A coworker of mine has an interesting problem. She's been complaining of disappearing files recently. Example, she saves an Excel file on here desktop and then when she closes Excel it's not there.

So I take a look. On her desktop there are two Excel files, lets say FileA and FileB. These open up fine. I start Excel and go to Save As... In the Desktop folder (the special one, not the one under C:\Documents and Settings\Users...) it does not list FileA and FileB, but instead lists some of the files that have "disappeared". And you can open them. Checking the properties the file path is the correct path to the desktop.

If under Excel I manually browse to the C:\Documents and Settings\User\Desktop folder it lists both FileA and FileB and the other files that have "disappeared".

Any idea what's going on and how it can be fixed?

Details - Windows XP SP3, Office 2007, Running under Active Directory, new Dell computer, reasonably apt user

  • What version of Internet Explorer installed, and are these files that were originally downloaded from the internet (or from email attachments)? – GAThrawn Oct 28 '10 at 17:02
  • I'll check on the IE version but it's going to be 7 or 8. These files were either downloaded as an email attachment or created by the user. – Clint Davis Oct 28 '10 at 17:12
  • What happens if she tries to save files to someplace other than her Desktop? – Michael Oct 28 '10 at 18:37

If you right-click on the Desktop and hit 'Refresh', do the files appear? Do they appear after a reboot? This sounds like something is just keeping the desktop from redrawing properly but it is WEIRD behavior and I might be reading this wrong...

  • This was my first thought, too. – Michael Oct 28 '10 at 17:08
  • Tried refreshing the desktop, no change. Tried rebooting, no change. It is weird but there has to be a reason for it, somewhere... – Clint Davis Oct 28 '10 at 17:10
  • @Clint Yeah, it's weird as hell. Maybe something in her user profile is corrupt? You could try deleting and recreating it. – Shinrai Oct 28 '10 at 17:53
  • If the user profile is very large, and it could be if she typically stores things in the desktop, or my documents, then profile corruption is a likely cause – datatoo Nov 12 '10 at 15:07

I'm a little confused.

What is this 'special' folder you mention? The only Desktop folders I know of are the Desktop folders contained within the profile folder for each user, and the Desktop for 'All Users', both of which reside beneath C:\Documents and Settings.

Are you saying that the file properties indicate that the files on her visible desktop, as well as those in the Desktop folder you were brought to through the Save As dialog, both exist in the same actual folder?

  • "Special Folder" being the Desktop folder choice usually on the side of a Save As dialog box, not the folder by browsing manually to the desktop folder. I separate the two because they should point to the same place and give identical results but in this case they seem to point to the same place but give different results. – Clint Davis Oct 28 '10 at 16:36
  • As for your second question, yes. Both the visible file on her desktop and the invisible file only seen through the Excel dialog both point to the same place, her Desktop folder. – Clint Davis Oct 28 '10 at 16:38

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