Whole Directory Suddenly Gone - How? Why? How to get back?

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  1. Posts : 533

    Whole Directory Suddenly Gone - How? Why? How to get back?

    I was creating sub directories and then searching on a file extension - such as 'mp4' and then highlighting all found files and dragging them into these subdirectories.

    Moving them.

    emptying the original directory and sorting the files.

    Suddenly everything vanished.

    Some kind of slip of the finger somewhere in the middle of the keyboard at the right side - my right little finger or somewhere around there - and the whole original directory is gone and all the subdirectories.

    And nothing is in the recycle bin.

    Any clues on what's going on with this latest windows madness?

    any help?

    p.s. I can still see the directory in the directory tree structure in the left pane. But if I click on it I get a message that it is unavailable..

    A 'location unavailable' message.

    A message saying make sure the device is connected and if it is then maybe the files have been moved or deleted..... !!

    Windows tells me that it may have moved and deleted files and yet still be showing them as existing... !!

    I have a good search tool (everything) and it does not find the directory anywhere. So much for having moved it.

    In the recycle bin I don't find the directory.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 14,213
    Win10 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro and Home, Win7, Linux Mint

    Been there, done that! About all one can do is go through each and every Folder to search for subFolders and what you've lost, it's very possible releasing the mouse dropped it in a Folder you didn't notice. I've gotten into the habit over the years of doing the Copy then go back and Delete the originals. It's also possible doing a full Search of the drive for the file extension, i.e. *.mp3, *.mp4, etc., will find the files which will lead to the Folder or subFolder they are in. The * asterisk is a wild card, useful when the full name is not known or too many files to remember.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 533
    Thread Starter

    Yep, thanks Berton but unfortunately I don't think that's going to help.
    I know about the wildcard, of course, that's how I was searching for the extensions: search: *.mp4 etc...

    I've searched every folder. As I said. I have this excellent tool. 'Search Everything'. It can't find them.

    The thing is they're found: they show up in Windows Explorer Directory Tree. That's the point. And then Win10 tells me the location is 'unavailable'.

    If it is not there it shouldn't show up in the directory tree, should it? It's not a directory tree of everything I don't have on my computer. It is supposed to be a directory tree of what I do have.

    For it to show what is not there is for it to be misbehaving. That misbehaviour needs identifying and fixing, with or without finding my files.

    A long time ago I vaguely remember something very similar. I did a copy I think and it didn't show. I got a win in that case, that time, I remember, after a lot of hassling. It turned out that windows keeps some files in a special place where they can't be seen sometimes, for some reason.

    They're there but they're not there. You have to go making changes to permissions or registry or something - I can't remember what.

    I'm thinking/hoping this is something like that and someone will know about it.....

    faint hope I s'pose, but you gotta try....
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 5,478

    Look with TreeSize Free. Run it as Administrator (by pressing right click on your mouse and selecting "Run as Administrator").

    If it exists in the filesystem you will find it.

    If not then you are going to have to restore your backup.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 43,361
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    The thing is they're found: they show up in Windows Explorer Directory Tree.
    Can you post a screenshot highlighting what you see? Thanks.

    If you know where they are but can't access them, either boot to a command prompt, if familiar with that, or boot from a live boot disk and access them free of Windows permissions
      My Computers

  6. Posts : 533
    Thread Starter

    I'm sorry but I can't. l inadvertently let my downloader start again and it was configured to download to that directory - this missing directory I had been making subdirectories in - and it did, somehow, even though to me that directory was a 'can't find'.

    And it has written three files in there. So I have a directory of that name again. Or still. But it has no subdirectories and has not the dozens of files I sorted into them, either, of course. It just has that three.

    That's all I can do tonight. Take a look at it tomorrow. :)
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 3,011
    Windows 10 Pro for the Bro

    Sorry, I just skimmed through the posts here.

    Don't know if anyone mentioned: Recuva
    Download Recuva | Recover deleted files, free!
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 7,964
    Windows 11 Pro 64 bit

    You might find a clue in your Recent Items - make a shortcut to %appdata%\microsoft\windows\recent

    You could also try searching for the filename of one of the missing files to discover its new location.
      My Computers

  9. Posts : 533
    Thread Starter

    Tried everything. The files do not exist. The folders do not exist.

    Yesterday a exe file disappeared. Very strange. I was using that app. It is a downloader. I start it every time from windows explorer. click on it to start the app.

    I had been using it and had switched it off, shut it down for a while.

    I went to run it again and the exe was not there. Is not there. Not there or anywhere else on my machine.

    I've been talking to Microsoft. Via their support Chat things. Four different people. Much talk. Much repeating of what I've already said.

    They're no help.

    I get the feeling some of them are pretty clueless. Just working their way through a set list of responses.
      My Computer

  10. Posts : 43,361
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    You could restore them from a backup. You do have a backup, I hope? If not, I guess it's lesson learnt, alas.

    Disks fail, things go wrong. Even OS upgrades can delete things.
      My Computers


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