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Strange things happened to a user's files...

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OK, here goes. Hardware is Gateway Profile 5.5. Software is XP Pro SP2.

User reported that all of her desktop icons had "disappeared" over the weekend. As it turned out, the only desktop icons gone were .doc and .xls files that she had saved directly to the desktop (versus saving them in some other folder, such as My Documents).

She stated that she had logged out her PC at close of business Friday, but had left it powered up all weekend. When she logged in yesterday morning (Monday) is when she discovered the missing files.

Here's where it gets really interesting. We fired up Windows Explorer and searched the hard disk for the file names she supplied us, and Explorer reported that the files are now located in My Computer. In addition, all of the file associations for the missing files had been switched over to IE! These file associations were not changed for all .doc and .xls files on her hard disk, just those that had been saved to her desktop.

When we attempted to retrieve the files, Word, Excel and IE all said that the files could not be found. If you right click on the files and view the properties, you get, for example, this for the location:


Also, in the Explorer display, there is nothing shown in the columns for size, type, and date modified.

Any insight or other ideas would be much appreciated! Thanks - Ralph
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  We fired up Windows Explorer and searched the hard disk for the file names she supplied us, and Explorer reported that the files are now located in My Computer

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I do not understand what you mean by this...MY COMPUTER is not a folder or location, but a shell object--and your properties example you gave after that does not point to MY COMPUTER, but {user profile}/desktop

The location property you list looks like what you find as a target for a file inserted into a web page--since the windows desktop object is based on html, I am guessing these are links to a the files on the harddrive, but the shell/object was somehow broken.

If these files are critical, I would pull the drive (stop using it to boot) and insert it in a second computer for file recovery (everytime you use it as boot drive, you could be overwriting data, even if all you are doing is starting it since there are numerous read and writes made during startup)

What you do next is kind of a toss up--a very expensive data retrieval service is one avenue

you could try EasyRecovery (a free trial that looks but does not recover is here: http://www.ontrack.com/freesoftware/) or someother file recovery program like
http://www.pcinspect...uk/download.htm (free)

You could run chkdsk /r....if the file system index is hoarked up, this may recover them from the backup msft (I would do this after trying the above step if you plan on using both)

BUT IT IS CRITICAL TO NOT USE THIS DRIVE AS THE SYSTEM DRIVE until you have made your decision. Booting the PC and fiddling with it is reducing your chance or recovery
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