Empty folders on 3 computers and 5 USB devices

Discussion in 'Windows 8 Hardware' started by gwatts1, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. gwatts1

    gwatts1 New Member

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    Hi:

    In recent months using Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 laptops and 5 USB devices (3 are WD and 2 are Seagate) many, but not all of my folders are empty, meaning their subfolders are empty with all files missing. While I’m not absolutely certain, I think the empty phenomenon begins with the base folder on the partition of the hard drive and not beginning downstream in a subfolder. An old Vista laptop also finds empty folders on the USB hard drives..

    Over the years going back into the late 1990s I’ve backed up to various USB devices and some of these folders may have gone through my next computer every year or 2 and are now on the USB devices. More recently, I have noted empty folders on the secondary internal hard drives on both the Windows 7 and Windows 8 laptop.

    Probably all folders (many of you which contain folders within folders within folders within folders etc.) are present but many are completely empty. This includes some recent files from my current computers. I have no reason to believe that there are partially empty folders, it appears to be an all or non-phenomenon.

    This occurs despite re-installing increasingly older Windows 7 C:\ images as well as after a recent complete DVD Windows 7 installation performed, hoping this would correct my problem. Also the Windows 8.1 computer has unsuccessfully had increasingly earlier multiple True Image C:\ restores and at least 2 probably 3 fresh installations of Windows 8.1 At least one of the properties dialogs indicates 52 GB of data in a folder yet all sub-folders are empty.

    Recuva freeware did not help. Nothing is hidden in folders. Everything is displayed. Windows 7 is protected by the paid Malwarebytes and multiple scans. Windows 8 is protected by multiple scans using the freeware Malwarebytes.


    I will greatly appreciate advice.
     
  2. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    You have implied two questions;

    1. What causes the data to be lost?

    1a. usb drives are not designed for long term storage… if the usb port drops out because of power glitch (or you just unplugged it) while the files are being viewed in explorer then those files can|will become corrupt or lost.

    2. Can the files be re-stored?

    2a. Depending on the type of file they are… sometimes you can recover them but the likelihood drops dramatically with time.

    p.s. Ubuntu has the power to read part of a file... unlike windows that needs to read the entire file before it can be displayed. If the files are worth restoring then Ubuntu is the best bet at this point but it sounds too me like you have passed that point.
     
    #2 ussnorway, Nov 21, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  3. gwatts1

    gwatts1 New Member

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    Thank you. I very much appreciate your response. I’m more interested in preventing this phenomenon than in recovering what is missing.

    While there may have been power glitches I am certain shutdown was always performed appropriately and I’ve always been very careful about safely removing the external drives. Since 5 drives are affected power and shutdown problems seen very unlikely.

    The fact this the phenomenon involves 5 external devices including a brand-new Seagate USB external drive and also involves the internal drive up at least one of my Windows laptops suggests that the problem lies within the Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers. Multiple scans do not reveal a virus. Windows 7 computer has always had Malwarebytes using paid protection with frequent scans while the Windows 8 computer has had frequent scans with Malwarebytes and Windows defender.

    On one occasion I added (by renaming) the size of a folder (i.e. 250 GB) to its name and sometime later (weeks perhaps) the size was down to something like 80 GB. I think, but I’m not certain this was on the internal drive one of the computers.

    I did hook up to Ubuntu with one of the drives and empty folders were present there. I did not attempt any recovery in Ubuntu.

    What would be a better backup medium than the USB hard drive? Would you advise more antiviral endeavors?
     
  4. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    I'm talking about power to the usb port... not the fact that a drive has power from the socket.
    USB ports = temp... by design they should be un-plugged and removed when not needed. a usb on a nas box or router is for full time use... hdd and printers can be put into these for network without the same issues that plague computer | laptop usb ports.

    If Ubuntu can't see anything in the folder then the files are no longer there.

    A nas box is for full time storage i.e. something you have on all the time... usb backup is cheap but still ok if you then turn it off once the backup has finished.

    Avast (free) for windows 7 machines and you can also run it on the 8 or just have the Windows defender... it comes down to what you use the systems for. On a 8 machine that stays on the internet (without a firewall) I would go Avast over WD but if the machine only goes to the net passed a firewall or just isn't on much then WD is fine.
     
    #4 ussnorway, Nov 22, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014

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