Documents and pictures gone missing!

  cyberphobic 14:11 19 Nov 2010

A friend has an old Compaq desktop which his daughter uses to store photos and documents for her college course. She was updating Windows Media Player and when the machine restarted it was as though it was a fresh Windows installation with no personalization and no sign of her music or documents or pictures. She tried to use system restore, it said that there had been a registry error but it had been recovered, However when the machine restarted, nothing had changed and nothing had been restored. She said that something similar had happened before but she had always managed to find everything on previous occasions. If I go to the C Drive\Documents and Settings\ there are files called All Users and Default User but also 3 or 4 files called Temp***** one of which is timed and dated just before the problem occurred. However none of the missing items can be found in any of these files.
It is very important that the missing files are recovered, can anyone point me in the right direction please?

  Jollyjohn 14:43 19 Nov 2010

First thing is to stop using the PC as you may overwrite some of the data you are trying to recover.
Next step download Puppy Linux and burn it to a cd, as an .iso file. This will give you a bootable cd. Boot from this cd and accept the default settings. Once it has booted and the desktop appears there is a series of icons in the bottom left of the screen. The hard drive in the compaq will be listed as sda1 - click on it to open or "mount" it
You should be able to see all the files on the hard drive - navigate to documents and settings and look for the data you want.
If you now plug in a usb stick you will be able to copy and paste the data to it.

  Woolwell 15:02 19 Nov 2010

And create a back up of it.

  woodchip 15:05 19 Nov 2010

Press Win Key Plus E key to start Windows Explorer. Then look under. Shared docs down at the bottom on the left. If you can see it right click the folder and drag it to start then drop on start, it should then be in the startup list

  cyberphobic 04:40 20 Nov 2010

I might be a missing a trick here, but I have taken the HDD out of the desktop and using a USB caddy have looked at it on another machine and examined all the files that way, but still cannot find the files I am looking for

Pressing Win Key Plus E key doen not start Windows Explorer on this machine, neither does Start\All Progams\Accessories\Windows Explorer open Explorer either!

  Jollyjohn 11:43 20 Nov 2010


You are not missing any tricks - the important bit is not writing to the HDD.
It would appear that Windows has been re installed and the files are no longer accessible by normal means.
There are 2 options now, you could use a data recovery company - I recommend click here This company recovered data for me from a HDD that I had formatted, written to and run defrag on. It did cost £370 but it was someone elses data and my mistake - albeit quite expensive. They do offer no fix no fee and will quote before doing the recovery. They just need the HDD.
Second option is to download Recuva click here and try to recover the data yourself. I know Recuva is good with .jpg files but I haven't tried to recover anything else with it. Look at the portable version - this is new since last time I used recuva.
Be aware if you start installing to the HDD you run the risk of overwriting some of the data you are trying to recover.
Good luck.

  muddypaws 12:39 20 Nov 2010

Can't see any ref to the portable Recuva.
Can you show me please.
Apologies for using your thread.

  jack 12:59 20 Nov 2010

that appears to have been deleted even on an overwritten drive
The best way to do this is
Download PC Inspector on the the problem machine and set it to look at C drive and to save to a USB stick.
Better still is to remove the drive and set it up on your own machine as an additional drive or in an external drive caddy or a USB to IDE cable and run PC Inspector from your machine to look into what is now an external- save recovered files to your machine ready to burn to a disk.
By the way all recovered files will be called Convar
its just a recovery program thing they can be renamed later.

  Jollyjohn 15:17 20 Nov 2010

here it is click here It was hidden away under features

  cyberphobic 21:22 21 Nov 2010

I've now tried PC Inspector which for some reason couldn't see the drive I was trying to investigate and also Recuva, without any success either. Nothing was found in any of the drives/files I tried. The only glimmer of hope was that under My documents in one of the temp files was a file called "Recent Documents" which appears to be all the files (pictures and documents) which are missing, but they are all now listed as "shortcuts" and if I click on one it simply says "this item has moved, browse to find it" but it is nowhere to be found. I've tried searching for some of the file names on the drive but they just don't exist.
I don't think I can go much further with this unless any one has some fresh ideas.

  Nontek 22:34 21 Nov 2010

As you now appear to have 'nothing to lose', no pun intended, you could as a last resort try this direct download which might at least recover any pics click here

Before running the program, create a New Folder on the Desktop and then direct recovery to that folder. You will then know where to look to see if anything has been recovered.

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