Customer calls, saying she could no longer log in to her vista profile (it would give an error, then drop her out).
She could login using her husbands account, but couldn’t see the photos and music from her “main” account.
At this stage, I was thinking: easy enough, a corrupt user account, maybe the files are “hidden” from other users, so its easy enough to get everything back by changing permissions & ownership.
But then she goes on to say that she was told to delete the account, then when she re-creates the account with the same name, it will recover all her files…
Hmmm, this isn’t sounding good… depending on what she did, she might have lost all her data.
She then says she had someone else come out, to fix things, but they couldn’t find the data… but she would like a second opinion.
OK, so this could end up being a data recovery of deleted files… a fairly messy process.
Anyway, I agree to visit, and give her an evaluation of the problem… so she knows that a data recovery could end up being expensive.
When I get there, there is some confusion with user account names, as the name on the screen doesn’t match the actual username / users folder name.
Once I have that sorted, I can indeed see that the corrupt user account folder is there, but due to obvious permission problems, I cannot look into it.
Thats also an easy fix: take ownership of all files and folders under the main/corrupt user folder… something thats been around since the days of windows NT (about 15 years ago!).
While the PC is taking ownership, (it takes about 15 minutes to complete!), I look at the drives & folders, and I see the PC has a D: partition.
Under the D: partition, there is a folder called backup.
Under that folder, there are backups going back for many months, which contain all the user data.
Ah, good, if I can’t get at the data directly, via the main user account, I can at least restore from backup files.
Anyway, I can now see inside the main user folders, and I can see all the data.
The customer is very relieved, and I quickly show her how to copy the data into the “new” account.
I also tell her how I would have also been able to use the backups, if I wasn’t able to view the main account.
At that point, she tells me that the other technician couldn’t get at the original data, and once she mentioned that she always got prompted to do backups, he said “oh, I hadn’t thought of that”, and took a look, then said there was no data in the backup area…
At this point, I couldn’t help blurting out: who was he?
I couldn’t believe that someone could spend a whole hour, and not get any results!
Well, lets just say he was from “geeks to you” (a large Australian computer repair company)
Its strange, that in my line of work, I don’t get to hear much from “competitors”, so its always interesting to hear stories (both good and bad)… unfortunately, I get to hear more bad stories than good.
I get the feeling that larger computer repair companies are usually more geared for “growth”, so will sacrifice quality (and good quality technicians), in return for fast growth.
But then, this industry is totally unregulated, so there is little that can be done to stop the “not so geeky” geeks.