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Windows 7 Automatic Update deleted my files!

    Question

  • I am running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

    Last night two updates were automatically installed when I shutdown my computer: KB976098 and KB915597

    This morning when I turned on my computer, all my files appear to have been deleted, and although installed software is still there, programs (e.g. iTunes, Google Desktop) have lost all settings and act as though it were a new installed.
    - over 200+ photos in My Pictures GONE
    - entire iTunes music library GONE
    - Desktop shortcuts GONE
    - Programs pinned to taskbar GONE (reverted to original default so programs I had removed reappeared)

    Oddly enough, everything in my Recycle Bin was preserved.  The Windows.old folder was also preserved.

    Needless to say, after my painstaking effort to upgrade to Windows 7 from XP, this is more than a minor annoyance.  Everything is backed up (I think) so I should be able to restore what has been lost but WTF MICROSOFT?!  If automatic updates are going to wipe out My Documents, a little warning.

    Has anyone else had a similar problem?
    Wednesday, November 25, 2009 9:14 PM

Answers

  • It gets weirder

    I spent a considerable amount of time restoring the missing files from an external hard drive.  As a matter of course, I shut down my computer for the day, and when I restarted it later, all the missing files were there again - and the files/folders I had created while restoring the formerly "lost" files were now gone.  The original desktop shortcuts (1 really) were back; the same desktop from before gadgets were there; programs pinned to the taskbar again; all my saved themes were restored.  I saved 1 new theme when I thought I had lost everything, and oddly that is the only file that seems to have been preserved.

    Because I didn't exactly recreate everything as it was, it was immediately apparent to me that everything had reverted to its original state.  Now I am wondering where all the files from my external hard drive have gone.  Could they be saved somewhere in a parallel directory?  I am the only user.  Could there be an entire duplicate of my iTunes library taking up space on my hard drive invisible to me?  Unfortunately I don't know exactly how much space I had free on my hard drive before this all started so I can't just look at free space for an answer.
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 8:24 PM

All replies

  • Hi Ben,

     

    It’s strange. Generally, installing updates will not remove any personal data.

     

    I would like to suggest you perform a System Restore and install them one by one to check if the issue reoccurs. If it reoccurs, please check which update is the root cause.

     

    Good luck!


    Arthur Li - MSFT
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 8:27 AM
  • I have never ever seen updates delete user data in the many years of doing self updates and/or using/managing Windows Server Update Services. What are you using for antivirus protection?
    MCSE, MCSA, MCDST
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 6:27 PM
  • It gets weirder

    I spent a considerable amount of time restoring the missing files from an external hard drive.  As a matter of course, I shut down my computer for the day, and when I restarted it later, all the missing files were there again - and the files/folders I had created while restoring the formerly "lost" files were now gone.  The original desktop shortcuts (1 really) were back; the same desktop from before gadgets were there; programs pinned to the taskbar again; all my saved themes were restored.  I saved 1 new theme when I thought I had lost everything, and oddly that is the only file that seems to have been preserved.

    Because I didn't exactly recreate everything as it was, it was immediately apparent to me that everything had reverted to its original state.  Now I am wondering where all the files from my external hard drive have gone.  Could they be saved somewhere in a parallel directory?  I am the only user.  Could there be an entire duplicate of my iTunes library taking up space on my hard drive invisible to me?  Unfortunately I don't know exactly how much space I had free on my hard drive before this all started so I can't just look at free space for an answer.
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 8:24 PM
  • One possibility is that your computer had a disk read error and logged you in with a temporary profile, making it appear that your documents etc. were gone. Run a HDD scan is my recommendation for the next stpe.

    They have your money, and you have this forum. Can you see how that works?
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 10:06 PM
  • Now I have had users who on rare occasions had that happen and all that was required was to do a shutdown and restart. Generally an indication of what Freqy indicated. Our systems are dell computers and our next step is run a HD diagnostic before boot to see if any problems exist and then check to make sure the AV updates were applied.
    MCSE, MCSA, MCDST
    Friday, November 27, 2009 3:50 AM
  • My friend has the identical problem as Ben - with the same missing items but preserved Recycle Bin. With the exception that she's running Vista. (I've been searching Google for similar problems and only found this forum. Sorry if it's topic.)

    I was hoping to peruse Vista backup options but the Control Panel is completely icon-less.

    The C and backup drives are still full - the data's there somewhere. Windows Installer keeps wanting to install something under a Temp Tray App folder but seems unable to.

    Reboots have not changed anything. Advice?
    Tuesday, December 01, 2009 1:30 AM
  • Hi, I also used the auto update and my computer changed dramaticly when i turned it on.  my wallpaper was changed, my media player had to be installed and had no music. I restored my computer to a few days ago and its back to normal. I have my pc set to keep resotre check points every few days . Now my computer is running slower it seems. Any insight would be great. I dont like people messing with my computer. Seriously, I called my layor.   
    Wednesday, December 09, 2009 11:35 PM
  • If it was a windows issue we would see many more than 3 ~ 4 folks here posting about it.

    I have over 50 PC's running win7 pro and have no issue with updates, I suggest you check for spyware / malware / virus (no programs showing under control is a sign of infection many times.
    Thursday, December 10, 2009 2:16 AM

  • Just happened to me, as well.  Exact same symptoms as described previously, except I'm running XP Pro.  Everything was working fine (and with no viruses or spy/malware -- run a check every morning) until update prompted me for a restart.  After the restart, XP had reverted to its default settings and all my user created data was missing, although all programs were still installed.

    I rolled back windows to a previous checkpoint using system restore and the directory structure came back (ie. all the folders), but all the folders were empty.  This is a shockingly bad bug.


    Thursday, December 10, 2009 9:30 PM
  • a typical of a person logged in with a temporary account
    MCSE, MCSA, MCDST
    • Proposed as answer by Maggy160 Wednesday, December 16, 2009 5:06 PM
    Friday, December 11, 2009 4:01 AM
  • I never had this happen in XP pro, but it DID happen in Windows 7 Pro. On an external HDD, no less. I went look for a pic folder and found that 32GB of files were missing. I'm still trying to reconstruct the main directory...
    Friday, December 11, 2009 1:03 PM
  • cdobbs is right. If you, or anyone else, or for example setup software, accidentally restart a computer logging into a guest account, it looks like Windows has been fresh installed and all files seem to be lost. Restart and login as administrator. See
    http://maximumpcguides.com/windows-7/log-on-windows-7-as-administrator/
    Now you see all files of all users.
    Wednesday, December 16, 2009 5:11 PM
  • This morning I faced the exact same problem.
    I have a brand new PC running Windows 7 home premium 32 bit. Yesterday I spent several hours adding files, personalizing my desktop/Internet Explorer, etc., and when I turned it off for the day, Windows started installing automatic updates. Today, when I turned on my computer, everything was gone.
    - My newly added files and folder were gone (music, phtos, documents, iTunes library, etc)
    - My configurations were gone
    - The time was changed to another time & zone,
    - The settings and the favorite links on Internet Explorer were gone
    - My Desktop shortcuts were gone
    - I had to reinstall some of my applications.
    I am the administrator and only user on this computer, and restarting the computer and logging in with my administrator password did not fix anything.
    Also, my files or folder are nowhere to be found on my hard disk. It is like they never existed.
    This is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.
    Microsoft should take this issue seriously and at least provide a serious support on this matter, if not a compensation for our lost files, work and time.
    Sunday, February 07, 2010 10:48 AM
  • Hi everyone, I have exactly the same problem with Ben.

    After I installed my Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit, it's working just nice for the first few days until the automatic updates are installed. When I turned on the computer the day after the updates, I have the same symptoms with Ben. All my softwares are still there (Google Chrome, iTunes, a few Games, etc.) however I lost all my documents, musics, pictures, saved games data, theme setting, desktop setting, etc.

    It's really annoying and on that day I re-do everything again as if this is a new computer.

    However the following day, all turns normal again, all my previous data before the updates are there again, and all my documents, pictures, etc are restored.

    I don't know what happen but I'm really concern if the same problem happen again.
    Saturday, February 20, 2010 9:09 AM
  • Add me to the list of people having the same problem...

    Running XP on a laptop from work.  I do all my work under the "laptop"/workstation only log in when at home.  Last night when I shut it down windows ran an automatic microsoft update.  This morning I turned it on and two messages popped up saying I can't access that log in (the workstation only log in).  After clicking OK, I get to a desktop that's completely clear of all my files.  Nothing in My Docs, nothing in My Pics, all history on browser is gone...when I open Explorer it acts like it's the first time I've used it.  But interestingly Google Chrome, Photoshop and iTunes are still there.  And it appears the files are somewhere on the laptop because my hard drive isn't cleared.

    I haven't had the good luck of a restart magically restoring everything but I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one.  

    I'll be speaking to tech support at work since I can't log in as administrator but sometimes they can be a little slow with a reply...

    Has there been any sort of official response from Microsoft about this?  
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:17 PM
  • February 24th 2010

    For what it's worth, I am running Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) and today KB979306 and KB976662 were automatically installed on my Dell Inspiron 17. When the computer restarted, I entered my password and before the log-in screen even cleared I heard the sound associated with a system error dialogue box.

    When the log-in screen cleared, it told me that it could not find C:\windows\system32...\Desktop (sorry, I didnt write it down because I thought it was no big deal). However, after I clicked ok, my desktop was completely blank and NONE of my libraries were there.

    I was able to run system restore and roll-back before the updates, but this was not funny. I have made a small effort to find similar stories posted online, and I've run into a handful of people with situations that all involve their desktop-libraries disappearing.


    Thanks
    Thursday, February 25, 2010 5:51 AM
  • Emory M   I did an update in windows seven too,but my computer after installing updates,now wants to restart every time it starts! What do I do to stop this?  thanks if anyone can help
    Saturday, March 20, 2010 7:48 PM
  • Yes,

     

    Had Paul S. install windows 7 and lost all pictures, documents, downloads, you name it, it was gone. 

    Windows 7 should be sued!!!!!!  for not providiinig warnings/trouleshooting to idiots who dont talke precautions to backup properly.

     

    MAD

    • Proposed as answer by MYWAYNOWAY Friday, December 31, 2010 1:35 AM
    Friday, December 31, 2010 1:34 AM
  • I have Windows 2010 and every single time there is an update it deletes all my pinned files.  As a consultant with multiple contracts this is incredibly frustrating.  Does anyone know if there is a fix for this or if MS is working on resolving this?

    Also, why doesn't outlook 2010 work with iphones?

    Monday, January 03, 2011 4:50 PM
  • This happened to me too.  its not just him
    Tuesday, January 18, 2011 2:43 AM
  • Just happened to me a few minutes ago. A System Restore did the trick but those gray hairs will not turn back. My mac isn't perfect but I've never had something quite this unnerving happen on it.
    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 9:21 PM
  • Just happened to me, too. I have Windows 2010. When I booted up, it started updating, then it rebooted automatically and when it came up everything was gone. I found my document files in Users, but nothing in Libraries. I'm not sure yet where to find things like my favorites or documents that were sitting on the desktop. I'm getting notices to configure my mouse and keyboard, etc.

    This is a relatively new computer, purchased 6 years after my previous ones, and there are so many automatic things going on now that I'm constantly getting asked to update something (Java, Acrobat, etc.) and I feel pretty out of touch with my machine. Maybe the purchase of Skype will help with this--Microsoft can videoconference with us to tell us not to worry about the latest seemingly random rearrangement of our data!

    Thursday, May 12, 2011 5:08 PM
  • Ok guys I think I may have figured this out although I'm not so vain as to think it will work for everyone. I'm hoping it does though and I would appreciate you letting me know if it does. Here goes:

    Last night 5/25/2011, while surfing and studying I ran across a website about accounting. I'm not sure what happened but something definitely did cos my computer started acting weird and then I got an error. It was a User Account Window asking me to allow some program and click yes or no. I clicked no like 12 times and it just kept coming back. Since it was a common "Windows" window that I'd seen b4 I finally clicked yes just to get rid of it that's when it happened. 5 seconds later I got an error about my hard drive and that I needed to restart. It would not go away and then I saw the screenshots on this page. This was the virus only I didn't know it at the time.

    http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/Threat/Encyclopedia/Entry.aspx?name=Trojan%3aWin32%2fFakeSysdef&threatid=2147639286

    Anyway, I closed my lid last night with the error window still open and went to sleep. When I "resumed" this morning all my data was gone. This includes programs, files, pics, music everything. I almost cried. I call this my million dollar laptop: Toshiba A665. Anyway, I immediately restored to 2 days ago and all I got back was my programs but no files. I started searching and found a deleted file. I suspected they were there on HD somewhere. I followed the path to the folder and no file. I remember hiding files from my ex a while ago so I went to the Start Menu----->My User Account---->Organize---->folder and serach options--->View ----in the list below select Show all hidden files and folders and apply it. All my files suddenly appeared. They were all hidden by the virus and they still are. Even though i can see them, they are transparent and the properties are changed on each one.  I had to right click each one, go inside properties and change the Attribute from Hidden and Apply. That's it and I am so relieved. My antivirus found the FakeSysdef file and removed it. So far so good. Let me know if this works for you!

    Thursday, May 26, 2011 8:25 PM
  • Cheers Beaumont

    I have had the problem for the last week with random windows 7 error messages. I did a system restore and lost all my files (so annoyed).

    After searching the internet I stumbled across BeaumontCherishs' advice above and now I have all my files restored.

    A big Thank You!!

     

    Andy

    Sunday, June 05, 2011 1:38 PM
  • Hi Beaumont! Your post was very useful for me as I was able to see my files after clicking in the Show all hidden files option. Though my antivirus hasn't found yet ANY virus, and I am sure that's the one infecting my PC. Which antivirus are you working with? Me I am using the McAffe, provided by DELL.

    Thanks!

    Sunday, September 11, 2011 10:49 PM
  • Yes, I just did.

    All personal data is gone: pictures, resume, homeworks, Google Chrome.. Oddly.. some programs are still there... lost bookmarks..

    Trying to recover or CIVIL LAWSUIT!! Let me know, I'm in.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 11:51 PM
  • 2 September 2013

    Switched my PC on this evening, to find that everything had changed: The desktop had been restored to how it was when I first installed Windows 7, and although all the programs (photoshop, microsoft office, itunes etc) I use appear to still be installed all my files (word docs, photos, music etc) have all gone! All the fonts seem to have altered as well. 

    This morning when I had the computer on, everything seemed fine and was as it normally is.. my personalized desktop with a photo of my nieces and nephews on, and all my files there etc.

    Not sure what, why or how this has happened. I've done a virus scan which came back as there being no threats, and did a system restore which didn't seem to do anything or have an effect on the problem... I'm not a computer techy person so have no idea how to get my files back, alter the font (at moment it seems so small and blurry) or how to fix it.

    Would be very grateful if someone could please help.

    Thanks

    Katie.

    Monday, September 02, 2013 12:09 AM
  •          FEB 17 2014 WIND. 8.1     UPDATE JUST DELETED THOUSANDS OF IRREPLACEABLE PHOTOS ,SET UP SYSTEM RESTORE (STORAGE) TO PREVIOUS ONLY 1WEEK AGO (MAYBE THIS WILL HELP RECOVER SOMETHING).ALL LIBRARIES ARE EMPTY MANY ICONS GONE FROM DESKTOP(LESS THAN IT CAME WITH) TASKBAR ICONS AND POWER BUTTON ARE GONE MOST APPS ARE STILL THERE. NEW DESKTOP BACKGROUND THAT I,VE NEVER SEEN AS ON THE SCREEN ITS AS IF IT WWERE A BRAND NEW AND COMPLETELY DIFFERENT COMPUTER? ALMOST EVERYTHING SEENS TO HAVE BEEN VAPORIZED IN LESS THAN TWO OR THREE MINUTE UPDATE. I,M NOT A TECHIE TYPE EITHER SO I,LL HAVE TO PAY SOMEONE TO  LOOK FOR MY STUFF . I DID HAVE AN XP WHICH WAS SO MUCH EASIER FOR ME TO USE AND I NEVER LOST A THING AND  WINDOWS 7 HOME PREMIUM ( STILL HAVE THEM). ILOST EVERYTHING ON WINDOWS 7 DURING A SYSTEM RESTOTRE WHEN IT COULDN,T RESTART. CONCLUSION: XP VERY GOOD ,WIND. 7 OK , WINDOWS 8 AND 8.1 FORGET ABOUT IT PURE CRAP ,LESS CAPABILITY,HARDER AND MORE TIME CONSUMING TO OPERATE ON A DAILY BASIS, DON,T SEE ANY POSITIVES ALL NEGATIVES. IT IS TO ME WHAT I LIKE TO CALL A DEPROVEMENT---------- COMPARABLE TO THE PUSHBUTTONS ON CAR RADIO AS OPPOSED TO THE OLD SELECTOR  KNOB THAT THAT YOU SIMPLY TURN AND YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THEY HAVE MADE A COME BACK.I SAY DON,T  MAKE IT ANY HARDER THAN IT IS. SORRY ABOUT THE UPPER CASE LETTERS I DON,T WORK IN AN OFFICE AND DON,T HAVE TIME NOR INCLINATION TO BE A TYPIST.   -------- I LOST SO MUCH I WOULD PAY THOUSANDS TO RECOVER IT. I DON,T THINK I,LL USE A COMPUTER TO STORE ANY INFO THAT I,M NOT WILLING TO LOSE. AND I,LL JUST LEAVE PHOTOS ON THE SD CARD AS MY BACKUP AND A FILE CABINET  FOR VITAL DOCUMENTS-----NO GREAT LEARNING CURVE  INVOLVED  AND NO MORE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED. I SUPPOSE MY HOUSE COULD BURN DOWN BUT THE LAW OF PROBABILIY IS ON MY SIDE. I,LL POST A NOTE IF I DO RECOVER ANYTHING TO ME IT LOOKS  A LITTLE BLEAK  AT THIS POINT. WOODYINAF@ MAIL.COM

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014 7:08 AM