Hidden file problem

#1
Anything I download or move to my laptop "disappears" after the action is complete. For example, I will download a PDF file using Firefox...watch it download onto my Desktop and simply vanish after the download completes. The "Open" and "Open Containing Folder" are grayed out also in the Downloads popup in Firefox. I've checked the basics in the Folder Options / View Tab within Control Panel. Any ideas?
 


patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
#2
Are you sure it's going to your desktop? Sounds like you've got your download location in Firefox set to some part of your system drive which is protected. Have a look in Firefox, Tools, Options, click on the "General" switch, look in the Downloads section and see where you have set to save your files to. It needs to be somewhere in your user part of the system drive or some other drive altogether.
 


Last edited:

RAK

Extraordinary Member
#3
The later releases of Firefox, download by default to a folder it creates in Windows, named "Downloads". Have you had a look there?
 


#4
Download location

Thank you, but yes...I changed my download location to "Desktop" so I could watch what was happening to the file. I literally can see the file appear on my desktop while the download bar "moves", but as soon as the download is complete, the file disappears from the Desktop. I have had problems with hidden files in the past...something changed my registry a month or so ago, but that problem should have been fixed at that time. Also, this happens when I drag a file from a USB drive onto my Desktop also.
 


RAK

Extraordinary Member
#5
I googled and found a reference to what may be the problem. It is necessary to disable the auto scan in Firefox. Maybe it is worth a try?

Type in "about:config" in the address bar. It pops up with a warning message.Click the"I promise to be safe...etc".
Scroll down to "browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone" , double click it and it should then say false and also all the text should go bold. Close and restart Firefox.
 


Saltgrass

Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
#6
What always do when I cannot find a file is open Windows Explorer. Highlight the primary partition, or the entire computer and start a search from the search box. By typing *.pdf in the box, you should be able to see all the pdf files on your system.

There is another set of folders inside a Virtualization folder, but if they were involved, I do not know why the files would not be put where you thought they were.
 


patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
#7
You can find the Virtual storage (which windows uses if it doesn't want you to use a particular area) in:

C:/Users/XXX/AppData/Local/VirtualStore

Have a look in there.
 


Saltgrass

Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
#8
Patcooke, that was not the virtual folder I was referring to, but maybe you have a point.

I was looking at:

C:\Users\YourUser\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Virtualized\C\Users
 


#9
Thanks, but not yet

I've tried those...no luck. Ok, found a little more info while "googling" and it seems that it may have been caused by a virus that this laptop had a while ago. The system is clean now, but some of the settings may still be messed up. The files are being hidden, but I can't find out how to "unhide" files on the Desktop. I did download some PDF and PPT files using a download manager into a different directory and they stayed visible. Not sure if that makes things clearer or more confusing. Thanks for the help
 


#10
I've tried those...no luck. Ok, found a little more info while "googling" and it seems that it may have been caused by a virus that this laptop had a while ago. The system is clean now, but some of the settings may still be messed up. The files are being hidden, but I can't find out how to "unhide" files on the Desktop. I did download some PDF and PPT files using a download manager into a different directory and they stayed visible. Not sure if that makes things clearer or more confusing. Thanks for the help
I hate to say this but a computer that has been infected by a virus no matter how thoroughly it has been disinfected can never truly be trusted. The best and most
sure way to remove a virus is to format and reinstall Win 7.

As you have seen there seems to be residual effects from your recent virus infection.
Ask yourself this, how do you know if the virus is truly gone?

I know it's painful but do yourself a favor and backup your data and format and reinstall Win 7.

You can reduce the pain somewhat by planning ahead.

When I'm faced with a re-install I take screenshots of my desktop so that I can more easily recreate my layout, I also take a screenshot of my C:\Program Files folder contents so that I know the programs and apps I have installed.
I then gather together any app installers I need as well as any drivers I might need.
Actually I have these files etc. saved in a folder on an external drive from my initial
install for just such an occasion.

Once you get your new install setup the way you want it do a defrag and check for malware using your A\V program. This is to make sure you have a clean system before the final step.

That step is to create an image of your new system to be used in case you have irreparable issues in the future.

There are paid programs out there like Acronis but I find that the free open source
Clonezilla Live does a great job especially since it's 100% free.

Clonezilla is a Live CD that you boot to create a bit by bit image of your entire
image.
You can save the image to a suitably sized USB flash drive or external HDD or even another partition on you system drive if you have one.

I case of disaster run Clonezilla in restore mode and restore the saved image to return your computer to the state is was in at the time you created the image.

Clonezilla can create an image of a partition or an entire drive.

It only copies the used parts of a partition or drive and by default uses a moderate compression scheme to further reduce the final size of the image.

Example: my Win 7 install is on a 22 GB partition and uses 10 GB of that's partition space.
Using the default compression scheme the resulting image is around 5.5 GB, easily fitting
on a 16 GB thumb drive.

Creating the image takes about 20 minutes and the restore takes about 6 minutes.

D\L the Clonezilla Live.iso from here and burn to CD to create the Live CD.

Clonezilla

There is info on the website on using Clonezilla Live.

I use it often to backup my system. It has saved my butt on several occasions.

I can help with using Clonezilla if you need it, PM me.
 


Saltgrass

Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
#11
The prior suggestion may end up being the best, but until you decide, do you know what virus you had and if there was a manual procedure to remove it? What did you do to remove it?

If you move a .pdf file to your desktop, does it disappear?

Have you tried opening another user account and downloading in the same manner?

I am assuming the full computer search for the files did not find them?
 


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