Desktop files disappearing

January 27, 2008 at 06:48:37
Specs: XP Professional Version 2, Pentium 4 2.4GHz / 1GB
Firstly, this is not a problem of "Show desktop icons".
The files themselves have disappeared from the desktop and from C:\Documents and Settings\etc.
For a week now my girlfriend's desktop has been empty apart from 3 shortcuts (a game, firefox and aim) and the recycle bin. One day she turned on her computer to find that all the other dozens of shortcuts and files had vanished from her desktop. Why these 4 items in particular survived I have no idea.
She put some new shortcuts on the desktop and following a reboot these disappeared (leaving the same 4).
Yesterday when I looked in C:\Documents and Settings\etc\Desktop it seemed that all the files and folders were still there (as far as she can remember). I told her just to back everything up and then I'd have a proper look at it. Unfortunately she copied everything she wanted to backup to the desktop and then turned the computer off. GAH!
So now those files have disappeared from the desktop. However this time they are also missing from C:\Documents and Settings too.
Does anyone have any idea how I can recover these files?
I have not yet attempted to restore the system to an earlier point. I thought I should wait until I get some input.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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January 27, 2008 at 07:41:15
TONGSyaBASS, Check out the links below as it appears that the Desktop Cleanup Wizard may have ran.

Many more links at the search link below.


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January 27, 2008 at 14:12:40
Thanks for the suggestions but files and folders are disappearing, not just shortcuts and they have been used within the last 60 days. Also, the files have disappeared from C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop and C:\Documents and Settings\Chelsie\Desktop.

Additional information:
I just restarted the computer myself (probably should have done this earlier but I was informed by the user that there weren't any unusual messages...)
This is the message on start up:
"Windows cannot load the locally stored profile. Possible causes of this error include insufficient security rights or a corrupt local profile. If this problem persists, contact your network administrator.

DETAIL - An I/O operation initiated by the registry failed unrecoverably. The registry could not read in, or write out, or flush, one of the files that contain the system's image of the registry. "

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January 27, 2008 at 14:49:52
There's your answer then. How much free space is on the drive?

I highly recommend that my users never store files on the desktop, and all data is stored separate from the Profile (preferably a separate partition or network drive.)

Life's more painless for the brainless.

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February 3, 2008 at 06:44:03
There is over 100GB free (1 hard drive with 1 partition).

The damaged registry is the cause but it's not the answer. My question was if anyone has any idea how to retrieve the files.

Additional: The files also don't show up in the Documents and Settings folder when using the Administrator login or using the DOS shell.

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