Let me start by saying I am pretty GREEN when it comes to all this so bare with me, I will try and explain as clearly as I can.
Dell was going to pick up my computer and mail it back to me after a diagnostic & repair on an unrelated battery issue. I wasn't sure what all they were going to do because they felt it was not a problem with the actual battery so I went to back up my files onto a portable hard drive just in case. This was the morning of the 5th. I opened my folders up and realized all but a handful of my files were gone. Photos, videos, pdfs, txt, and audio (music). On the 3rd they updated BIOS but I didn't notice anything till the morning of the 5th and I am not sure why that would effect it. An error message popped up on the screen but only for a split second, something about "indexed locations". I started searching online to try and figure out what happened and it led me to believe it was an issue with the search index but may be a corrupted hard drive? I cannot find anything I recognize as relevant in event logs and over the last few days some folders and files have reappeared but most is still missing. This is what I have tried...
~ refreshed the folders.
~ Rebuilt the search index
~ Run recuva. This got me over 1 million files and much of that is from software (Adobe photoshop, premere elements, kids games...). It does show many of the missing files but has been a mess to go through and many are damaged or the file name and photo do not match. It could not find most of the paths or restore any.
~ Ran a full antivirus and malware check
~ restored the system back to the 3rd
I have tried searching using advanced, I tried creating a document and seeing if the missing folders would show up when I went to save. I made a folder of the exact name a missing one had and tried to move it to that location thinking if it was there and just not visible there would be a conflict but there wasn't.
It is now the 12th and I have literally been trying to do as little as possible and just recover and sort through those files since. It has been a complete nightmare. Normally I would just consider it lost but over the last days some folders and files have reappeared. I restored to a portable hard drive, not to the original locations so that should not effect it. Just a few folders, some with all the photos in videos they had in them and some with just a few. Two came back showing none of the photos they had in them but they do contain the folders I had in them and those folders have all the pics they should. Some PDFs, audio and txt came back. My contacts were missing except a few, they are all back now. Internet favorites I had saved in a folder from IE on another computer too.
The missing files and folders are pretty inconsistent too, all under the user but in many different folders. I have not tried to create a new user, nor sure if that would help? Nothing at all showed as a public user except sample photos and such. Also I noticed many of the files/folders reappearing are ones I had used within a week or so of this all happening. Folders I attached images from, folders I saved things into, ect. Some I had not used in a long time but a disproportionate number I have...
If a corrupted hard drive really deleted almost all of my photos they would not spontaneously start appearing intact back in their original locations right? This is all very confusing to me. Sorry for the long post but any help at all would be greatly appreciated.