Win 10 Desktop - one folder with 30 subfolders completely gone


  1. Posts : 6
    Win 10
       #1

    Win 10 Desktop - one folder with 30 subfolders completely gone


    Hi & help!

    At a total loss here. Win 10 HP EliteDesk 800 G4 about 7 months old. 1TB External backup always running. No issues with either and about 150 folders with many more subfolders (pics, videos, business files, the usual) Don't access many business folders consistently and none since Covid started, but today needed a picture - and -- the ENTIRE business photo folder is completely gone.

    Gone from the PC. Gone from the backup. Every other folder, subfolder and file is there in both places as usual. Nothing else missing. Folder was too big to not notice if I mistakenly moved or deleted. Tried searching by folder and subfolder name - nothing on either device. It could have been gone since March, or gone yesterday - no idea since I hadn't gone to look for anything in a while. It's been there prior since around 2013, though, with no issues - on the last 3 desktops I've had.

    Found a handful of the missing images I had posted elsewhere and searched both devices by file name. I thankfully did find some of those in a few old phone upload folders (many hundreds of photos all in one folder direct from camera roll, nothing organized like the missing folder was.) however it did NOT appear anywhere else. It's clear that folder is just 100% gone.

    I've changed to "show all files and folders" - nothing
    Looked in every other folder everywhere - nothing
    Looked on the backup drive - nothing
    Looked on every USB drive - nothing

    I can't imagine how it would dissapear from both devices; even if say I deleted or moved the whole thing by mistake from my desktop (not likely) - it should have been on the backup drive!

    I am stuck - any troubleshooting steps would be greatly appreciated before I call it lost -- then spend about 8 hours going through whatever old folders I have to pick the pictures out one by one and re create 30 replacement folders

    Thanks all!
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 1,474
    Windows 10 Pro
       #2

    In many cases like this, the folder has simply been (accidentally) unsuspectedly dragged inside another folder.

    Install free search programs like UltraSearch, Everything and/or Agent Ransack. These are fast search options, so just search the whole drive with selected keywords criteria. (don't selectively pick out locations where you think the files might be, search whole drives.

    Don't forget to search any external (USB) storage that may been connected

    If you think the files may be deleted, Recuvva (free version) is an option to search for and try to recover deleted files.
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 6
    Win 10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    idgat said:
    In many cases like this, the folder has simply been (accidentally) unsuspectedly dragged inside another folder.

    Install free search programs like UltraSearch, Everything and/or Agent Ransack. These are fast search options, so just search the whole drive with selected keywords criteria. (don't selectively pick out locations where you think the files might be, search whole drives.

    Don't forget to search any external (USB) storage that may been connected

    If you think the files may be deleted, Recuvva (free version) is an option to search for and try to recover deleted files.
    Thanks! I thought that and spent hours yesterday looking in every folder there. But it's gone from both the pc and backup which is strange b/c it should have been in the drive even if I dragged or deleted it on the pc by mistake...

    I just ran searcheverything, and it found every single folder but I can't access! Recycle bin makes me think that the stupid hp optimize storage clean was on and somehow deleted this....but makes no sense why it would be gone from the external drive too

    The main folder shows the path as this

    C:\Users\myusername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\MISSINGFOLDERNAME.lnk

    Each subfolder shows with a path like this

    F:\$RECYCLE.BIN\S-1-5-21-3747012028-1139130378-430183914-1001\$RDZ6ZDK\MISSINGFOLDERNAME\missingsubfoldername

    Ran Recuva but didn't do the whole / full search as it said 6 hours. Will do it now. Doing only picture files pulled up REALLY old deleted pictures, and some more current, but none of the files I needed
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 891
    W10-2009 19042.1348
       #4

    What method are you using to make the backup?
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 6
    Win 10
    Thread Starter
       #5

    mngerhold said:
    What method are you using to make the backup?
    Its just a standard external drive; but happy to report Microsoft chat got everything back for me!!!!!

    I was lucky for once and got an amazing rep, who remotely went in -- I showed him the missing folder entry in searcheverything app, that I had run beforehand. He saw the path, and realized it was in the backup drive. Went in and changed about 30 permissions/allowances, and un hid some system files on the drive -- after about 10 minutes he was able to copy the entire (unreadable) main folder from there (recycle bin related on the drive, not pc) over to my desktop.

    Once that was done, I could access everything! I quickly copied it to 3 different locations and cloud :) He said he still could not tell what happened and had never seen this exact issue before but it's possible the drive had some kind of failure (I've already replaced it with a new WD 2tb and put whatever wasn't on a cloud server on one.)

    Today is a much better day :)
      My Computer


  6. Posts : 891
    W10-2009 19042.1348
       #6

    That's good - but the reason I asked was to try to understand why something would get deleted on both the 'main' PC location and your backup drive. That suggested you might be backing up with some form of mirroring software, so that the backup ends up looking just like the source. That approach is potentially dangerous (but also has its advantages). In case it helps prevent a recurrence, can you confirm what backup process are you using (program, batch file, etc)?
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 35,596
    Win 10 Pro (21H2) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #7

    Suggestion:
    Make sure you also periodically back up to removable storage which you remove.

    While it's offline it can't be affected or infected by anything related to your PC.

    Even if your PC was stolen, if the backup storage was stored separately you could be ok.

    Further, if it's only in use when the backup is in progress, its lifetime should be extended.

    Disk imaging is recommended here again and again- applicable to your O/S partitions and any others. E.g. Macrium Reflect (free-paid) - quite different to backing up some folders.
      My Computers


  8. Posts : 6
    Win 10
    Thread Starter
       #8

    dalchina said:
    Suggestion:
    Make sure you also periodically back up to removable storage which you remove.

    While it's offline it can't be affected or infected by anything related to your PC.

    Even if your PC was stolen, if the backup storage was stored separately you could be ok.

    Further, if it's only in use when the backup is in progress, its lifetime should be extended.

    Disk imaging is recommended here again and again- applicable to your O/S partitions and any others. E.g. Macrium Reflect (free-paid) - quite different to backing up some folders.
    Thanks, this is exactly what I just did -- one drive that is in the drawer updated monthly. Everything of importance on the cloud, business stuff on a separate cloud updated throughout the day, and then the new WD external that's always on.

    I could have sworn I had this folder in a 3rd location - 128gb usb - but it was a ton of other stuff and not that one. I'm usually so careful so this is a wake up call!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    mngerhold said:
    That's good - but the reason I asked was to try to understand why something would get deleted on both the 'main' PC location and your backup drive. That suggested you might be backing up with some form of mirroring software, so that the backup ends up looking just like the source. That approach is potentially dangerous (but also has its advantages). In case it helps prevent a recurrence, can you confirm what backup process are you using (program, batch file, etc)?
    It was an older HP simplesave drive that should probably have been replaced already (is now replaced by a WD passport) and idrive cloud / google cloud, both of which had a lot of stuff but somehow not this one folder (my mistake!) Now 100% of the content is in 3 locations, about to be 4 when I pull another hd to keep in the drawer with a copy of everything.

    Another question - I like the incremental backups, but what's the best way to update the backup drives when there are files no longer needed? For example, I have lots of image files of things to sell - I might need them for 1-3 months; then can delete. I delete from PC, but obviously they are still on the other locations. Other than manaully deleting, or re syncing which seems silly, am I missing something? It hasn't been a huge deal as the amount of space isn't large, but should I need to upload everything again or to another pc, I don't want to be copying tons of old unnecessary things.
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 891
    W10-2009 19042.1348
       #9

    I wasn't asking about the drive, but the backup process. I guess you were using HP's built-in 'Simplesave' software. I have read its HP user-guide and it tells me nothing about what it will do in the event that one unknowingly deletes a file from the source: will it keep the copy of the deleted file (preferred) or replicate that deletion on the backup drive? My guess is the latter, and that may be what happened to you.

    So you now have a WD Passport drive - and again, I don't know what you are using to backup to it, but will guess it is HP's 'WD Backup' software. Once again, its user-guide is unclear what will happen in the event of a file being deleted from the source, and a quick internet search failed to find an answer.

    I suggest you test it: delete a 'sacrificial' file, run the backup and see if the file is still available in the backup. If it is you are good to go. As it happens, your question about incremental backups addresses the same issue: you say of deleted files 'obviously they are still on the other locations', but do you know that? If true, your accidentally deleted files are safe, but, as you say, space will be wasted on deleted files you don't want. You can't (without effort) have it both ways.

    To avoid wasting space on unwanted files, I suggest you keep ones that may end up unwanted in dedicated folder(s), so they can be easily removed from the backup when required (assuming such deletion is possible).

    Just what you want your backups to do, and how to get them to behave the way you like, takes some thinking about!
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 6
    Win 10
    Thread Starter
       #10

    mngerhold said:
    I wasn't asking about the drive, but the backup process. I guess you were using HP's built-in 'Simplesave' software. I have read its HP user-guide and it tells me nothing about what it will do in the event that one unknowingly deletes a file from the source: will it keep the copy of the deleted file (preferred) or replicate that deletion on the backup drive? My guess is the latter, and that may be what happened to you.

    So you now have a WD Passport drive - and again, I don't know what you are using to backup to it, but will guess it is HP's 'WD Backup' software. Once again, its user-guide is unclear what will happen in the event of a file being deleted from the source, and a quick internet search failed to find an answer.

    I suggest you test it: delete a 'sacrificial' file, run the backup and see if the file is still available in the backup. If it is you are good to go. As it happens, your question about incremental backups addresses the same issue: you say of deleted files 'obviously they are still on the other locations', but do you know that? If true, your accidentally deleted files are safe, but, as you say, space will be wasted on deleted files you don't want. You can't (without effort) have it both ways.

    To avoid wasting space on unwanted files, I suggest you keep ones that may end up unwanted in dedicated folder(s), so they can be easily removed from the backup when required (assuming such deletion is possible).

    Just what you want your backups to do, and how to get them to behave the way you like, takes some thinking about!
    Thanks! Yes normally it keeps files and won't sync anything, just adds anything new. The tech said the location of the missing folder pointed toward some kind of corruption - and it could be due to the age of the unit itself (it was older).

    I'm going to be doing a few tests like that and making sure things work as the old drive did. For maybe 6 years it ran smoothly but I gues as with all electronics, sh-t happens lol. I agree - can't have it both ways - just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I'll have a ton of extra space on the WD, so having unneeded older files won't be such a big deal.

    Have everything remotely important also on the cloud now - feel a lot better, I suppose this has made me be extra careful now! Thanks agina!
      My Computer


 

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