Hi! I'm new here. Like most (probably), I came here because I'm having an issue with my laptop that I do not know how to solve using conventional methods, so I'm hoping someone can sling a few idea my way. I am too poor to pay for IT help every time I have an issue and I'd rather know how to take care of my own computer, anyways.
It started a while back. I started noticing files going missing. They're always ones I haven't visited in a few months/don't look at regularly. At first, I thought maybe I had forgotten to save them. But then whole file folders started disappearing that I knew I'd seen recently. I'm not entirely sure how much stuff is missing, but of what I have noticed, it's all my graduate school lectures, notes, and powerpoints. Stuff I really need when we do a refresher course in a few semesters.
My initial thought was that I had a virus that had slipped my/my antivirus' attention, so I updated my antivirus to Webroot, did a scan, and it removed one "threat" (Pando Media Booster), rescanned, and it said all threats were gone. Then I attempted to show any hidden folders using the method described here: (http://shoobm.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/recover-hidden-files-from-flash-drives-or-external-hard-disks-due-to-virus-infection/). All this did was create 35 see through file icons on my desktop whose titles where altered to start with '~$' and I am unable to open any of them. None of them are really useful for me. Nothing has reappeared in my class folders. I then attempted to dredge any possibly deleted folders/files with Recuva. It found a ton of files this way. Details said they were not deleted, but when I try to open them office says they are corrupt and cannot be opened. Most of my important files are still missing, and I'm not 100% what caused them to disappear in the first place.
My questions are:
1.) Is there anything other than a virus that could have caused my files to mysteriously disappear?
2.) Are there any other recovery methods/places these files could be hiding?
3.) Any other advice?
Thank you, everyone!