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Files "invisible" and I can't access them?

  1. #1



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    Files "invisible" and I can't access them?

    I'm a pretty adept Windows/computer user, and I've never experienced anything like this.

    A multitude of files, folders and sub-folders have disappeared (all from my "Documents"). Miscellaneous sub-folders within folders have disappeared, while other sub-folders remain intact. At first I was completely lost, as the files were there not 30 minutes prior... After assuming the worst and thinking that they had corrupted or been deleted due to a virus, I:

    - Made sure my folder options were set properly (I can view all hidden files)
    - Thoroughly checked the recycle bin
    - Did numerous searches
    - Downloaded Google Desktop and searched some more
    - Ran various "undelete" and "recovery" programs with no results
    - Did a system restore

    * I run AVG Free (I know, I'm cheap) and it scans every night. The computer is running fast and has no other virus symptoms.

    THE MINDBOGGLING PART: When you right click the folder and view its properties, it says that it still contains the correct number of files/folders that should be actually be there, but when you enter the folder they are not actually there. And, when I was running the undelete utilities it was reporting back that Windows Defender (and some other folders) had been prefixed with " ? /".

    Something gone wonky with Vista, virus, or dying HD?

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  3. #2
    Brink's Avatar

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    Re: Files "invisible" and I can't access them?

    Hello Courtney, and welcome to Vista Forums,

    Double check using OPTION THREE in this tutorial to see if your Documents (Personal in registry) folder is set with it's default location. Sometimes if this is not correct, it can cause weird things to happen to the user folder.

    Hope this helps,
    Shawn

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  4. #3



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    Re: Files "invisible" and I can't access them?

    Hi Brink,

    I tried Option 3 (as well as the others). The problem is that the "Documents" folder still exists, but various folders in it aren't showing up.

    I've taken a screenshot. The "COMPANY" folder exist within my "Documents" folder.

    As you can see, I have the properties window open for the COMPANY folder, and I'm also viewing the COMPANY folder. It says it contains 58 files and 11 folders, but in reality most are missing. Many major folders are missing/invisible from the COMPANY folder root, and many sub-folders within "Website" and "Website Orig" are also missing/invisible while their properties says the space is still taken up, and that the files/folders are actually there.

    I can find absolutely no trace of these files/folders through any restoration or undelete program and they aren't searchable. My folder options are correct. I ran a CHKDSK and it found nothing wrong. I've played with the folder attributes. I've followed at least 10 different tutorials...but nothing quite fits my issue. It's literally as if they just decided they didn't want to have anything to do with me anymore and became invisible.


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    Re: Files "invisible" and I can't access them?

    Courtney,

    I know you said that you have hidden files set to display, but double check to make sure that you did step 4 in the tutorial below to also have protected operating system files displayed as well to see if that may be it.

    Hidden Files and Folders

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  6. #5



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    Re: Files "invisible" and I can't access them?

    Hi again Brink,

    Yes, protected operating files are set to display.

    Thankfully I had this data backed up, I think I'm just incredibly confused as to how this happened...and what exactly happened. I could understand perhaps my entire Documents file becoming unaccessible or having its path changed, but the fact "Folder A" contained 5 subfolders and only 3 subfolders disappeared, along with 1-2 files while the remaining data was intact well... It makes me wonder what's really at play here. After exhausting all recovery options (undelete, recovery, chkdsk, system restore, searches etc etc) I've given up. The data has miraculously disappeared with no trace.

    I just want to avoid this happening again. I'll be backing up constantly.

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  7. #6
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    Re: Files "invisible" and I can't access them?

    Yeah, that has me confused to how the files would just seem to disappear for no apparent reason. I would be keeping good backups to be safe.

    Do you have any disk junk cleaning program that you run, that may have deleted them? Are these network folders?

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  8. #7



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    Re: Files "invisible" and I can't access them?

    I had a similar problem but although with Vista I found out that the folder option(s) were in the control panel but back to a option I stumbled on you might be able to use to find the invisible file/folder Go to O.E. >Tools>Internet options>General>browser history>settings>View files. From there you will be able to see even invisible files and folders. Click on properties and unclick the invisible/hidden box.
    At the least you can view hidden files including system files regaurdless if there set for hidden or not.

    Another option to consider is viewing and changing attributes in the DOS prompt using the elevated command prompt.Elevated Command Prompt


    I sincerely wish to help, though I cannot take responsibility for anything you do with my advice - help me help you, and don't give up! For the fastest help, type your problem in Google. Seriously

    Mike
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    Last edited by mike0526; 09 Sep 2009 at 08:24 PM. Reason: More infoe
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  9. #8
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    Re: Files "invisible" and I can't access them?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike0526 View Post
    I had a similar problem but although with Vista I found out that the folder option(s) were in the control panel but back to a option I stumbled on you might be able to use to find the invisible file/folder Go to O.E. >Tools>Internet options>General>browser history>settings>View files. From there you will be able to see even invisible files and folders. Click on properties and unclick the invisible/hidden box.
    At the least you can view hidden files including system files regaurdless if there set for hidden or not.

    Another option to consider is viewing and changing attributes in the DOS prompt using the elevated command prompt.Elevated Command Prompt


    I sincerely wish to help, though I cannot take responsibility for anything you do with my advice - help me help you, and don't give up! For the fastest help, type your problem in Google. Seriously

    Mike
    My System Specs If you find some one's post helpful, please click the scales to give rep.
    I too have recently experienced the exact same problem, but in my case, the Pictures Folder has 'disappeared' from the Windows Photo Gallery tree of Folders. In trying to locate it, this is one of the Error messages that I received;

    Files "invisible" and I can't access them?-folder-problems.jpg

    .... I've tried as much as I can to locate and restore the missing folder, but without success. Would you please expand on your suggestion to go to "O.E....etc." What do you mean by "O.E."?

    I did try to restore the Folder from a backup that I have of it, but that too...3.87GB of it, has also disappeared into the 'Vista Mista'.

    For some reason, in expanding the Apps Data Folder, I seem to have many duplicates of the the same list of Folders, with many shown as empty, unless I check out their Properties. I've been searching for Folders in excess of 3.87GB in size. No luck.

    Frustration is not a strong enough word for this crazy situation

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  10. #9



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    Re: Files "invisible" and I can't access them?

    Internet Explorer
    My appoligies. It's I.E. as in Internet explorer. The > mark indecates to go to next option ( ie. Menu bar go)> to tools >(goto)> Internet options>ect... You will be able to see all files / folders from there you should be able to change file attributes to unhidden.


    I.E. >Tools>Internet options>General>browser history>settings>View files. FROM HERE YOU WILL SEE ALL FILES / FOLDERS

    OR open Dos prompt with a right click of the mouse and run as administrator and or DOS prompt dir\X . you can use the DOS/help or DOS/? for directions.
    Another option to consider is viewing and changing attributes in the DOS prompt using the elevated command prompt.Elevated Command Prompt

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