Vista ate user profile. Any way to recover the My Documents folder?

Pretty much what the title says. This morning Windows Vista deleted my BF’s user profile, which includes his My Documents, My Music, etc. folders. Is there any way to recover the files? He had a completed first draft of a novel in there, among other things.

He’s already checked for a system restore point, and for unknown reasons there aren’t any. :frowning:

Are you sure it was deleted - sometimes Windows (for reasons only known to itself) decides that the old profile is not good enough for the logon account, and so creates a new profile directory (with an extension like username.000). The old profile is still present.

Take a look in the profile directory (C:\Users, or C:\Documents and Settings) and see if you can see multiple profiles for his user ID. Then you can copy the files to the new working profile (this is easier than repairing the old one and reattaching to it). You may need to use an administrator account and take ownership to get access to the files, though.


If the files truly are deleted use the computer as little as possible until you get them back. Deleted files are not necessarily gone - they’re just marked as available to be overwritten. Anything new saved on the hard disk could potentially overwrite files which could otherwise be recovered.

If they are deleted you can try using Recuva to get the files back. You probably won’t get them all back but hopefully it can at least get most of the novel.

Oh, and if you have something as important as a novel on your computer, back it up in future!

Good luck.

Don’t use My Documents (etc) to store data either; use another drive/partition; this way you can easily restore/reinstall Windows if something goes wrong and not worry about your data (but still do backups).

Yeah, the C:\Users\NAME folder is gone.

We’re trying Recusa, fingers are crossed. Looks like we’ll get his stock photos back, anyway.

So how did it go?

This happened to me last week. I couldn’t understand it. I eventually decided to create a new user account but for one last check I started in safe mode. Lo and behold my old user account was available with all the files there!

There was a work around on the windows forums which involved some registry editing and didn’t ultimately work. But I copied my progs, docs, music and pics to a portable hard drive. Created a new user profile and deleted the old one.

Do those backups regularly, if possible set up automated software.