Lost files after system recovery

  Froghero 06:48 02 Jan 2007

My computer has had some serious problems, so I performed a System Restore. According to a 'troubleshooting guide' that came with the comp, it restored the drivers and such to their original state but was supposed to leave all other data, music and movies and such, intact.

While all of the software that didn't come on the machine was preserved, I can't find any of the other files. The hard drive reads as having only a small percentage of its memory still free, just like it was before the recovery, but most of it can't be accounted for.

Is there some way I can recover the 'lost' files? Will I have to download some program to do so? Or if not, can I at least free up that memory?

  brundle 07:12 02 Jan 2007

XP `System Restore` will roll back your system and retain your files, a `System Recovery` (ie. using a `recovery` CD that came with your machine) has the potential to wipe your machine of everything and take you back to day one depending on a couple of factors. If the recovery process formatted the drive you may be out of luck but you can try a few file recovery programs; there 10 or more free ones other members will post, but here are a couple to be going on with.

click here
click here
click here

  Froghero 09:38 02 Jan 2007

It was Recovery, not Restore. It asked me to save for a rollback state for Restore, and I did, but it no longer has that or any of the previous states.

This is what the guide says - "Standard Recovery-This option recovers factory-shipped programs, drivers and the operating system without affecting any data files that you may have created since purchasing this PC. Some data files may be difficult to find after the System Recovery."

Since several applications that I've installed after purchase but before Recovery, like Photoshop and Warcraft, are still intact, it seems to me that everything else should be retrievable. Plus, it's all still taking up memory on the drive. If I can't recover the lost files easier than merely replacing them, then I might as well just do a Full Recovery and start from scratch.

I tried that PC Inspector program. It seemed to produce some results, but now I just need to figure out what to do with those results, mainly since they seemed to be just fragments.

  brundle 18:29 02 Jan 2007

You should be able to get the majority of things back just by re-installing your applications - if you used Outlook Express for email recovering the files is a bit more involved than a couple of clicks but the originals should still be safe.
Take a look in your Program Files folder and make backups of any data that was created by installed programs there then re-install the app(s).
Depending on how the recovery operates you may find your old `my documents/pictures/music` folders in `Documents & Settings` under your original account name, the folder for your new account (if you gave it the same name) will have some random digits after it to differentiate it from the old one. Recover your old stuff from the original. That is how an XP recovery works, in my experience.

  Froghero 23:01 02 Jan 2007

All the data associated with my applications are right where I left them. What's missing are pictures and music, all of which I dropped either on the Desktop or in folders on the Desktop. Since the only things are missing are from the Desktop, I realize that this was probably not the best idea.

I tried looking for my old account, but it couldn't be found. In C: there is a folder called USERDATA that I am unable to get into; access is denied, even though my new account, named the default Compaq_Owner, has administrative powers for the computer. Could they be in there?

PC Inspector did find a lot of data, but they were all named 'cluster 3310193.jpg' or something to that effect. I tried saving them to a friend's computer on the network, but couldn't find them there either. From the program's help file, I have to rename them before saving them, but I can't tell what they are, or even if they are just pieces of larger files.

From what I understood from the FAQ, the suggestion to save recovered data to a new drive was to make sure the recovered data didn't accidently save over data that hadn't been recoevered yet, but when I merely replaced some of the files my drive just became more full, instead of actually saving over the data. I could be content with just deleting the old data and freeing up the memory, if there is a way to do that. PC Inspector doesn't seem to have that feature.

  woodchip 23:32 02 Jan 2007

Although you have Compaq_Owner from your last post, it sounds like it works like my Medion computers. Three ways of restoring. First is System files that should get the PC going next restore option is includes drivers reloaded. Then last a Full Restore

  Burpie 23:58 02 Jan 2007

Try this:

Boot into Safe Mode (keep tapping the F8 key whilst the PC boots).

Locate the USERDATA folder.

Right click the folder and select Properties.

Click the Security tab.

Make sure the Administrator group is selected.

Click the Advanced tab.

Click the Owner tab.

Select the Administrator group.

Tick the "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects".

Click Apply.

Click OK.

That should be it, you should now be able to access the USERDATA folder.

Reboot and access the folder in normal mode.

  Froghero 05:28 03 Jan 2007

Thanks alot, Burpie. All my lost files were hiding in that folder.

Thanks to brundle and woodchip as well, for bothering to try and help at all.

  roy 16:32 10 Mar 2007

Bookmarked! Thanks to all.

Hoping to find everything that disappeared when I had to re-install XP (yeah, I'm an idiot, I know) I looked in here for help.

But I understand cameras not computers.

Can anyone eplain what to do v e r y s l o w l y to me?

I used a 'download' thing and it 'found over 15,600 files - so they are clearly here someplace.

Does anyone here know about a download that's available, safe, works (fairly importantly), and isn't going to cost a bomb?

Thanks, in anticipation.

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