did not have any copys of them. I searched my hard drive for them but come up empty. I checked the recyleing bin and not there either. How could they just disappear? I tried a system restore from yesterday and when i did that some folders came back but they were empty and none of the files i needed came back either. I tried a restore from 2 days ago but same thing happended. Any ideas on where i could look for these files? I couldnt imagine they got completey wiped out.

Thanks
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hcl1
Asked:
hcl1
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3 Solutions
 
venom96737Commented:
sounds like your HD is about to fall off the deep end get all the data you can off it now before you lose it all.
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hcl1Author Commented:
Darn it i was hoping for better news than that.. :)  I better do that now just incase your right.
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rvthostCommented:
Perhaps a profile issue?  Take a peek in C:\Documents and Settings.  Are there multiple folders here with your name?  Perhaps yourname.001 or something to that effect?
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venom96737Commented:
After that is completed you could try to run some of those data recovery programs but most times they dont come up with much and if its really really important stuff you can send it to a data recovery lab and have them try to recovery it.  The secound option isnt cheap but in your case will probably be the only way to get it back just a warning though running those programs on the drive could cause the data to become unrecoverable even by the labs so I guess it goes back to how much the data is worth to you personally to retrieve.
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venom96737Commented:
if im not mistaken rvt even if it was a profile issue the files would be visible on the drive and the folders coming back empty indicates a lose of that data possibly from a bad sector on the drive.
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hcl1Author Commented:
I just have 3 profiles admins, all users, and mine. Thats kind of weird when i did a system restore that some things came back but not all. I am copying everything else i have left right now to a different hard disk then after that should i try that Scandsk /F  ?
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venom96737Commented:
Try running chkdsk after retrieving the data you might get lucky and the files are just orphaned and could possibly be fixed.  To do this goto start then run type cmd then type chkdsk then it will tell you it needs to reboot and you hit y then reboot and it will start.  If you check disk does not finish then its a sure sign the drive is going and needs to be replaced.  Another warning though this could crash the drive if it is bad and cause it to stop working all together they are very sensitive to when to any test when they are going out.  
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venom96737Commented:
Yeah I had a laptop do the same thing to a customer it lost the entire system directory and everything i was able to get windows up and going again but when i looked for his files under his profile folder they were gone.  The drive still read them as taking up the space though so they were there but not there at the same time bad HD's do crazy things.
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hcl1Author Commented:
Thanks.. I will try the chkdsk after i get all my personal stuff copied over. I am copying it to the server now. I will report back when i get this done.

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venom96737Commented:
Thanks sounds like a plan
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rvthostCommented:
Venom, you are right.  Thanks for correcting me on that, I read too fast and didn't see the empty folders comment.  Thanks! :)
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venom96737Commented:
Welcome I have the same problem sometimes to so I understand where you are coming from with that.
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hcl1Author Commented:
Well i got everything that i needed copied over and ran the chkdsk /F and it found some "unreadable security descriptors data stream" what ever that is. Then after that is started "Cleaning up 754 unused index entries from indes $SII of file 9" there were a bunch more like this but couldnt write all of them down. Does this still mean the hard drive is bad? Is there any other programs i can run to test? Thanks again
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venom96737Commented:
what kind of hd is it do you know
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venom96737Commented:
and did this recover any of the files lost?
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hcl1Author Commented:
This is a Toshiba Satellite Laptop P25-676 and the hard drive is a HTS548080M9AT00 what ever that is.

Nope didnt recover any files.

Thanks again
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hcl1Author Commented:
I looked it up online. Its a Hitachi Travelstar 5K80 hard disk
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venom96737Commented:
good old hitachi here is a place you can go to get a fit test for that drive
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venom96737Commented:
i guess posting the link would help you out huh sorry http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm
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hcl1Author Commented:
Thanks will try it out and let you know
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venom96737Commented:
yeah i seen that in the name scheme of it see here HTS5480
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venom96737Commented:
ok if it fails that test and the tool cant repair the damage i would strongly recomend replacing that drive it will be very unreliable.
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
Hello  hcl1

My guessing about your situation is that you have some kind of virus or batch file that did this erasing for the desktop with all it's icons and folders.

I don't think the HD might be corrupted or even have bad sectors as long as you know how to deal with shutting down & restarting your computer...

Now we'll need to check your recycle bin through Dos, we'll check the size how big is it, in case if there is any leftovers are kept in there so we can find away to recover them...

----------------------------------------------------
Click Start---> Run --> type Cmd and enter...
cd\ Enter
cd recycler
dir /a/s
-----------------------------------------------------
The result should look like this, note that numbers here depending on if there is any files-folder found on your computer, This will show the size of the whole folder... so we can know if there's any thing to recover..

  Total Files Listed:
            2 File(s)             85 bytes
            5 Dir(s)   1,361,481,728 bytes free

If nothing is there do the same thing on D drive...
type on the Dos prompt
D:\ enter
cd\
cd recycler
dir /a/s
-----------------------------------------------------
If nothing Appears there, then restart your computer in safe mode and do a full antivirus scan to check weather you have any viruses on there..

Good Luck
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hcl1Author Commented:
Wow i have 9392 files and 5591 dir..... I will start looking through it when i get back home.

Thanks
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
Sounds like what i was thinking :) .. Then go ahead do a full virus scan..
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hcl1Author Commented:
Well i ran both virus and the hard drive test. I first ran the virus test in safe mode with Symantec Antivirus 10.0 and came back nothing then i went online still in safe mode and ran Trend Micro and still nothing. Then i did the Hard Drive test and it came up with an error (Failure Code:0x70) (700041EE) it says i can try the erase utility that they supply and if that doesnt work then i need to replace it.  

Has anybody ever tried this? Just wondering if it really repairs it or not.

Thanks
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
Yah, give it a shot, but becareful, and don't use the computer that much...
I will provide you some Dos un-delete utilities that would help you in case this didn't recover to you any data..
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hcl1Author Commented:
Should i try the Dos utilites first. If i run the IBM Erase utility i said it will completely wipe everything out. So it says anyways. I think its one of them Low Level Format Utilities.

Thanks
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
Yah the dos is much better is it'll never over write any data unless you have copied new data to your system, The Dos is much better using any undelete recovery software, so go ahead and use it, and i hope you a good luck..

Regards.
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hcl1Author Commented:
Do you have a link to these Dos un-delete utilities?

Thanks
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
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hcl1Author Commented:
I found 2 files from the application i downloaded from the free-backup link of course not the 2 that i wanted. I am going to try the other programs if i can figure them out.
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
I hope this works for you, and i'll keep looking for a better software that would work on Dos...
Regards..
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hcl1Author Commented:
well i opened up the 2 files that i recovered and they are no good. They are just Jiberish.... One was a word file and the other was an excel file.

Thanks again
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
As there's a tons of softwares that's used to recover, undelete, or restore files, You can use one of the most and famous avant software for such process.. Here are some recommended softwares in the following link.,,,,

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Q_21187937.html

I have found this too, it's a demo version, but it show you if you can restore any files before you purchase the program..
http://www.active-undelete.com/downloads/Undelete-Demo-Full.exe
http://www.softplatz.com/Soft/Utilities/File-Disk/Active-UNDELETE.html
--
http://www.thefreecountry.com/utilities/partitioneditors.shtml
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
Wow, I have used the Active undelete on demo version, and it seems that it does a good recovering, Give it a shot.
After installations run an advanced mode scan...
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venom96737Commented:
Just as i had thought hc that drive is going bad its on its last leg I would recommend a low level format and then reinstall and running the test again if it  fails again its time for a new drive sorry for the bad news.
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venom96737Commented:
You can try all the dos recovery in the world but its going to come up with fragmented parts and unreadable data and it wouldnt be a virus because if a virus was going to delete anything it would start with the system files not desktop items.
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venom96737Commented:
A low level format is a last ditch effort to try to repair a failing drive it resets the drives back to zero's if it works the drive is saved and you can continue use.  If the drive still fails the stress test its a done deal and needs to be replaced for stability purposes.
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hcl1Author Commented:
i will do the low level format tomorrow and see what happens. Do i have to reinstall the operating system before i can run the test?

Thanks again
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venom96737Commented:
no it is a boot up disk so you will not need to reinstall the operating system before running the test.
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hcl1Author Commented:
Well i just going to get another hard drive. If the low level format does work who knows for how long. I dont want to loose my important stuff again. Thanks all for the help. I have leared quite a bit.
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