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Lost documents and media files after system restore

A system restore is a Windows function which allows the user to restore computer data such as system files, programmes installed, etc. When you save files onto C without any backup, and a after system restore, the disk will be formatted. The Windows operating system erases all information stored on disk C after a system restore. You may accidentally choose all the disks to be formatted. To restore your files, shut down the computer and turn it on. Press the F8 key when you see blue screen, which will take you to the Windows Advanced Options menu. Enter the safe mode and select the Microsoft Windows XP home edition operating system or Microsoft Windows Whistler Personal, and follow the procedure.

Lost documents and media files after system restore


I recently had to do a system restore, after which my user accounts were reset. Now all my media files, music, and documents are missing or hidden. I know they're there, because when I check the storage diagram in my hard drive's preferences menu it shows that the same amount of storage space is being used. If the files had been erased there would be more empty space. I use my computer for work and I had mostly media files on it - mostly pictures. There is a lot of art on my computer (about 60%) and I really need it. I don't want to reformat my hard drive. I don't know if it has been hidden because the user account was deleted. I've done wildcard searches but the files don't even show up. Even in DOS mode I can't find the files. Someone mentioned on Yahoo Answers that there is a hidden directory, but I don't know anything about that or where to begin with it. I ran the Windows XP Media Center because I thought it was because of the user account being reset that this has happened. Now I can't find those files because I don't have privileges. I need the art work and other important documents, as well as personal pictures that mean a lot to me. Please help!


Give this a try. I recommend printing this before moving your computer into safe mode, just in case.
  • 1. Shut down the computer.
  • 2. Turn the power on, and when the blue HP or Compaq screen appears, press F8 to display the Windows Advanced Options Menu.
  • 3.Use the arrow keys to move up to Safe Mode, and press Enter.
  • 4.Press Enter on Microsoft Windows Whistler Personal or Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition.
  • 5.Click Administrator and enter your password or press Enter.
  • 6.A window will appear to prompt for a confirmation to keep operating in Safe Mode.
  • 7.Click Yes .
  • 8.Click Start and My Computer. Then double-click the main hard drive (C:) and Documents and Settings.
  • 9.Right-click the folder name of the user account and click Properties. (This will be a folder that shows up when you are normally logged into Windows. Under My Documents however, Windows shows it as empty and does not allow you at access it.)
  • 10.Click Security .
  • 11.Click Advanced. On the Owner tab (third tab over) click the checkbox to select the Replace owner on the subcontainers and objects option.
  • 12. Click Apply.
  • 13.Click Yes to the security message.
  • 14.Click OK.
  • 15.Click OK again. (You should start to see the files that you are trying to access being transferred)

Restart your computer and access the folder in the normal mode. You should be able to access all the lost documents on your desktop - including pictures, music, movies, documents, internet favorites etc.

This should enable you to get your lost documents back. You may still need to reinstall some lost programmes. Moving your files back to your new desktop may be problematic - however, you should now have recovered all the lost information.


Thanks to dj smurf for this tip on the forum.

A few words of thanks would be greatly appreciated.

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