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My Files Have Disappeared

Recently I have had a situation where customers are calling to tell me that they have files that seem to have disappeared. After going through the usual questions, like are you sure you didn’t delete them, or maybe someone else deleted them? I will usually ask if there had been a virus discovered on the machine also. Once I realize that is really is a case of “disappearing” files now I am intrigued. With the last case I ended up coming remotely into the computer and taking a look around myself. I would right click on the drive and it would tell me it had 100gigs of data yet when I select all the files and go to the properties it is only 70 gigs of data. This was a strange problem to me and something I had not seen before. So here is what I did.

Open Windows Explorer which can be done by right clicking on My Computer and clicking on Explore.

windows explorer

Now selected the drive that the files are missing from and go up to Tools and then Folder Options.

tool folder options

A new window called Folder Options will appear. From here click on the VIEW tab. We need to change two settings in here so that we are sure that we are seeing all the files on the drive. The first option to look for is “Hidden Files and Folders” under here is 2 options one to NOT show them and one to show them make sure you are showing them. The next option (2 under the hidden files one) is “Hide Protected Operating System Files” make sure you UNCHECK this.

file options

Now Click “APPLY TO ALL FOLDERS” and then OK when that is done. Now in the case of my customers what I discovered then was Found001.chk, this meant that chkdsk had been run on the drive and more then likely not to completion. When I right clicked on that directory and went to properties that directory has 30 gigs in it. AH-HA the disappearing data. When I opened the Found001 directory there was sub directories call dir0001, dir0002, etc.. Inside each of these directories was the customers data that had been missing. The customer did not even know chkdsk had run which I find is often the case if the machine reboots when no one is around.

In some cases file are lost due to mechanical problems with the disk. If yours is making noises then it will likely need hard drive recovery. If the hard drive is fine and seen by the BIOS or Windows, we can do remote recovery. Our fast data recovery service Recover It Now starts at under a hundred bucks.


33 Responses to “My Files Have Disappeared”

  1. Linda Abbott November 14, 2009 12:47 am #

    I downloaded the MFT Save and it says it downloaded it to your server in Florda. I’m very blonde. How do I get it out of your server and into my computer?? Sorry to be so dense. I couldn’t find the answer anywhere on your site. Thank you.

  2. vinay August 17, 2010 11:45 am #

    hey……..this is great man……..
    my memory card was corrupted n i was unable to c all its contents. its ws showing not single folder wheather it ws showing dat its memory status.
    i solved dis prob by using ur trick
    it works……
    thanx a lot………….

    • Jacqui Best August 20, 2010 11:57 am #


      I am glad we were able to help!

  3. Alli November 2, 2010 11:50 am #

    Oh my goodness, you are a lifesaver! All my documents, pictures, and music had seemingly disappeared from my computer, but I was able to find them all using your method. Thank you so, so, so much!

    • Jacqui Best November 5, 2010 1:09 pm #

      You are so welcome!
      Glad you got your data back!

  4. Dale March 23, 2011 2:58 pm #

    you are brilliant… thought id lost years of music and photos…. but thanks to you, i have them back. Thank you so so much

  5. steve a April 1, 2011 3:49 am #

    i have the same prob with windows 7 but everything has dissapeard my doucumets even my hard drives from my computer bit but searched for some files and there still there but the folders hav gone and when i click open location it says folder empty ?

    • Jacqui Best April 27, 2011 4:00 pm #

      Steve A,

      This sounds more like a virus then the problem discussed in this blog. I would recommend booting in SAFE MODE and seeing if you see your data then.

    • Rev'd dennis March 15, 2013 9:06 pm #

      I had a phone call to say (you have a problem with your computer) it was a recorded voice, I turned my computer and all my word art files had gone just blank..

      • Jacqui Best November 11, 2013 10:53 am #

        My guess would be someone you know. To my knowledge there is no virus that calls you before they delete files.


  6. Charlotte April 21, 2011 8:54 am #


  7. Susan May 14, 2011 12:49 am #

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Lina July 2, 2011 9:08 pm #

    Thank you, thank you very much just saved all my files.

  9. Debbie October 18, 2011 10:30 pm #

    OMG!!! Thanks! I did what you said and all my documents and files are back!! I just need to know how to make all my files “not hidden”, because they look transparent as when they are hidden files.

  10. Amine October 22, 2011 6:58 pm #

    Hey all it’s so good method but it didn’t work with me, i had to work with a project on photoshop more than 20 days and no everything lost i don’t know what to do i tired everything with data recovery and all method are used but no chance to get what i lost…

    plmease if someone know any way to help me i’ll be very happy

  11. Paxo November 26, 2011 1:51 am #

    Hi, I have lost some files and followed your instructions with changing the Folder Options but I can’t find anything that says Found001.chk. Can you please explain what this is and how you find that directory?

    • Jacqui Best February 13, 2012 10:52 am #


      You may not see a Found001.chk. Are you getting a different report when you select all files on the drive vs. just going to drive properties as to the size of the data on the drive.

  12. rob December 7, 2011 8:11 pm #

    thank you soooooo much 🙂

  13. Carrie January 27, 2012 9:18 pm #

    You ROCK – I second all the previous comments…I’ve been extremely worried for days that I’d lost everything, and it was all still there, simply hiding on my computer the entire time. Thank you!!

  14. Ranga March 3, 2012 4:21 am #

    I have an external hard drive that contains movies. I was surprised to check my my series folder only to find that the files had dissapeared. I didn’t delete anything I have tried several data recovery tools and have had no luck. The folder structures are intact but no data.

    What can I do to recover these files. I used treesize to check when these files where last accessed. they all show the 27th of Feb 2012. Is there a chance of getting them back.

    Regards Ranga

    • Jacqui Best March 16, 2012 1:55 pm #


      How are you checking the hard drive? Through a 3rd party piece of software or Windows explorer?

  15. Marylin April 29, 2012 11:02 pm #


    This seems to be a very good trick. However im nt sure if mine is a newer version just simply cos “my computer” is simply listed as ‘computer’? but in any case, even if i were to right click on it, i dont see the explore button… what shud i do please? thank u!! God bless!!!

  16. Anonymous December 14, 2012 2:30 pm #

    thnx alot yu really are the best!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Matti May 10, 2013 8:23 pm #

    It worked for me too.
    Thanks man.
    – The folders look faded than normal thought- what do i do about that?

  18. Matti May 10, 2013 8:25 pm #

    It worked for me too.
    Thanks man.
    – The folders look faded than normal though- what do i do about that?

  19. Jim June 8, 2013 10:45 am #

    Please explain where exactly did you find this “Found001” directory. Did you use the search tool? And if yes, did you use as keyword the name of the missing files?

  20. Isis Rosenholm September 24, 2013 9:08 am #

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.|

  21. thnx November 30, 2015 5:51 pm #

    thnx this worked

  22. Abdul February 3, 2016 6:13 am #

    I have tried this trick, but it show in my pc only, when i connect to another pc there will be no files shown.

    • secureadmin February 9, 2016 1:08 pm #

      This sounds like a permissions issue, make sure you do not have the files encrypted to your computer.


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