This morning a user, let's call them Greg, logged into their laptop which is running Windows 8 Pro. Their profile is a roaming profile, Active Directory is running on Windows Server 2012.

It took several minutes for their computer to finally log in. Usually the login is practically instant. Then there were some Lenovo automatic updates. Once they finally got into the computer, they discovered that all the files on their Desktop and files under Documents were missing. All that was left was two files on the Desktop and two under Documents out of dozens that were there on Friday when they shut down. Also all their settings like browser bookmarks and Skype login were missing/blank.

At first I thought that the profile had been switched from Roaming to Local. So I checked, but it was still set to Roaming. So I had them log into another computer, to see if it would pull down their documents. No luck, they just saw those same 4 files under Desktop and Documents.

I looked on the server under \\storageserver\profiles$\greg but that folder is completely empty. I then tried to look under \\storageserver\profiles$\greg.V2 but it says Access is Denied. I've since learned that is due to some group permissions that need to be set up prior to the creation of the user folders.

Does anyone know why the files would disappear? If they are still around, where could they be?

Possibly important: The only other things that has happened on that computer is that the computer name was changed to something more descriptive six days ago. They have logged off and shutdown many times since then, so can't see how that would be the issue that caused this? Not sure if changing the name back would make the files appear again?

No one else here has had issues with the roaming profiles or files disappearing. This is also the first time this has happened to my knowledge. This is also the only laptop here that is that model of Lenovo, and got whatever those updates were.

  • \storageserver\profiles$\greg.V2 but it says Access is Denied. - The should be able to access that folder, or you can reset the permissions on that folder. Just set ownership of the folder back to the user when you are done, and grant them full control. – Zoredache Jul 28 '14 at 18:51
  • I am not sure from your description if you are using the msDS-PrimaryComputer attribute in active directory but this is a possible reason. Changing the system name may not match up with the attribute any longer thereby preventing the roaming profile from loading. blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2012/10/23/… – Byron C. Jul 28 '14 at 19:38
  • I gave Admins access to the user.v2 folder to see what was in there, it is the same as what is on the computer - just those 4 files under Desktop and Documents. – David Thomas Garcia Jul 28 '14 at 19:53
  • I'll look into msDS-PrimaryComputer to see if that is the case. – David Thomas Garcia Jul 28 '14 at 19:54
  • The roaming profile is stored in \\storageserver\profiles$\greg.V2 but you say that is empty now? It seems like the profile was corrupted and needs to be restored from a backup to the network share. The laptop is going to load whatever is in the roaming profile network share. If the user's profile is empty on the share then the laptop is going to copy over the empty profile. – ChrisB Jul 28 '14 at 20:13

I wasn't able to figure out why the files disappeared from the user's profile. What I did instead was run EaseUS (deleted file restoration software) on the server that contained the roaming profiles and recover the files that way.

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