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Windows 7 PC - Came in and everything except Windows was

gone.Office and Norton had been...
Windows 7 PC - Came in and everything except Windows was gone.Office and Norton had been removed and the 2 user accounts were gone and the Outlook PST and Excel and Word files were gone.
The user is a very honest person and PC novice so the user did not removed the software or data files.Is there a process not caused by a user that would remove all applications and data files and leave the computer with only
the Windows OS?If yes, is there a process that would allow me to find the data files and restore the programs or should I just re install the software again.Jerry
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Answered in 11 minutes by:
10/16/2017
Chris L.
Chris L., Support Specialist
Category: Software
Satisfied Customers: 5,052
Experience: Certified Software expert with over 10 years experience.
Verified

Hello my name is ***** ***** certified computer professional with over 10 years experience. I will be happy to help you. What is the make/model of the computer?

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I ask the make and model because some laptops have what is called 1 touch recovery on the keyboard which if pressed could allow a person to do a factory reset. Without that button though a factory reset is usually not something that easily done accidentally however depending on the computer it could be possible. Say for example they used windows search to try and find restart but they instead founds recovery and ran it. That is a possibility.

But from everything you described it sounds like a reset was done and unfortunately there is nothing you can do aside from reinstalling your software.

This is not something I ever seen nor heard of happening on it's own, some user intervention is required so you may want to ask the person who had the computer if they had any issues while using it. Maybe they thought they messed something up so ran a factory reset not really understanding what it does. It is difficult to say but I can tell that if factory reset was done then you will need to start over on that machine, all prior data will be lost.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Thanks

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flopcat98
flopcat98, Consultant
Category: Software
Satisfied Customers: 9,122
Experience: Consultant 30 years in nyc computer industry working with PC and networks banks brokerage legal etc.
Verified

Yes there are a few things that a user could do pretty easily

1. If their account had admin rights they can go to control panel /user and remove any other accounts

but that would probably entail some intent

2. and this i think is much more likely

if they had a problem and tried to fix it. or if they hit the wrong button on startup

they can launch the recovery partition that will reset the computer to factory specs

it is possible to do it inadvertently. But much more likely if they had an issue and followed instructions from a friend or webpage with what we call "just enough knowledge to be dangerous"

They might have been trying to do a system restore which is a simple an relatively benign and reversible way to set the computer back a few days but it sounds a lot like system RECOVERY. which is a much different thing and as i said above it will reset the computer to factory defaults. Very different things but they sound alike and a novice being told to do one could easily find instructions for the other.

In any case its not a hard thing to do and the instructions for it are all over the net. It is a necessary solution for some major problems. But a bit of a disaster if used for minor problems that dont require such drastic measures. kind of like "amputating an arm is an excellent and necessary solution if you have gangrene running up to the elbow. Not so much if you have tennis elbow and it hurts a lot"

flopcat98
flopcat98, Consultant
Category: Software
Satisfied Customers: 9,122
Experience: Consultant 30 years in nyc computer industry working with PC and networks banks brokerage legal etc.
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