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Lost files after running disk cleanup

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My system specs:
Windows Vista Home SP2
Intel Core2 CPU
1GB memory

This is the series of events before everything happened:
I was trying to cleanup my laptop and so I decided to transfer all my useful files to my desktop computer.
I first proceeded to put all these files in a new folder on the desktop so I can transfer it all in one easy go.
After I did all that the folder was about 40GB.
Then I figured to see if I can delete any unnecessary files so I went ahead and ran disk cleanup. I went with all the default options and the total amount of space it would save was a couple hundred MB so I thought that was good.
Then I went ahead to transfer the desktop folder directly from my laptop to my desktop with a direct USB tool. After that was done (which it did unexpectedly fast) I clicked to see if all the files were transferred.
Then I noticed that the only thing that was transferred was the folder directory with no files in there whatsoever. I looked back in my laptop and it was the same situation, just folders with no files in there, occupying a total of 0 MB.

So what happened? I just lost 40GB of information, it just poofed. It must be something to do with that disk cleanup as that is the only thing I did before the transfer.

I really have no idea what happened, there were no popups nor any errors or anything I clicked on before or after.

If anyone has any ideas let me know, I do know the cleanup deletes page files and some temporary memory files, could any of those have been important. I'm just guessing at this point, this was really bizarre, any help would be really appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Edited by LiveLikeAKing, 18 July 2010 - 02:17 AM.

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wow ,not sound like you mother[lol]but we should never move/put 40 gigs of data on the desktop ,the desktop is only a system file itself used to store shortcuts,
how did you move the files to the desktop drag and drop or copy paste ,the file could have still been in memory and you should have moved the file before you did the cleanup ,
alo you could try a program called recuvra to see it can find the files for you ,i always do a copy/pate leaving the files in 2 place before i do a cleanup that way if all goes well you don't need to copy them back to original place .

recuva tool .
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