Windows 10 Auto Update Deleted YEARS of Work Without Notice

Sep 8, 2013
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JAPAN
twitter.com
#1
Now let me preface this by explaining something: My work laptop has an extra hardrive that was partitioned into a data drive and a windows recovery drive (450gb data as my D: drive and a 30gb Recovery partition designated as R:) due to the very small size of the primary SSD. Its never once given me any issues before and has worked perfectly up until the upgrade today.

I was very diligent about making sure my desktop was no longer in danger of being auto updated to Windows 10 but completely forgot to do the same on my work laptop. After 5 hours or so working away from my desk I sit back down to discover my laptop is now suddenly running windows 10. While annoyed I blame myself for not remembering to disable the update on my laptop.

Thinking the forced upgrade is naught but a mild inconvenience that can easily be remedied I go to load up my work for the week only to discover that my entire 500gb Data drive has now been formatted as a Windows Recovery drive which has resulted in the loss of literally years of work. While I have a back up it is over a year old and was not a full back up of the entire drive due to storage constraints on the network storage here at my place of work Funnily enough it was an issue I was planning to remedy with a archived back up to my Desktop this past weekend only to accidentally forget my laptop at work over the weekend. Go figure right.

Fast forward to a day later and I have tried recovering to Windows 8.1 but the drive remained a single recovery partition and did not revert, I used Recuva to try and salvage my data but was greeted by a mass of corrupted files thanks to the vast majority being docx files which appear to have some kind of copy protection built in that prevents a full recovery. Not a single one of my docx files works but the handful of excel and regular .doc files seem to have restored perfectly. The program also seemed unable to retrieve the Rar archives I had made to transfer to my desktop as a back up. I also tried some recovery tools via an ubuntu install which necessitated a reformatting of my primary drive thanks to some bizarre HDD copy protection/encryption firmware installed on my laptop by Asus. Still no luck. All the essential files that were recovered are still tagged as corrupted when attempting to access them.

I am at a loss here folks. I've tried searching online and users reporting data loss are experiencing data loss in their primary drive without any mention of a reformatting occurring. It seems like the bespoke HDD encryption / protection firmware built into the laptop by Asus that also just so happens to block the installation and booting of Linux distros without a complete reformat of the main drive could also be partly to blame here but again before the update I had no issues with my Data partition whatsoever. Nevertheless regardless of the factors at play here. This reformatting has resulted in the loss of over 250gb of word, excel, and pdf documents representing years of my hard work and I have no foreseeable way of recovering it. I'm looking at months of man hours recreating my lost documents and supporting materials.

So,
******************* WORD OF WARNING *******************
If your recovery partition is not on your main HDD Windows 10 can apparently decide to reformat whichever drive it is on during the auto update process.

I sincerely hope this saves others the misery this has caused me. Please, if you are running a Windows OS that is not Windows 10, for your sake, learn from mistakes and avoid such a devastating loss of data by backing up all your work ASAP.
 
Jun 2, 2013
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#8
That's awful. I recently also heard about a case where Apple Music deleted some musician's library. Some companies need to get their shit together with the access they have to our files.
 
Oct 8, 2014
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#9
Holy crap that is awful. I hate how Microsoft is using such skeevy methods to force this update (e.g. clicking on the red x in the update window counts as accepting the update).
 
Jul 5, 2013
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#11
Thinking the forced upgrade is naught but a mild inconvenience that can easily be remedied I go to load up my work for the week only to discover that my entire 500gb Data drive has now been formatted as a Windows Recovery drive which has resulted in the loss of literally years of work. While I have a back up it is over a year old and was not a full back up of the entire drive due to storage constraints on the network storage here at my place of work Funnily enough it was an issue I was planning to remedy with a archived back up to my Desktop this past weekend only to accidentally forget my laptop at work over the weekend. Go figure right.

Fast forward to a day later and I have tried recovering to Windows 8.1 but the drive remained a single recovery partition and did not revert, I used Recuva to try and salvage my data but was greeted by a mass of corrupted files thanks to the vast majority being docx files which appear to have some kind of copy protection built in that prevents a full recovery. Not a single one of my docx files works but the handful of excel and regular .doc files seem to have restored perfectly. The program also seemed unable to retrieve the Rar archives I had made to transfer to my desktop as a back up. I also tried some recovery tools via an ubuntu install which necessitated a reformatting of my primary drive thanks to some bizarre HDD copy protection/encryption firmware installed on my laptop by Asus. Still no luck. All the essential files that were recovered are still tagged as corrupted when attempting to access them.

I am at a loss here folks. I've tried searching online and users reporting data loss are experiencing data loss in their primary drive without any mention of a reformatting occurring. It seems like the bespoke HDD encryption / protection firmware built into the laptop by Asus that also just so happens to block the installation and booting of Linux distros without a complete reformat of the main drive could also be partly to blame here but again before the update I had no issues with my Data partition whatsoever. Nevertheless regardless of the factors at play here. This reformatting has resulted in the loss of over 250gb of word, excel, and pdf documents representing years of my hard work and I have no foreseeable way of recovering it. I'm looking at months of man hours recreating my lost documents and supporting materials.

So,
******************* WORD OF WARNING *******************
If your recovery partition is not on your main HDD Windows 10 can apparently decide to reformat whichever drive it is on during the auto update process.

I sincerely hope this saves others the misery this has caused me. Please, if you are running a Windows OS that is not Windows 10, for your sake, learn from mistakes and avoid such a devastating loss of data by backing up all your work ASAP.
Depending on the type of work and how much it's worth to you and or the company you might want to look up some data forensics company's but that can be up to a few thousand a drive.
 

Voost Kain

Daily Mail headline writer
Jun 6, 2015
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#14
Microsoft wants you to start crisp. I remember a guy at the MS store saying things could happen the way you described so it's clear they don't care about your old stuff assuming they already knew about this.
 
Sep 8, 2013
7,105
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JAPAN
twitter.com
#15
That is absolutely infuriating. You should tweet @ Microsoft and see if you can get some free shit out of this situation. They're not obligated to give you anything, and it won't replace your lost files, but its something.
Meh not really worth it. I'd rather just deal with windows as little as possible at this point. Already in the process of switching my primary OS on my work comp over to Linux Mint just trying to find some decent drivers for my specific HW first.
 
Jul 4, 2015
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#16
I seem to be in the minority on Gaf, but I find Windows 10 inferior to 7 and even 8.1. Upgrading to Windows 10 was a headache. Files were removed, software was uninstalled, etc.

Windows 10 gives you less control than previous versions, and that is something I can't live with.
 
Apr 15, 2013
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Hamilton, New Zealand
#17
I haven't seen that before and have been running Windows 10 since the Preview Program started (~6 months before Win10s release).

I have a 256GB SSD which has two partitions. System C: and Steam D:
Since I upgraded from Windows 8.1 and obviously all the subsequent builds, I've never seen that D: partition removed.

Sorry OP, wish I could help, but something obviously went wrong. Could be that the "weird Asus encryption" stuff meant the Windows 10 installer couldn't pick up your partitioning properly, and had no other choice but to nuke the whole drive.
 
May 8, 2014
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#18
Microsoft has this frustrating One-windows-fits-all, trust us you need this mentality.

It's the same as the weird inital Xbone stuff where they're so into their corporate ideas they don't really stop to think that there are plenty of users outside their grand idea of how people ought to use their computers and Consoles.
 
Sep 8, 2013
7,105
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JAPAN
twitter.com
#23
Depending on the type of work and how much it's worth to you and or the company you might want to look up some data forensics company's but that can be up to a few thousand a drive.
Unfortunately my place of work is not predisposed to covering expenses like this. I actually looked into it and was prepared to pay on my own dime but apparently thanks to the way Windows handles recovery partitions and docx files theres very little chance of recovering much of anything regardless.
 
Dec 13, 2008
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Alberta, Canada
#28
That really sucks OP, I would definitely report it to Microsoft and see if they can do anything for you. Especially if your company has Enterprise licenses.

I seem to be in the minority on Gaf, but I find Windows 10 inferior to 7 and even 8.1. Upgrading to Windows 10 was a headache. Files were removed, software was uninstalled, etc.

Windows 10 gives you less control than previous versions, and that is something I can't live with.
You're free to dislike it of course, but this is completely untrue. Why would you think this?

Holy crap that is awful. I hate how Microsoft is using such skeevy methods to force this update (e.g. clicking on the red x in the update window counts as accepting the update).
I don't think I've known any background process application or OS-level function to stop when a user hits the button to close the window, because it's just that, a button to dismiss the window. Although some devs are kind enough to put a notification that an install/process/whatever is continuing despite the window being closed.
 
May 1, 2015
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#29
Now let me preface this by explaining something: My work laptop has an extra hardrive that was partitioned into a data drive and a windows recovery drive (450gb data as my D: drive and a 30gb Recovery partition designated as R:) due to the very small size of the primary SSD. Its never once given me any issues before and has worked perfectly up until the upgrade today.

I was very diligent about making sure my desktop was no longer in danger of being auto updated to Windows 10 but completely forgot to do the same on my work laptop. After 5 hours or so working away from my desk I sit back down to discover my laptop is now suddenly running windows 10. While annoyed I blame myself for not remembering to disable the update on my laptop.

Thinking the forced upgrade is naught but a mild inconvenience that can easily be remedied I go to load up my work for the week only to discover that my entire 500gb Data drive has now been formatted as a Windows Recovery drive which has resulted in the loss of literally years of work. While I have a back up it is over a year old and was not a full back up of the entire drive due to storage constraints on the network storage here at my place of work Funnily enough it was an issue I was planning to remedy with a archived back up to my Desktop this past weekend only to accidentally forget my laptop at work over the weekend. Go figure right.

Fast forward to a day later and I have tried recovering to Windows 8.1 but the drive remained a single recovery partition and did not revert, I used Recuva to try and salvage my data but was greeted by a mass of corrupted files thanks to the vast majority being docx files which appear to have some kind of copy protection built in that prevents a full recovery. Not a single one of my docx files works but the handful of excel and regular .doc files seem to have restored perfectly. The program also seemed unable to retrieve the Rar archives I had made to transfer to my desktop as a back up. I also tried some recovery tools via an ubuntu install which necessitated a reformatting of my primary drive thanks to some bizarre HDD copy protection/encryption firmware installed on my laptop by Asus. Still no luck. All the essential files that were recovered are still tagged as corrupted when attempting to access them.

I am at a loss here folks. I've tried searching online and users reporting data loss are experiencing data loss in their primary drive without any mention of a reformatting occurring. It seems like the bespoke HDD encryption / protection firmware built into the laptop by Asus that also just so happens to block the installation and booting of Linux distros without a complete reformat of the main drive could also be partly to blame here but again before the update I had no issues with my Data partition whatsoever. Nevertheless regardless of the factors at play here. This reformatting has resulted in the loss of over 250gb of word, excel, and pdf documents representing years of my hard work and I have no foreseeable way of recovering it. I'm looking at months of man hours recreating my lost documents and supporting materials.

So,
******************* WORD OF WARNING *******************
If your recovery partition is not on your main HDD Windows 10 can apparently decide to reformat whichever drive it is on during the auto update process.

I sincerely hope this saves others the misery this has caused me. Please, if you are running a Windows OS that is not Windows 10, for your sake, learn from mistakes and avoid such a devastating loss of data by backing up all your work ASAP.
Is the recovery partition hidden? If so, have you tried using diskpart to unhide it and see the content?
 
Jan 6, 2007
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#30
What is the most user-friendly Linux version for Linux virgins?
Plain Ubuntu because of the google results when you need help.

With vanilla Ubuntu, you are most likely to find baby-steps super detailed help on specific problems. After that, any Ubuntu derivatives are easy to get into since you just need to account for the pretty superficial differences in your desktop.
 
Jul 5, 2013
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#31
Unfortunately my place of work is not predisposed to covering expenses like this. I actually looked into it and was prepared to pay on my own dime but apparently thanks to the way Windows handles recovery partitions and docx files theres very little chance of recovering much of anything regardless.
Ouch and unfortunately shadow copies and the like isn't going to help you if it got formatted. Does your work have any onsite cloud replication products like Barracuda, Backup Exec ect.. While I won't help now I'd recommend doing a nightly backup to something like that.
 
Nov 9, 2010
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#32
Reading this makes my heart drop.

The original Palm Pilot syncing software (waaaaaaaay back) decimated years of my dad's business contacts and calendar dates, and to this day he blames me since I'm his tech support.

That might have been the worst week of my life trying to get that data back.
 
Jun 7, 2014
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Russian Federation
#34
I am really happy with my Windows 10 upgrade and post-upgrade experience, but I won't be playing a "idk, works for me."

All this mass auto upgrade situation is really bad and puts a huge stain on otherwise good operating system. Microsoft does the same mistake of treating your PC as a phone as with Windows 8 - this time it's not about UI but about update deployment. Despite having - and liking! - several Windows phones, I wish Microsoft left the market once Windows Mobile was dethroned by Android and iOS, just to prevent forming that "everything is a smart device" mentality.

Reading this makes my heart drop.

The original Palm Pilot syncing software (waaaaaaaay back) decimated years of my dad's business contacts and calendar dates, and to this day he blames me since I'm his tech support.

That might have been the worst week of my life trying to get that data back.
I bet it was something to deal with user profiles of Palm Desktop. That shit never worked as intended... in fact, I'm not even sure how it's really supposed to work.
 
Oct 17, 2014
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England
www.flickr.com
#35
chromatic9

quick question: if i upgrade to win10 do i lose everything if i don't make a backup? videos, pictures etc.?
I recently upgraded from Windows 7 and everything was intact on a 1tb drive.

Still would recommend a backup of important files or create an image of your drive. There's many threads about people losing data, which is why I find MS auto updating people pretty scary.
Made this post two days ago, not surprised about this at all.

I voluntary upgraded a week or two ago but before doing so I just searched for win10 upgrade data loss and found an endless supply of people who lost their stuff so I did a backup instead of taking a gamble and hoping my files would still be there.

With that info out there for the last 12 months, I can't understand how MS can auto upgrade people's machines. These last few days I've read many examples of people going back to their machine and finding the upgrade already in progress.

Anyway, regardless, if you truly have important data, you should be making backups for many reasons.
 
Jun 19, 2004
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#37
Ok, that really sucks dude, and hopefully Microsoft fixes this shit

But seriously, if you have a shit ton of work/valuable data on your computer...you need automatic off-site backup.
 
Jan 16, 2009
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#38
Probably Linux Mint w/ Cinnamon UI(very similar in UI to Windows) or Ubuntu (very different UI but easily accessible/usuable). I'm currently in the process of switching over to Mint myself.
Mint is an amateur OS. My advice would be to try out Ubuntu and Ubuntu Gnome and pick one of them.
 
Apr 24, 2012
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#39
It sucks but backup, three copies on two different types of media in two separate locations. Even without Windows 10 a hardware failure or your laptop being stolen would have a worse result since you couldn't recovery the files you were able to in those cases.

Windows has had built-in backup utilities since XP, and Windows 8 debuted the new time machine style backup that automates backs up to external drives or a network share.

Storage is so cheap now days there is zero reason any file you care about shouldn't be backed up.
 
Sep 8, 2013
7,105
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0
JAPAN
twitter.com
#42
Ouch and unfortunately shadow copies and the like isn't going to help you if it got formatted. Does your work have any onsite cloud replication products like Barracuda, Backup Exec ect.. While I won't help now I'd recommend doing a nightly backup to something like that.
I tried Recupra but no I don't work for a company that emphasis tech in any way shape or form. I'm probably the most tech literate person here and I'm nowhere near an expert.
 
Oct 27, 2011
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#43
It's an awful practice for Microsoft to force these updates. I understand why they might want to, especially once Windows 10 isn't free but situations like these are a great reason why they shouldn't.

That said, this whole thing is a prime example of why backups should be frequent and in multiple locations.
 
Jul 4, 2015
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#44
You're free to dislike it of course, but this is completely untrue. Why would you think this?
Updates is a perfect example of this. You can delay them but eventually you will turn your PC on and it will force update. So now when I need to use the computer, it's updating for 20 minutes.

Anyways OP, there might be software that can read the drive and find leftover data.
 
Jan 6, 2007
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#48
Mint is an amateur OS. My advice would be to try out Ubuntu and Ubuntu Gnome and pick one of them.
I like Mint a lot but after that security issue a few months back there came some details about how they where maybe not handling security with the height of professionalism and I'll admit it scared me off before I really bothered getting to the bottom of it. So I try not to trash talk them but I don't recommend Mint the way I used to.
 
Jul 25, 2014
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#49
Semi-related: thoughts/experiences with online automatic cloud backup services like CrashPlan or BackBlaze?
I've been a CrashPlan user for years now. I wouldn't be caught dead without it. Not only will it back up your data to their secured repositories, but it will also allow you to do a local backup to an external hard drive or NAS.

It's an absolute must.