Monday night I found My Documents full of holes, giving the appearance that files have been deleted. (See the attached screenshot.)
This is all the more concerning because of a recent episode in which it is completely clear that some images were deleted from My Pictures. http://forums.majorg…ad.php?t=280456 In that case there was never any sign of the deleted images in the Recycle Bin or anywhere else.
I checked Undeluxe. It doesn't appear to have what I want.
I tried System Restore, and have come up with nothing so far. Somebody has told me that one cannot recover user files (as opposed to system files) through System Restore anyway.
I tried Google Drive, which is a mess for me now. (In my second week of having it, Google Drive put itself on my hard drive so that I have an entirely gratuitous and unwelcome duplication of My Documents on My Documents. That doubled the size of My Documents and cut my hard drive free space by a third. I am now getting from Google Drive's tray icon the message : "You have 4.18 GB in your trash at Google Drive. Please empty the trash or purchase more storage." I have checked, and apart from Google Drive itself, my My Documents is still under the 15GB free limit of Google Drive. I think I will move my My Documents backup from Google Drive to Webroot backup.) Google Drive does not seem to offer any help. I counted 366 documents Monday night in My Documents ©. But the My Documents in Google Drive had only 355 documents.
So I have five things in mind.
1. Most importantly now, how can I get any missing files back?
2. What could have caused this?
Is Windows Explorer the culprit? Lately it has been behaving badly, crashing a lot and leaving me with no taskbar.
I did use CCleaner Sunday night, but I did not use Drive Wiper. I also used Advanced Uninstaller Pro's temporary files and cookie cleaners, ATF Cleaner, Wise Care System Slimming, Ashampoo WinOptimizer Drive Cleaner, Advanced System Care Pro Iobit Disk Cleaner, and Kingsoft PC Doctor Junk Cleaner. On none of these did I leave all settings checked; rather I scrutinized them carefully. (By the way, all of them except ATF Cleaner removed a meaningful amount from my hard drive.)
Could junk file cleaning somehow have attacked my My Documents folder? I surely would not leave checked anything that would look like it would get into that folder.
I also have suspicions that Google Drive could be the culprit. See http://www.dresan.com/blog/?p=2300
3. How can I prevent anything else like this happening again?
Is there a better program to use to protect files than Undeluxe?
Can I move my files somewhere away from Windows Explorer where they will be safer?
Are there settings in junk file cleaning I must avoid to prevent an assault on my useful files?
I don't know much about backup and I know even less about imaging. Advice in these realms and links to good articles would be appreciated. I plan to eventually get an internal hard drive + enclosure to back up my system. However I'm not ready to do that now because I haven't decided whether my new computer should be a laptop or a desktop. My first priority is getting multiple redundant remote backups, such as with BuddyBackup, when I have time.
4. Is it possible that no files were really deleted, and that for some mysterious reason Windows made the mess that you see on the screenshot without deleting anything? With as many documents I have, it's pretty hard to remember just what was there so as to be able to know for sure that something is gone. That question leads to :
5. What program or technique would enable me to know for sure whether files have been lost? It seems like it would be very good to have something that would keep count of the files in every one of my data folders. Then I would need something that would allow me to revert in time for comparison purposes.
Service Pack 3
Dell DIMENSION DIM2400
Pentium® 4 CPU 2.66GHz
x86 Family 15 Model 2 Stepping 9
2.05 GB of RAM
Graphics Card: Intel® 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV
Graphics Controller, 64 Mb
Hard Drive Size 114.4GB
Free Space was 35.8GB; now under 20GB because after backing up My Documents on Google Drive, Google Drive has duplicated the whole darn thing on my hard drive
Motherboard: Dell Computer Corp., 0G1548
Antivirus : Webroot Internet Security
I've never seen anything like this before, so don't think I'll be much help here. However, having said that, have you checked to see if you might have a virus or malware? "Is Windows Explorer the culprit? Lately it has been behaving badly, crashing a lot and leaving me with no taskbar." This is telling me you might have a virus or Malware. (Do you have an AV program?)
If not then you seem to be having problems with your system files. If that is the case, then a repair install of your OS might solve the problem.
One should not rely on System Restore to correct problems! The person who told you that System Restore cannot recover user files is correct. System Restore is only for system files. That is why it is called System Restore!
Have you any backups from before this happened? I'm not talking about cloud backup (i.e. Google Drive) I'm talking about image and file backup programs. If you don't have any backup programs then, for heaven's sake, get one NOW! If you do, then try to restore using your backup program. If you have an image backup then restore the entire C drive from a time prior to when this happened.
Now for the lecture!
Besides the fact of getting a backup program, WHY are you storing your documents and images on your C drive? That is the worst possible place to keep them! If you have a problem with your system files, or a problem with your C drive it is highly likely that you will lose all those files, especially if you can't save them somewhere else because of the issue(s) being experienced.
The best place to keep any documents or images etc. is on another drive. Even if you only have 1 HDD it can be partitioned into 2 or more drives. It is far safer to keep them on another drive in case do you have issues or the C drive crashes. If you have to completely reinstall your OS on the C drive, you will lose all those files. However you will not lose them if they are stored on another drive.
If all else fails and the cause of disappearing files is not malware, look at http://dottech.org/113185/windows-review-best-free-file-data-recovery-programs/
If you deleted your files by accident, you can get it back from the recycle bin. But if you can not get it back from the recycle bin, then I think this kind of tool can help you. This tool is very safe and easy-to-use, you can have a try. And you can visit this website for more detailed information. http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizardpro/
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