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Lost a user profile in XP

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I have lost my user profile in XP.

Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop.
Windows XP.

Here's what happened:

While saving a picture someone had emailed to me, a folder was prompted in the "save in" box that I hadn't seen before. Had several files in it. I think it was probably a temp internet folder. I went into explorer to locate it and see what those files were. It wasn't where it had shown in the "save in" box. So, I thought it was a hidden file.
The user profile that it should have been in, was Documents and Settings, user " Richard". There was also another user profile called "All Users".

I right clicked on the Richard profile to look at it's properties. On the general tab at the bottom, there is attributes. "Read only" was checked. Thinking that if I checked "hidden", it would show me the other files. Wrong guess on my part.

Now, the "Richard" profile is gone. "All Users" is still there. With "Richard" gone, most of my desktop, icons and such, are gone. Quick launch buttons are gone. My Documents and My Pictures folders are gone.

Upon startup: Error message: "Unable to create C:\Documents and Settings\Richard\Local Settings\Application Data\BVRP Software\Net Waiting\MoHlog.txt file."
I click "OK", and the same message appears again. Click "OK" again, and it goes away.

Outlook Express will not open, first error message is: "Outlook Express could not be started. The application was unable to open the Outlook Express message store. Your computer may be out of memory or your disk is full. Contact Microsoft support for further assistance. (0x800C012E. 5)"
Followed by a second error message: "Outlook Express could not be started because MSOE.DLL could not be initialized. Outlook Express may not be installed correctly."

Internet Explorer opens and functions, but favorites are gone. Firefox opens and functions, bookmarks are gone. Firefox gives this error message before it will open: "Alert: Could not initialize the application's security component. The most likely cause is problems with files in your application's profile directory. Please check that this directory has no read/write restrictions and your hard disk is not full or close to full. It is recommended that you exit the application and fix the problem. If you continue to use this session, you might see incorrect application behaviour when accessing security features."

The hard drive is nowhere near full, is about 15% full. RAM is more than adequate. 896 mb. This is not a gaming computer, used mostly for internet, email, and some pictures stored on it.

I'm at a loss here......... what have I done to this machine?
Is "Richard" retrievable intact?

Thank you for any help you may be able to offer to me.

Edited by Pluto56, 17 January 2009 - 10:13 AM.

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Mark D

Mark D


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Picked up your post from the waiting room. As I understand it, you clicked on the hidden box in your Richard profile? Wow.. Try this.
Click on My Computer, then Tools in the menu bar. At the bottom is folder options, click on that and then the View tab. Here you should see a window like this...


Change the tick mark in the Hidden files and folder category to Show Hidden Files or Folders. Click OK. Now navigate to the Document and Settings folder on Drive C. You should now be able to see the Richard folder, (though it will be a lighter gray color). Remove the click mark on the Hidden property that started your problem. and then OK

If this doesn't work try to use System Restore to go back to before you made your change. That should also work.

Cross fingers... :)
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