Question Laptop suddenly auto-deletes everything on Desktop and, programs not found

Nov 15, 2019
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Hi,
I am using a 5 year old Lenovo (Ideapad S1500p) laptop with original windows 8.1 (64 bit) with 4 GB ram and 500 GB HDD
I am presented with a peculiar sort of problem in my laptop, whose solution I am unable to find. this has happened twice in the last 3-3.5 months. I am working in my laptop, say either surfing the web, watching a movie; nothing demanding or memory-intensive. Suddenly, I find the desktop wallpaper is missing, i.e., desktop screen is full black. The only icons present on the desktop is My PC, Network, Recycle Bin. Everything else that was present on the desktop or in the Documents folder have just vanished. By vanished I mean literally deleted. I checked that the size of the C- drive has increased by approximately whatever size the deleted items were consuming. The other drives are not affected.
Additionally most of the installed programs on C-drive do not work. I try to open Google Chrome from taskbar, and it shows program not found. Same with other programs. However when I play a video in any other drive, they play normally. All the programs in my START screen are gone. Only desktop is present.
I have searched the web for similar problems but haven't found any which replicates my condition. people have suggested signing in with a different user account with admin privileges but that only takes by laptop back to the state when it was brand new, with the default programs installed. It doesn't bring the lost programs or files back. Restarting the PC doesn't help.
The only thing that I could do was do a full system restore to a previous point. That does restore the affected programs to their full functionalities but the deleted files are not recovered. This happened for the first time about 3 months back. the first time I was just surfing web and googling stuff, when it happened. It happened again today, when I was watching a movie, and I only noticed after the movie was over.

Could anyone help me to find what is causing this or what could be done to prevent such occurrence in the future?
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Have you run any AV or malware scans?

How full is the hard drive? Has the drive ever been cleaned and defragmented?

What make and model HDD? Run the manufacturer's diagnostic tools for the drive.

Look in Event Viewer for error codes and warnings that correspond with deletions.

Overall, with the Lenovo being 5 years old it could be starting to fail in some manner.

The PSU may no longer be up to supporting the laptop's installed components. A new CMOS battery may be needed to help the laptop remember its' configuration settings.

Remember anything you do (or do not do even) may cause further data loss. Be sure to backup and verify that the backups are both recoverable and readable.
 
Nov 15, 2019
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I had run a full security scan on Windows Defender as well as Malwarebytes scan, but nothing cropped up.
To provide more details about the hard disk:
It was originally fragmented into C, D, E and F drives.
C : 28 GB free space is available out of 104 GB
D: Around 5.5 GB out of 24 GB
E: 8 GB out o 160 GB
F: 11 GB out of 160 GB

So , yeah you could say that my HDD is pretty full, though I usually try to keep at least 20 GB free space in the C drive where windows is installed.

About the hard drive being cleaned or defragmented, I ran Disk Cleanup few times before, and occasionally run CCleaner. That's about it. I have not formatted any drive any time.

One thing I had forgotten to mention before is that my laptop battery is DEAD,actually has been dead for more than 2 years, and the laptop basically runs on the external power supply. So, the moment the power plug is switched off the laptop too turns off instantly.

Another thing, which may/may not be of relevance here is that I turn off the laptop in the morning before going to work. After returning home late, I power it on and work on it. I put it in sleep mode throughout the night, use it for an hour in the morning and then again power it down. This is more or less the everyday routine. So, could this regular power off and on routine be corrupting the drive?

I will run the drive diagnostic tools and see what turns up.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
When you power down do you use Windows to shutdown or just physically turn off the laptop's power?

You should be using Windows shutdown to allow the laptop to finish up its' "housekeeping" chores before physically turning off the power.

Sudden power losses will cause corruption as Windows will not, for example, be able to move all necessary data etc. from RAM to disk. Or properly finish up any ongoing system or disk activities.
 
Nov 15, 2019
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I do shutdown from the computer and not physically. I mentioned it cause in case of a sudden power cut, the forced shutdown is unavoidable.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Shutdowns:

Proper shutdowns from the computer - okay. And I do recognize that power cuts are indeed unavoidable, forced shutdowns.

Loss of power more likely to occur in some places than others.

Drives:

Your physical drive is partitioned into four drives - C, D, E, and F.

My rule of thumb is to maintain 20-25% of any given drive to be free space.

Your C: and D: within that range. E: and F: are pushing the limit some but that is all subjective on my part.

What make and model is the 500 GB HDD? The manufacturer's diagnostic software should provide an overall assessment of the drive's health. Again remember to do backups before running any diagnostic software.

Windows 8.1:

Another thing that may be impacting the laptop is Windows 8.1.

Mainstream support ended almost 2 years ago. Although there will be extended support for about 3 more years that does not mean that updates to applicable installed software and drivers will likewise be maintained. Bugs and conflicts are likely being ignored and only addressed if there are widespread problems.

Cumulatively, the number of issues are likely to increase over time. Coupled with the age of the laptop the problems are likely to continue to increase even more so.

If at all possible start thinking ahead with regards to new hardware and updating to Windows 10.
 
Nov 15, 2019
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The hard disk details are:
Manufacturer : Standard disk drives
Model : ST500LT012-1DG142
Bytes/Sector: 512
Media Loaded : Yes
Media Type: Fixed hard disk
Partitions : 8

I have checked the Event Viewer logs around the time the problem occurred. I see several messages though don't know what they mean. I am listing them below. The malfunction occurred somewhere in between these events. Timings are in chronological order, with (1) being the earliest and (10) being the latest in the series.

(1)
Log Name: System
Source: Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-General
Date: 15-11-2019 03:18:23
Event ID: 1
Task Category: None
Level: Information
Keywords: Time
User: N/A
Computer: Lenovo-PC
Description:
The system time has changed to ‎2019‎-‎11‎-‎14T21:48:23.500000000Z from ‎2019‎-‎11‎-‎14T18:02:03.048302800Z.

Change Reason: System time synchronized with the hardware clock.

(2)
Log Name: System
Source: BtFilter
Date: 15-11-2019 03:18:23
Event ID: 26
Task Category: None
Level: Warning
Keywords: Classic
User: N/A
Computer: Lenovo-PC
Description:
The driver has detected that device \Device\ATHAMPFL has old or out-of-date firmware. Reduced performance may result.

(3)
Log Name: System
Source: BTHUSB
Date: 15-11-2019 03:18:23
Event ID: 18
Task Category: None
Level: Information
Keywords: Classic
User: N/A
Computer: Lenovo-PC
Description:
Windows cannot store Bluetooth authentication codes (link keys) on the local adapter. Bluetooth keyboards might not work in the system BIOS during startup.

(4)
Log Name: System
Source: BROWSER
Date: 15-11-2019 03:18:26
Event ID: 8033
Task Category: None
Level: Information
Keywords: Classic
User: N/A
Computer: Lenovo-PC
Description:
The browser has forced an election on network \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_{A040F313-C2F9-4D1B-B015-F3BB5DB262FF} because a master browser was stopped.

(5)
Log Name: System
Source: Microsoft-Windows-Power-Troubleshooter
Date: 15-11-2019 03:18:34
Event ID: 1
Task Category: None
Level: Information
Keywords:
User: LOCAL SERVICE
Computer: Lenovo-PC
Description:
The system has returned from a low power state.

Sleep Time: ‎2019‎-‎11‎-‎14T18:01:54.723579000Z
Wake Time: ‎2019‎-‎11‎-‎14T21:48:27.471631200Z

Wake Source: Power Button

(6)
Log Name: System
Source: Microsoft-Windows-DistributedCOM
Date: 15-11-2019 03:19:01
Event ID: 10010
Task Category: None
Level: Error
Keywords: Classic
User: Lenovo-PC\Sayantan Laha
Computer: Lenovo-PC
Description:
The server {BF6C1E47-86EC-4194-9CE5-13C15DCB2001} did not register with DCOM within the required timeout.

(7)
Log Name: System
Source: Microsoft-Windows-DistributedCOM
Date: 15-11-2019 03:19:31
Event ID: 10010
Task Category: None
Level: Error
Keywords: Classic
User: Lenovo-PC\Sayantan Laha
Computer: Lenovo-PC
Description:
The server {1B1F472E-3221-4826-97DB-2C2324D389AE} did not register with DCOM within the required timeout.

(8)
Log Name: System
Source: Microsoft-Windows-UserModePowerService
Date: 15-11-2019 04:36:14
Event ID: 12
Task Category: (10)
Level: Information
Keywords:
User: SYSTEM
Computer: Lenovo-PC
Description:
Process C:\Windows\System32\svchost.exe (process ID:3492) reset policy scheme from {a1841308-3541-4fab-bc81-f71556f20b4a} to {a1841308-3541-4fab-bc81-f71556f20b4a}

(9)
Log Name: System
Source: Virtual Disk Service
Date: 15-11-2019 04:39:45
Event ID: 3
Task Category: None
Level: Information
Keywords: Classic
User: N/A
Computer: Lenovo-PC
Description:
Service started.

(10)
Log Name: System
Source: Microsoft-Windows-Ntfs
Date: 15-11-2019 04:41:14
Event ID: 98
Task Category: None
Level: Information
Keywords: (2)
User: SYSTEM
Computer: Lenovo-PC
Description:
Volume Windows8_OS (\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy4) is healthy. No action is needed.
 

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