Windows Vista problem nobody can solve

  Alan1959 00:24 28 Jun 2016

A couple weeks ago I logged in to my 5 year old HP to discover that my computer had changed, like some kind of upgrade or it went back to its original setup. None of my files or folders were on my desktop screen. I opened Thunderbird to check my email and it was as if I was opening it for the first time. My inbox was empty and all of my personal folders were gone. It was the same way with everything I opened. All my favorites were gone. It was as if I had a new pc and had to set everything up. So I did. The good thing was I was able to use the tool on Thunderbird and it pulled up my old profile and imported my old email files and folders. In windows explorer I could see that my old user profile and files were still on the hard drive so I didn't panic too much. Fast forward to yesterday morning (Sunday). I logged in to my computer and guess what? My old profile was back. All my files and folders that I had on my desktop were back. How can this happen, especially with me not telling it to do it or giving approvals, etc.? But even though all my files and folders were back on my desktop, everything I have done in that 2 week period is gone. Emails, photos, spreadsheets, gone! Poof. It's as if the past 2 weeks never happened. Now here is the strangest of all. Saturday night when my computer was still in the "new" phase, I used it to transfer a couple hundred photos from my Canon SD card to an external storage device where I keep all my photos. This is attached to the computer via USB but is just a 2 TB storage device. After I transferred the photos, I let it delete the photos from the SD card as I always do and I put it back in my camera. So on Sunday morning, when my PC reverted back 2 weeks I thought, "At least my photos are safe on the external storage device!" But when I went to view them, everything was gone there too from the last 2 weeks. I'm at my wits end to figure out what is going on. Has Anyone seen this before? I have done searches on my computer by date, by file name, etc. and can't find any files in the last 2 weeks. I can't find any other user profiles. What happened? The only files I can find are some of the photos that I deleted Saturday night that were bad photos and they are still in my Recycle bin. I tried to restore them and they can no longer find a path back to the external drive, apparently. HELP!

  NJ4959 12:18 28 Jun 2016

I had this issue with a Windows 98 computer several years ago. It turned out to be the hard drive was failing. I used another hard drive and everything was fine.

  Jollyjohn 12:34 28 Jun 2016

Under File Options select "Show hidden folders / files" Does this show any other users? Could be Default or Public or Administrator. Is your missing work from the last two weeks in any of them?

For the photos on the External drive you could try Recuva click here The free version will recover photos.

  Alan1959 01:46 29 Jun 2016

Thanks Jollyjohn! I didn't figure out what happened to my computer or where the phantom user profile went but I did us Recuva on my camera SD card and it recovered all 227 of my photos!

  Jollyjohn 11:44 29 Jun 2016

Phew, glad you got the photos recovered.

I know occasionally Windows will boot to a Temporary Profile but you get a huge warning on screen and it warns about not being able to save stuff but I am not sure what has happened to your PC. Also I would not have expected that to interfere with the process of transferring stuff.

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