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Thread: recovering users files

  1. #1
    Elite Hacker
    Join Date
    Mar 2003

    recovering users files

    I have a win XP pro computer, and it had two accounts that nobody ever logged on with. The problem is that I deleted these accounts since nobody used them, but for some reason my brother had been saving his english papers in one of the accounts My Documents folder(i.e. c:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents). I was wondering if when you delete an account, if the data in these folders is backed up anywhere. He has a hard copy of the essays, but it is kindof a pain to retype all of them. Does anyone know if this data gets backed up when you delete an account. I believe it asked if I wanted to delete all the users settings and files when I deleted it and I said yes not knowing that my brother had saved something there. So, is there a way to recover this data?
    Thanks for any replies even if it is just to say that the data is gone.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    I'm not sure if these documents are backed up, but there is a good chance they are. Go to C:\Documents and Settings\ and see if a folder there has the name of your siblings account. If it does, open that folder and see if there is a folder called "my documents" or "usersnames documents." If that's there, then you're home free .

  3. #3
    Elite Hacker
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    I have tried that, and it only has the names of the current accounts. Thanks anyway mafo00, he will probably end up retyping them, for some reason he has to correct all his old essays and turn them in as a portfolio. Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Perhaps file recovery software will lend a helping hand,

  5. #5
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    I just tried PC Inspector File Recovery and it works just fine. It couldn't find files that I've used the PGP wipe option on though... which is a good thing. It found other files that were not of any value that I've "deleted" the regular way.

    It is free too... wants you to install their "download manager"... if you click no on the install, you can still download it.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Memphis, TN
    When you delete a user account, your asked if you would like to save that users documents?

    If you did, then there should be a shortcut on your desktop to his files. the shortcut would be named something like "Users Files".

    If not, then it deleted them. So in that case, I would go with phishpreeks suggestion and use that software.

  7. #7
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    A few (dodgy ) ideas as I haven't got XP Pro running right now.

    1. Try recreating the account with the same permissions and password, and see what you can find....recycle bin etc.

    2. Create a current recovery point, then go back to a recovery point before you deleted the accounts. By rights it should have saved my documents and my pictures, or it wouldn't be much use ? Afterwards return to the recovery point you just created.

    3. Have a look at what is in the windows temporary files and ESPECIALLY what is within the word processing package. You may well find that the WP's autosave has created "temporary" copies of his documents in that. He probably only saves his manual saves to "my documents"

    4. Try recovery software as already suggested.

    Good Luck!

  8. #8
    hey there h3r3tic.. a lot of folks already pointed out some great suggestions..

    I'll add mine.. first see this thread that I posted about encase and some other programs I found searching google...

    I really can't say enough about encase.. it's one of the worlds top forensic tools used by investigators all over.. recovers from lost partitions, formats, etc. Of course you probably don't want to pay big bucks just to help your brother recover files he shouldn't have left on your computer to begin with..

    So I'll suggest something that you could always fall back on.. if all else fails.
    This method isn't foolproof, but if the hardcopy your brother had was typed, you could use your scanner with OCR turned on to grab all the text and make a new document..
    should work ok, just takes time to do it.. heck, make your brother scan all the stuff in..

  9. #9
    do you have a scanner??
    you could simply scan the hard copies - most modern scanners come with software which is able to read printed documents making them editable in word (or the like) again - not just simply save them as img files - have used this a couple of times myself when i have deleted something by mistake but had the hardcopies


  10. #10
    Senior Member Zonewalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    2. Create a current recovery point, then go back to a recovery point before you deleted the accounts. By rights it should have saved my documents and my pictures, or it wouldn't be much use ? Afterwards return to the recovery point you just created.
    just to clarify - recovery points do NOT save user documents etc... they only save system files

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