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After Hibernation, All Documents, Music, Pics and Outlook email is deleted


This is for my customer; I fix PCs for a living. I am not yet on site so you must reply based ONLY on the info provided here. By the time I arrive and have more info, the customer expects me to have a solution (from your replies or my ideas below) so please reply based ONLY on what is here.

Vista Business at least SP1 and probably SP2. I am 95% sure it is 64-bit but not 100 % sure. Sony Vaio laptop, less than 1 1/2 years old and hi-end, ie fast cpu. lots memory etc.

All was well for months. Then customer caused hibernation to occur (which he does late every nite) NOTE: He swears it is not Sleep mode but I would not be 100% sure about that. 8 hours later he opens the laptop or ends hibernation (I do not have the details of how he started or ended hibernation). Normally at this point he sees the desktop with his icons. INSTEAD he is presented with the Vista login screen and must enter his password and login. Upon reaching the desktop he finds most icons gone (i,.e all the folders AND he has folders there) as well as the shortcut to the Documents folder. He does have program shortcuts and the recycle bin. His Outlook icon is gone (I am not sure about this). He goes to Start>Programs and ALL THE PROGRAMS are there. He clicks Outlook and it goes into the series of screens you see when you start Outllok for the first time after installing Office.  

OK your first response based on the above, is NO PROBLEM, he is obviosly in the wrong log-in account. I DOUBT THAT FOR TWO REASONS. (A) His login Password worked (B) The Recently used or changed Documents folder (or link to it) shows the CORRECT recently used files and folders.

MY preference here is a reply that "I have seen or heard of this ***EXACT** problem and here is the solution"


Please reply with a solution OTHER THAN
(1) Do a search for the missing folders or files with search option to show hidden, system etc files (i.e all files) including non-indexed files and folders on the entire C: (He has only ONE partition, I have worked with this laptop before).

(2) Go to Cntrl Panel>User Accounts and find a new or old account and then login into it and see if the mssing stuff is there.

(3) Go with Explorer to C:\Users folder and look for new user folders and also check the All Users folder and Public folder etc. etc and then look in those folders for the missing stuff

(4) Check the services to see if lots of them are turned off and should not be. IF so turn them on.

(5) IF ALL THE ABOVE FAILS, try the Vista Ultimate Previous Versions feature to recover all the missing stuff. I questions this because the missing stuff is HUGE many many GB and assuming one Restore Point per day his HD would be filled 1000 times over. UNLESS MS was smart and if the area for this gets filled it deletes the earliest Previous Version to create space for the new one. Also Google search shows many people who DO HAVE regular System Restore points can not get Previous Versions to work (and yes I have a MS solution regaring shared folder and printers etc).

(6) Use the freeware Recuva program. Comment; In my experience these kinds of programs do NOT FIND everything that is gone, only 50 - 60 % if you are lucky AND take many many hours to run if there are many GB of data which is the case here.

(7) Hire a professional Disk recovery Company.

Do NOT reply with ANY of the above (1) - (7). I already know about those ideas. Other ideas not above are appreciated especially if you have a solution to the exact (i.e stuff is gone after hibernation) problem.


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1 Solution
mgross333Author Commented:
From the Question Poster. Yes Te customer already checked the Recycle bin and the missing stuff is NOT there.

Glen KnightCommented:
Is there a possibility that offline files/folders are in use?

Check the offline files/folders settings and run a full sync.

With vista the network connection can often fail to re-initialise after hibernation and a simple restart will bring the connection back.
mgross333Author Commented:

Upon arriving onsite I found the files were still all there in the C:\users\username folder BUT the User Profile now pointed to a home directory of C:\users\TEMP and TEMP was basically empty folders (i.e what you would see if a new user account was created with username TEMP and NO CONTENT).  And the User Profile properties showed its was "Temporary" and created when the PC came out of hibernation. For reasons that don't matter now, I booted to Safe Mode but did not login. I then restarted normally AND THE PROBLEM WAS GONE. ALL WAS FIXED.

Please note that normal restarts (several) did not fix the problem until I booted in Safe mode.

Vista often after a problem shows a screen saying to boot to Safe mode to fix the problem. I HAVE SEEN THIS MANY TIMES in my work fixing PCs. I have never seen the problem not fixed by following these instructions IF THE INSTRUCTIONS APPEAR (an IMPORTANT limitation), The difference here is that the instuctions did not appear and also I did not login to Safe mode after Safe mode boot but NONETHELESS Safe Mode COMPLETELY fixed the problem.

It gets better, The result of the boot was not a normal boot BUT was what would appear IF the laptop had come out of hibernation.i.e four Word and Excel files that were open before hibernation appeared (NOT what would happen in a normal restart).


mgross333Author Commented:
I forgot to say that the C:\users\TEMP folder was now gone and the Profile was now Local instead of tmeporary.
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