Lost user account

Microsoft Windows xp inside out
August 4, 2009 at 06:48:09
Specs: Windows XP
After a normal working session I turned off my computer. The next day, when I logged on to my account, all my settings were gone. My name as administrator is there, but my dokuments, pictures etc is gone. I found them again on the hard disk, but they are not in my account. The biggest problem is my old e-mail messages. They are really gone and when I startet Outlook it was like the first time I started it. I was asked to configure Outlook. I tried system recovery, but that was not possible, even in secure mode. I have an updated Norton anti-virus program running.
How do I fix this problem?



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#1
August 4, 2009 at 07:23:08
Appears to be related to your problem ---
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326688
Windows XP Problems if Your Profile Is Damaged

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#2
August 4, 2009 at 10:54:13
You 'might' have a flakey hard disk or memory problem. I suggest that you run a memory test:

http://memtest.org/
There is a version to create a bootable floppy diskette and/or an ISO for creating a CD.
Run it overnight and any failures are unacceptable.

You could also run chkdsk /r
This will check the disk for weak/bad sectors.
Note that it takes quite a while to run.


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#3
August 4, 2009 at 12:46:11
Does someone else use this same computer?
If so, did they use it after you logged out and before you attempted to log in again the next day?

"My name as administrator is there"

There is always an Administrator user in XP and 2000 under C:\Documents and Settings. Your account may have (had) administrator priviledges, but that's not your user account unless there is at least one other user and you were only using that Administrator account, in Safe mode. Windows won't allow you to name your specific user as Administrator or administrator.

".... my dokuments, pictures etc is gone. I found them again on the hard disk, but they are not in my account."

The Administrator user, Default User, and any other users of the computer besides yourself all start out with having the same subfolders, but the contents of those folders are not the same once the computer has been used some - e.g. it's not your own documents that are listed under My Documents in those.

If your user account is corrupted, when you attempted to log on to the user account you normally use, you would have gotten a message Windows cannot log onto the user account and is loading a default user, or similar. In that case your user account name (other than Administrator) is still there in C:\Documents and Settings, and it still has all of it's subfolders specific to that user. That can be recovered from.

If someone has deleted your user account, there will be nothing for it listed under C:\Documents and Settings, including the user name.
All the things that were there will not show up in the Recycle bin - the locations of where that data was has been flagged as available for any new data. If you use Outlook or Outlook Express, your personal data for that was stored there by default and has been deleted.
If you want to recover any of that data, you must use an un-delete pgram or similar to recover it as soon as you can - the longer you wait, the less data you will be able to recover, because Windows will have over-written the location of where the data waswith new data.

If your specific user name, other than Administrator, is still there under C:\DocumentsandSettings, but it has no subfolders, either your data on the hard drive is damaged, and/or the hard drive is failing.

Try running chkdsk.
Start - Run - type: cmd (click OK or press Enter)
type: chkdsk /f c: (press Enter)
(a space between chkdsk and/f, and /f and c:)
Answer Y (press Enter) when it asks a question.
Close the black cmd mode window, by typing: exit (press Enter), or by clicking on the large X top right in the window.
Reboot the computer.
Let Chkdsk run - don't press any keys after the blue screen messages about chdsk wanting to run appears.

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
http://www.computing.net/windows95/...

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities
http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm...

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibilty, on another computer if you need to.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.


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Related Solutions

#4
August 4, 2009 at 12:55:03
I'd start with a live linux cd or barts cd to view structure of the data that is still there and save off what you really need to start.

As noted above it seems odd that this happened.

#1 problem is you have been running in admin, stop doing that and run as a limited user.

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, Make an autorun.inf folder on all usb drives.


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#5
August 5, 2009 at 23:19:41
Thank you all for valuable information. I will let you know if I succeed.

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#6
August 5, 2009 at 23:33:57
To "Tubesandwires"

You are right that someone else used the computer after I logged off. This person, my 25 year old daughter, tells me that she just used the guest account to browse the internet for 10 minutes. My account is not deleated, but my folders are empty. My folders are found under C/ dokuments and settings/"my user name"/documents(my user name).
Another thing; my wifes account is nor altered.
I have run chkdsk and that didn't show any errors.


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#7
August 6, 2009 at 08:30:26
"...someone else used the computer after I logged off. This person, my 25 year old daughter, tells me that she just used the guest account to browse the internet for 10 minutes."

In that case that should not have affected your personal data. Sometimes people let their young kids use the computer willy-nilly and that can result in un-intended consequences, especially if they're likely to impatiently click on things without thinking..

As I said above.
"If your user account is corrupted, when you attempted to log on to the user account you normally use, you would have gotten a message Windows cannot log onto the user account and is loading a default user, or similar."

Do you get a message like that?

If you had a memory problem asaegis1 has suggested, you would have noticed all sorts of random things don't work properly. If you haven't noticed anything else being out of whack, you probably don't have a memory (ram) problem.

"My account is not deleated, but my folders are empty. My folders are found under C/ dokuments and settings/"my user name"/documents(my user name)."

Depending on how you have your Folders Options set, you should see at least

C:\Documentsand Settings\(your user name)\ My Documents
C:\Documentsand Settings\(your user name)\ Favorites
C:\Documentsand Settings\(your user name)\ Start Menu
C:\Documentsand Settings\(your user name)\ Desktop
C:\Documentsand Settings\(your user name)\ Windows

Are you only seeing
C:\Documentsand Settings\(your user name)\ My Documents?
........

You have the best chances of recovering the max amount of the data that has been deleted if you don't boot Windows and instead use something else to boot the computer with, such as a Linux CD as jefro has suggested.
If you have access to another computer, yours or a friend's , search for and download what is needed to make such a bootable CD and burn one, on another computer, and get yourself some un-delete program while you're at it.

e.g. try www.bootdisk.com, or search for Linux boot disk or similar.

You need to use an un-delete program of some sort to find the data that has been deleted and restore it.

But first, test the hard drive with the drive manufacturer's diagnostics, as I said above.
Doing so won't do any more damage to the data.
If it's failing your problems will get worse, and you may not be able to recover what has already been lost.


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