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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting Hard Disk Drives | File System Problems ]

I have files or directories disappearing from my hard disk volume

Explanation: One or more files or directories seem to have "disappeared" from a disk volume. You were using them or referenced them recently, but now they are nowhere to be found.

Diagnosis: Files that seem to be lost on a hard disk are more often simply "misplaced" than actually lost. By this I mean that the files have been moved by the user, or the wrong file name or directory name is being used, so the file is still there but seems to be gone. Rarely, a disk corruption problem or virus can really make a file disappear.

Recommendation:

  • Make sure that you are really referring to the file by its correct name. I'm sorry if this sounds insulting to your intelligence, but a large percentage of problems I run into with files that seem to disappear turn out to simply be that the wrong drive letter was being used, or someone moved the file to another directory and forgot about it. You can use the "Find Files or Folders" utility built into Windows 95 to search for files by file name.
  • If the file is on a removable media source, such as a floppy disk or Zip disk, make sure that the disk is still in the drive.
  • Scan the system for viruses. Some viruses play tricks with the directory structure or delete files when they are activated.
  • Scan the hard disk for file system corruption. File system problems can cause files to either be lost or to appear to be lost.

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