Why does all content in my Windows user profile vanish?

Bruce March 1, 2010

Twice in the last month, when I go to open my portion of the PC (where it says my name, other names and Guest) it takes a longer time than usual to open, only to find out that my section is totally wiped out, everything. The other section, my wife’s, appears to be fine. I’ve run Norton and it shows no virus. Help. And thanks.

  1. Anonymous
    March 3, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    This is very strange. What is the carol1 folder? If you search the computer for a file that was on the desktop what profile is it under? Can you send me a screen shot of your documents and settings folder? Did you used to click on Bruce on the login screen or Owner? If you hit control alt delete and then type your username and password is it the same?

    You might want to create a new user account using the windows account control panel. Then copy your entire profile over the new accounts profile by copying and pasting.

  2. Bruce Hamon
    March 2, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Hi Tina - when this happened the first time I was gun-shy to put much of anything on the desktop for fear of a repeat performance, which it did (there were no big files on the desktop). Until and unless I can find a defined reason, or at least a good strong guess, I'm concerned about putting anything there again. Maybe instead of drag-and-drop, I'll try copying them over so that I've a backup in the same folder. If it blitzes again I can repeat again, but it seems a lousy "way to run a railroad". Thanks for your insights.

  3. Tina
    March 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm


    can you please specify which Windows version you are using?

    Does your user have administrator rights? Does your wife's logon have admin rights? Are these profiles password protected?

    Based on your description I assume that your profile still exists. What exactly do you mean with "your section is totally wiped out". Which folders are empty or missing?

    Are you seeing any error messages?

    • Bruce Hamon
      March 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm

      I have XP, Home version. Her side has admin rights, no password. Mine has does. admin rights, password protected. If I go to Users, my information still exists. What I mean by "section wiped out" is that after I enter my password, usually it says "personal preferences being loaded" and it usually opens "my" page all setup with the settings I established plus all my folders, photos, etc. ALL of that is gone and the background is that initial page you get when you first install the software, kind of a pastoral green field with a few icons on it. I've not encountered any error messages. Does that help?

      • Tina
        March 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm

        What you call "my page" is the desktop I guess. So your wallpaper (background) is replaced with the original image and the icons you had on your desktop (your page) are gone.

        Please check whether the files and shortcuts you had on your desktop are still there. Go to C:Documents and Settingsyour profile nameDesktop and see what is in that folder. Also note which users appear under Documents and Settings.

        Please report back whether or not your files and shortcuts are still in the Desktop folder.

        How did you previously solve the issue? What happened when you rebooted?

        You say it has happened twice during the last month. Could anything have triggered the issue, for example did you save large files on your desktop?

        • Bruce Hamon
          March 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm

          When I looked in the C:Documents and Settingsmy profile nameDesktop I found the following users, All User, Default User, Owner, Carol, Guest, Owner.CAROL1. My files and shortcuts are in the Desktop folder. I didn't previously solve the issue, except to replace the background in the desktop with the one I like. I didn't know about the Desktop folder with all the things in it. Do I simply drag them from that folder and drop them on the desktop? Nothing changed when I rebooted. I don't know of anything that would have triggered this happening, but then again I didn't know a large file could cause that; why is that? Anything else I should look for?
          I concerned that I go to the trouble of resetting up my Desktop only to have it happen again. I'd really like to solve the problem.
          Thanks for your input; would appreciate any other thoughts or suggestions you might have.

        • Tina
          March 2, 2010 at 9:57 pm

          Bruce, you're the administrator of the computer and this "owner" account appears as "Bruce" on your Windows logon screen. Also, creating a folder under > documents and settings will not create a new user account. For that you have to go to the > control panel > user accounts.

          To be honest, I don't know what caused your desktop to reset. Maybe someone else can provide you with more insight.

          In any case, I do not recommend you to simply drag your stuff back onto your desktop. Shortcuts are ok, but files should not be stored on your desktop. Store your files in "My Documents" or on another hard drive partition if you have one, and only put shortcuts to folders or files onto your desktop.

          I've had a case where the computer wouldn't load anything after the login screen because the desktop was full with large files. I could, however, log in in safe mode, clear the desktop, and that solved the issue. I'm guessing that you're having a similar issue. But I don't know.

          See whether the problem persists if you don't store files on your desktop.

        • Bruce Hamon
          March 2, 2010 at 5:40 pm

          One additional note - I just realized there was no folder named "Bruce" under Documents and Settings, and yet there is that folder choice when I first turn on the computer. The folder that had all my icons and shortcuts was in the Desktop folder within the Owner folder. Do I create a "Bruce" folder within Docs and Settings and then transfer all the icons and shortcuts from the Owner folder to it?

        • Hazwan_bakri
          June 9, 2011 at 1:55 am

          hi Tina,

          How can i get my profile back?my problem just like what u sayin.. just wanna know how to restore it..

        • Tina
          June 9, 2011 at 3:56 am

          I recommend that you ask a new question providing detailed information of what your problem is.

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