Help me find my missing files in XP
April 3, 2006 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Windows XP Profile problems - Are my files gone?

At work I log on to a network and all of my user data is saved in a profile. I was in on the weekend, and when I tried to log in my profile was not available so I was logged in to a temporary profile. I saved a bunch of pictures into the "my pictures" folder of this temporary folder.
Like the fool that I am, I then logged off and logged back in. This time, my profile was picked up from the server, and the pictures that were in the "my pictures" folder are nowhere to be found.

Are the pictures gone for good? Where should I look to find these missing pictures? I don't have administrator access to this machine, but I do have a knoppix disk which I have used to poke around with not much luck.
posted by davey_darling to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
You might be able to find them.
If you log in as an Administrator, you can look at the users folders in "c:\documents and settings"

Order this by date, and hopefully there will be a folder with a name and date matching your temporary profile.

The pictures may be found in
"c:\documents and settings\{profile name}\my documents\my pictures"
or you may be able to find them by pressing F3 and searching for pictures.

If they aren't somewhere in c:\documents and settings", then you've probably lost them.
posted by seanyboy at 12:36 PM on April 3, 2006

Under root:\documents and settings\

there should be a folder with the name of your profile. Is there a folder with the name of your temporary profile? If so, it'll be root:\documents and settings\temporary profile name\my documents\my pictures

If, however, the profile is on the network...
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:37 PM on April 3, 2006

It all depends, as mentioned above, on if this particular profile was being pulled down from the network or not. If you're logging into a domain, it's more than likely that it was (with a 2003 server environment it will definitely be pulled down from the network, whereas with 2000 only if roaming profiles are set up). If it's not on your local machine, contact your network admin/IT guy and see if they can find it for you.
posted by Ekim Neems at 5:03 PM on April 3, 2006

Depending how your admin has set things up, the My Documents folder you see when you're properly logged onto the network might not be part of the profile proper.

When your network logon fails and you get a temporary profile, Windows generally puts it under C:\Documents and Settings\%username%, as people have been saying, and makes My Documents a subfolder of that.

When you log on successfully to a Windows domain, it's common for your My Documents folder to get redirected to your home folder, which will be somewhere on the network. My Documents isn't considered part of the profile under these circumstances, which is why Windows makes no attempt to merge in the files that you saved into your temporary profile.

You can find out where My Documents points to by right-clicking on it and selecting Properties.

The security permissions for C:\Documents and Settings\%username% will most likely give you full control over any folders placed inside it, so you shouldn't need admin access to the local machine. If you do, the polite thing to do is talk to your sysadmin. If your sysadmin isn't available and your needs are urgent, you can clear the admin password on your workstation using this tool.
posted by flabdablet at 10:18 PM on April 3, 2006

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