A most interesting Windows problem (very complicated)

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Rasputin
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A most interesting Windows problem (very complicated)

Postby Rasputin » Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:17 am UTC

So today my computer overheats. No big deal. It's happened before. I reset it, and it's starting up strangely. It asks to run some sort of disk "cleaning", so I'm like wtf okay whatever.

I come to find out that it deleted some components of a few programs. Not a terribly big deal. Interesting thing is my Recycle Bin shows something in it, but I can't see anything. I make sure I can see hidden files, but there's still nothing there. So I go okay whatever Empty Recycle Bin. At this point it asks me if I want to delete WINDOWS. I'm all "oh fuck no" and I stop it from being deleted. I try to restore the item, but it doesn't see anything to restore.

These are most likely the files that were deleted in the cleaning. No idea why it wants to delete all that stuff, or what is going on.

I am asking you all if there's any way to restore these files, and why my Recycle Bin is trying to delete my WINDOWS folder (or at least components it thought was corrupt). I'm pretty sure it's not a virus. The "cleaning" happened before I even got to the Windows login prompt. System restore did not help my situation at all. I have also told my folders to show critical windows components, and that has failed to help.

Interesting, yes?
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EvanED
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Postby EvanED » Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:24 am UTC

What version of Windows?

What does 'dir /AH' tell you if you're in the recycling bin's directory in the command prompt?

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Postby Rasputin » Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:33 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:What version of Windows?

What does 'dir /AH' tell you if you're in the recycling bin's directory in the command prompt?


Windows XP Pro (version 5.1.2600, service pack 2, yadda yadda)

my main drive is E:

After typing "dir"

Code: Select all

 Directory of E:\RECYCLER\LotsOfNumbersLettersAndDashes

09/20/2007   11:22 PM    <DIR>             De17
                0 File(s)                 0 bytes
                1 Dir(s)       (big number) bytes free

After typing "dir /AH"

Code: Select all

 Same directory as before

09/21/2007   11:01 AM    <DIR>            .
09/21/2007   11:01 AM    <DIR>            ..
09/07/2007   09:54 PM                     65  desktop.ini
09/21/2007   11:07 AM                  7,220  INFO2
                2 File(s)                    0 bytes
                2 Dir(s)          (big number) bytes free


Also, if I just type "dir /A", everything shows up (total: 2 files, 3 Directories).

De17 (not the file name, just a deletion holding place) was created at the exact time my computer did the "cleanup", so this has to be the folder. I did a test deletion with another file, and it showed up in this folder as De25, so this is definitely the right folder. De17 is a directory, and De25 was a file with a 5kb size.

What's interesting is De17, the directory that should have what was deleted, is completely and utterly empty. It contains 0 bytes. I tried recovering E:\WINDOWS (E:\>recover E: E:\WINDOWS), but it says "invalid parameter - E:\WINDOWS". (remember - WINDOWS was the folder my Recycling Bin wanted to be confirmed to be deleted.)

While continuing my internet search, I found http://support.microsoft.com/kb/136517
If I use their methods, it will probably delete that folder I can't access, and I'd much rather find out how to restore it.

I also tried deleting a file and then erasing it from the computer, and it still says there's something in the Recycling Bin. I also tried deleting a file, hitting Select All, and restoring, but no such luck there, either.

Maybe there's a log that has which files my computer deleted, and I could copy the filepaths of all those files and restore them using my command prompt?
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Postby Earlz » Sun Sep 23, 2007 3:02 am UTC

offtopic, but there was a guy that came by one day to one of the schools old ME computers, and just went to command and typed deltree C: -r (I think it had -r) and then got another guy to come up and "play poker" with y being get a card, adn n being not get one....

yea...it was random...and broke the computer..
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Postby pxc » Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:56 pm UTC

Is the cleaning just the regular "Windows is checking your drives to make sure they're healthy" or whatever? Just regular chkdisk or scandisk or whatever the hell Microsoft calls their Wintastic little fsck clone these days?

I wouldn't worry too much about it. Stuff that's in the recycle bin and gets removed when you empty it isn't in in the real Windows directory anyway, and if it's being used it won't be removed anyway.

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b.i.o
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Postby b.i.o » Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:10 pm UTC

I'm not sure what the problem is, but if it's an important system file in the recycle bin, you might have to uncheck "hide protected operating system files"--it's a few options down from show/hide hidden files (which probably also needs to be showing hidden files).

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Postby Kaelri » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:09 pm UTC

On the off-chance that I'm pointing out the obvious thing that will make life a lot simpler: are you certain that it's trying to delete your "E:\Windows" folder, or could it be some other folder that happens to be called "Windows?"

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Postby EvanED » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:14 pm UTC

You could copy windows/ to another directory, empty the recycling bin, and see what happens. ;-)

(Heck, there might be a way to rig something up with hard links so it doesn't really even use up any space. I'm not sure if this would work or how to do it though.)

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Postby Rasputin » Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:44 pm UTC

pxc -
It was the first time my computer's ever done this, so I'm pretty sure it's not just a regular "make sure everything's okay" thing.

Silver2Falcon -
I've done all I can to see any hidden files, including what you've said.

Kaelri -
I do have several "windows" folders, so it might be one of those.



Well, I just checked my Recycling Bin, and it still showed nothing. I hit "empty the recycling bin" and WINDOWS didn't even show up. Instead, my test deletion (which was for some reason now invisible) was there, so I just emptied the damned thing.

The "cleanup" did not really kill any vital programs, but it has deleted several known files that go along with programs at startup. I can just reinstall those, but at the same time I don't know what ELSE it might have gotten rid of. We'll just see how it goes. I always have my laptop for emergency backup.

Thanks for all the help provided.
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Re: A most interesting Windows problem (very complicated)

Postby oneofthedragon » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:55 pm UTC

Don't worry, you didn't actually delete windows or any folder named windows. It is a glitch that occurs when you try to delete a file in use. All you have to do is create any type of file, drop it into your recycle bin, then go and manually delete the file (not by emptying the recycle bin). You seem to have figured it out for yourself, so this is really not needed... but if it happens again you can use this.
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Re: A most interesting Windows problem (very complicated)

Postby evilbeanfiend » Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:52 pm UTC

just an added tip: you can shift-delete files to delete them without sending them to the recycling bin first, use with caution!
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Re: A most interesting Windows problem (very complicated)

Postby e946 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:34 pm UTC

Furthermore, wouldn't it have just replaced any files that were removed?

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Re: A most interesting Windows problem (very complicated)

Postby eskarel » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:42 am UTC

If your computer is overheating on a regular basis, you could have had a hardware failure of some sort(it's possible that the HD cleaning program could have resulted from a SMART failure on one of your drives, I've not seen it, but it's possible). Fix the overheating problem and run some hardware diagnostics.


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