Windows noob here
Started to have several small issues with my HP laptop, Windows 10 Professional, small stuff, but annoying never the less, lost ability to login with anything but the password (even after resetting and re-training fingerprint and face recognition), new printer not showing up in devices, some other minor quirks, etc. been about two years so I figure I'll clean up Windows.
I am not a Window's power user, so I did a "reset this pc" with "keep my files", which was supposed to "keep your personal files", but remove all third party apps, drivers, etc, stuff which I figured I'll reinstall.
After about an hour and several restarts, the reset failed toward the end and rolled back, I logged in and all third party apps were not removd and are still there
however the stuff it was supposed to keep, my personal files and folders, documents, downloads, pictures, etc, are ALL GONE, with the exception of files in the recycle bin and files in app data folder
Unfortunately no backup :-(
Yes I know backup backup backup but I in nearly two years never got around to purchasing an external drive, and the interal is an SSD (internet at home in the boonies is too slow for cloud backup), so I figured I am sorta safe...
several recovery programs (downloaded to and booted off usb), did not see any of the files/folders, but they did see thousands other deleted files, temp files, certificates etc.
bitlocker was turned on (I have a backup key), and I initially thought that bitlocker only encrypts personal files, and I that lost the entier bitlocker structure which keeps my personal files
but based on limited understanding, seems that bitlocker locks the whole drive, so it means that it is not a bitlocer issue, since I do see all other files outside my folder, and I do see some other folders in the "users" folder, I also can see the files in the recycle bin, and in app data.
on the other hand, I also see these files when booted off the linux based usb rescue drive, which did not ask me for my bitlocker key and does not know/use my Windows password... so if the entire drive was locked, linux somehow had the ability to unlock and see the files on the driv, whic beats the purpose of locking/encryption...
Unless the "restore my pc" undid the bitlocker thingy, and lost just the personal files in the process??? just a wild guess to accommodate what I'm observing...
Microsoft will not talk to me unless I pay them $500 upfront, as this is a "professional" version of windows, and I do not have a business service agreement... yet I believe that they should help, their tool was supposed to keep my files, failure/rollback or not and there was no warning about bitlocker (if that's the issue), yet it did not keep my files. I do not believe that I did anything wrong (other than not having a backup), and no hardware issues, so I do believe that it was a failure of MS Windows and that they should take ownership of the issue and help me.
does anyone have any more insight or ideas how to find/recover/restore my files/folders?
does anyone know to make a bit for bit clone copy of the internal SSD onto an external drive (which I can then use to attempt recovery of my files), and then I can just re-install Windows from scratch onto the internal SSD, and hopefully resore the recovered personal files from the external disk?
as of now, I do not want to use the internal disk, as to not reduce the chance of recovery.