Dell14z
3 Argentium

I messed up horribly -- Need Fix Fast

My Inspiron laptop came with Windows 7. I upgraded to 8, then 10. Everything was fine. I'm disabled and my right arm is not steady. Last week I installed a new printer. I forgot to uninstall the old ones. I needed to ftp some txt files and could not find them. I went into Program Files and not Program Files (x86). I saw Brother, my old printer software, listed. Due to a brain injury, I have amnesia. So I didn't think to use the Uninstall feature. (I know I'm giving a lot of information but figure the background will help me obtain assistance). I highlighted Brother and right clicked "delete". But I didn't realize I also had Program Files highlighted. Oh yeah, it began deleting files from the first folder. It said 1,400 files or something. I hit cancel immediately. I shut down the laptop and cried. Why? I'm in a nursing home and my laptop is my means to the outside world. I spent the whole night thinking how to fix this. After much thought, I knew reinstalling Windows would overwrite files. Plus my CDs are packed as I'm moving in two weeks. So ... what I need is the files I deleted. I don't remember the first program listing but less than a hundred files were deleted. I'm afraid to turn the laptop on in case I deleted vital files that will break Windows. What I believe I need is: A. Copies of files I deleted, meaning the first folder in Program Files B. Advice on whether or not I can safely turn on my laptop C. If it won't load, how do I get into the Home Screen to replace the files? D. If someone here, or Dell Support emails the folder to me (pretty please), how can I get the files to my C Drive/Program Files? That's IF Windows loads .... but if not, how? I'm trying to be explanatory and clear but am extremely upset. I'm using my iPad which I don't like since I've used Windows since 1993--3.1 version. I recently got a gift of a Dell mini laptop which converts to a tablet but have used it just once. I'm out of warranty or I'd contact Dell directly. I can't afford service or support. I'm pleading with everyone here to help. Been disabled nine years and used to code and knew HTML by heart. Now, I rely on the kindness of strangers..... Please help me.

Current Dell stuff:  Dell Inspiron 15, Dell Inspiron Windows Laptop/Tablet, and Dell Venue 8 Pro. . Currently disabled so please excuse typos, confusing responses or the fact I look like a newbie. I have amnesia but used to code, build computers, build websites and more.

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5 Replies
jphughan
5 Rhenium

RE: I Screwed Up Horribly -- Need Fix Fast

I've been working in various IT support capacities for 15 years, so I'll do what I can to help you here.  First, turning your laptop back on won't make things any worse. Whatever damage has been done is already done.  Second, while regular full backups of your PC would have been far preferable here, there is some hope here.  If you can get Windows to load again, go to Start, type "Control Panel" and click the result of the same name that should appear.  When Control Panel opens, check the upper-right corner and make sure it is set to "Large Icons" rather than "Category".  Then click the "Recovery" item you should see.  From there, click "Open System Restore".  See if you have a restore point available from before you accidentally deleted those files.  If so, this wizard should restore your applications to their state at the indicated time WITHOUT modifying your personal files.

If Windows won't start, typically after 2 unsuccessful attempts it will automatically boot into a Startup Repair mode.  At that point you should have an option to enter Advanced System Recovery or something along those lines, in which case you should see the same System Restore option available there.

If you don't have any recovery points, then I'm afraid you're dead in the water.  Your best bet at this point would probably be to have your laptop sent to some sort of service that is competent to back up your personal data, then reinstall the operating system and your applications from scratch and of course restore your data afterward.  Let's hope it doesn't come to that!

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jphughan
5 Rhenium

RE: I Screwed Up Horribly -- Need Fix Fast

Actually, if the System Restore option doesn't work here, one slightly more palatable option than sending your system to some sort of support personnel would be to use the Windows 10 "Reset" feature, which essentially reinstalls your operating system and all included applications for you.  It DOES keep your data files intact, but other than that it will set your PC into a state basically as if you were just taking it out of the box, meaning that you would need to reinstall any applications you use and any other software for your devices such as your printer. But if System Restore doesn't work, that's probably the fastest route back to something that works reasonably well.  That process can be started by clicking Start, clicking the Settings icon in the lower-left corner (it's the shape of a gear), then choosing "Update & security" and clicking the "Recovery" listing in the left-hand column.  Finally, under the "Reset This PC" heading to the right, click the "Get started" button and follow the steps to perform this reset, choosing the "Keep your files" option, NOT the "Delete everything" option.

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vasya1
1 Copper

RE: I Screwed Up Horribly -- Need Fix Fast

If you are using default settings then your files should still be in the recycle bin. Go to recycle bin-> right click-> sort by date deleted-> select the files which were deleted that day ->Right click and select "Restore'.

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Dell14z
3 Argentium

RE: I Screwed Up Horribly -- Need Fix Fast

Thank you very much. It booted fine and I went to Recycle Bin to restore files. Nothing that deleted that day was there. Whatever program files I deleted weren't part of the OS. I'm looking for backup software now to be safe in the future

Current Dell stuff:  Dell Inspiron 15, Dell Inspiron Windows Laptop/Tablet, and Dell Venue 8 Pro. . Currently disabled so please excuse typos, confusing responses or the fact I look like a newbie. I have amnesia but used to code, build computers, build websites and more.

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jphughan
5 Rhenium

RE: I Screwed Up Horribly -- Need Fix Fast

Excellent!  I suppose it's possible that you cancelled the delete operation while Windows was still counting the files to be deleted but before it actually began.  However, it's also possible to delete files in a way that bypasses the Recycle Bin, so that isn't totally conclusive.

In terms of image backup solutions, look at Macrium Reflect.  They have a Free version that will capture Full or Differential image backups, and the paid version adds some extra features such as encryption, Incremental Backups, and File/Folder backups if you don't want an image of the entire disk, although you absolutely would to protect against scenarios like this.  Good luck!  

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