I booted up my pc and all my pictures and such are gone

I have a clients machine, Compaq Presario, running Windows XP and one day she turned her machine on and all her files ie: pictures were gone.  It was as if she had just turned on a brand new machine.  I see there were a bunch of windows updates done but I cant find the pictures that she had on her pc. When I tried a system restore it was as if the pc was brand new and the last date to restore from was 9/25/07- she's had the machine for a couple of years - any ideas would be greatly appreciated
dfigelAsked:
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willcompCommented:
I'd surmise that someone ran System Recovery and restored to factory setup. You can try file recovery software such as GetDataBack and see if any files are retrievable. Chances are poor if a system recovery was done.
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michkoCommented:
Did she somehow log in as a different user?

Log in as the administrator and do a search for *.jpg files (and/or *.bmp, *.tif, depending on what format most of her pictures were saved in).  

If one of those two ways doesn't find them, let me know and I'll add additional suggestions.
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michkoCommented:
If you have to try to recover data, I recommend Restorer2000.  http://www.restorer2000.com/

Depending on the value to the user of those files, if necessary you may want to look at a data recovery company.  http://www.gillware.com/customers.php
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dfigelAuthor Commented:
I just spoke to the client - when she booted up the machine on 9/24 - it came up with a screen asking if she wanted to restore system files - of course not knowing what that meant - she said yes - unfortunately she didn't tell me that from the get go - anyway - I will check out the software GetDataBack - and other thoughts would be appreciated - She lost her daughter in a tragic accident at 17 years old and these are the pictures she is trying to get back.
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willcompCommented:
If GetDataBack is not successful, only other alternative is to try a data recovery service. A reasonably priced and competent one is Gillware.
http://www.gillware.com/

It never ceases to amaze me the important files that are not backed up. With almost every PC now having at least a CD-RW drive and flash drives so cheap, there is just no excuse.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
The most important thing to tell your client is STOP !!   The more a disk is used, the lower the chances are of recovering information from it.   If ALL she did was a system restore ... and hasn't used the system since; there's at least a chance that the data files are recoverable.

willcomp already suggested the two best options:  GetDataBack (http://www.runtime.org/gdb.htm ) and, if that's not successful, Gillware.   One other comment:  As I said, NO activity should be done on the disk --> don't boot the system; don't install GetDataBack; etc.   I would remove the disk; attach it to another system (either via an internal IDE/SATA connector or with an external USB connection gadget -- this is a good one:  http://www.buyextras.com/sausb20toide.html ); then install GetDataBack on that system and see if it can recover anything from the disk.

... I agree with willcomp that it's amazing how many important files are not backed up.   500GB external drives are just over $100 these days;  USB flash drives are very inexpensive; blank CDs and DVDs are next-to-nothing (and as willcomp noted almost every system has a burner) ==>  it simply doesn't make sense!!   I tell all my friends they should assume all of their hard drives will fail every night at midnight ==> so be sure there's nothing on it them that they would be upset about losing :-)    ... then I help them set up their systems with segregated OS and data partitions; and an automated backup process to be sure the data is ALWAYS backed up.

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willcompCommented:
I assumed PC was in shop and not in customer's hands from question. If not, then garycase is VERY correct abot not using PC.
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willcompCommented:
Were you able to recover files?
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dfigelAuthor Commented:
I was not able to recover the files using Restorer2000 - so I fixed the other things wrong and returned it to the client because she was anxious to get her PC back.  I had an old hard drive of hers from her last computer that I was able to recover files from using GetDataBack. I wanted to try GetDataBack on her current hard drive but she decided she didn't want me try.  So, I appreciate all the suggestions, this was my first post on this site and I'm excited to continue to use this site as a viable resource.
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