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An employee of my mom's work formatted her laptop to install a program on her computer. First of all, I don't understand why he formatted her PC.

Now, when I start the computer, before logging in it says I have to press Ctrl+Alt+Del and then I have the message "Preparing desktop".

It doesn't matter what I do on the computer (install Firefox, add shortcuts, etc.) each time I restart the computer it will put everything back to its default (shortcuts are gone, Firefox not installed, etc.).

I have no idea what he did, but if you have an idea or a clue as to what I should do to fix it, please let me know.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Like Molly said, it can be that Windows Installation did not complete. The only solution is repair.. better format & do it properly.

Also it can be that the shortcuts & user settings are disappearing (Note Firefox may be present in program files i.e. installed & present on the PC) due to the fact that your user profile directory is somehow corrupted. Delete the folder (c:\Users\USER_NAME) by logging in as another user & try logging in as that user again.

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sounds like an installation that has never been properly finished.

either run a 'repair installation' or even better, backup anything there is to save and reinstall the operating system from scratch.

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The laptop has a recovery drive, can i use it yo repair or do i need an installation disc? – krike Jan 15 '10 at 18:42
that depends on make and model of the Laptop and the method of recovery. it is often possible to create a 'real' Windows Installation disk from the recovery media, if the installation source is included (look for a folder called SOURCES) – Molly7244 Jan 15 '10 at 18:55
a "restore to factory default" should do the job, just make sure to backup (if there are any data). although it makes me wonder how she managed to 'format' the drive without installation disk. – Molly7244 Jan 15 '10 at 19:21
I now saw a message that I was logged in a temporary account and that all the changes I made will be lost when logging off. where can I change this setting? – krike Jan 16 '10 at 17:08

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