FIX: Disappearing files and folders in Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer.
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Some users reported an unusual problem such as files and folders disappearing in Windows 10.
  • This can be a big problem that affects your work, so make sure you check your Users folder.
  • If your files and folders disappeared, you should check for hidden files and folders.
  • Also, search for files in different partitions of your hard drive. Read on for more solutions!
How to fix Disappearing files and folders in Windows 10
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Windows 10 issues aren’t common, but some issues are rather unusual. According to users, files and folders are disappearing on Windows 10.

This can be a big problem and interfere with your work, therefore it’s crucial to fix this problem.

  • Files disappeared from Desktop Windows 10 – If you can’t see the icons on your Desktop, you’ve probably just hidden them accidentally. This can be solved with a few clicks.
  • Folder disappeared Windows 7 – The same thing applies to Windows 7.
  • User folder missing Windows 10 – If you cannot find the user folder in My Documents, just follow the solutions below.
  • Folder disappeared from Desktop Windows 8 – Once again, the drill is identical in Windows 8.
  • Files missing after Windows 10 update – If your files are missing after installing a certain update, the best solution would be to uninstall the troublesome update.

How to find missing files and folders on a Windows 10 PC?

  1. Check the Users folder
  2. Show hidden files and folders
  3. Switch to your old user account
  4. Backup your data before making changes
  5. Search different hard drive partitions for your files
  6. Turn off Fast Startup
  7. Change Indexing options
  8. Set the folder temporarily to hidden and read-only
  9. Check the AppDataTemp folder
  10. Check your hard drive

1. Check the Users folder

  • Search for missing files and folders manually

After Windows 10 upgrade, certain files might be missing from your computer, however, in most cases they are just moved to a different folder. Users report that most of their missing files and folders can be found at This PC > Local Disk (C) > Users > User Name > Documents or This PC > Local Disk (C) > Users > Public.

  • Use a dedicated file finder
search file by size

In case the missing files and folders are not located in the path mentioned above, you will have a hard time while searching them.

In this case, we recommend you to use a file-finder software which will run multiple searches on all active storage elements of your system. We strongly recommend you Copernic Desktop search.

This tool will search not only all components of your system, but also your mails, USBs and external HDDs.

Copernic Desktop Search

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2. Show hidden files and folders

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type File Explorer. Choose File Explorer Options from the list.
  2. When File Explorer Options window opens, go to View tab. Locate Hidden files and folders option and select Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
  3. Click Apply and OK to save changes.

If your files and folders disappeared, maybe you should check for hidden files and folders.

Sometimes, files and folders might appear missing, but they are actually hidden. To show hidden files and folders, follow the above steps.

After you’ve changed this option, try searching for the missing files and folders on your computer. In most cases, the files should be in the same folder where you left them.

Need more info on hidden files and folders? Read our comprehensive guide to learn more about opening them.

3. Switch to your old user account

  1. Click the Start Button and click your username at the top.
  2. You should see another account available on the list. Click it in order to switch to it.
  3. After you switch to it, all your files and folders should be available to you.

In some cases, files and folders might disappear when you upgrade to Windows 10 and that’s because Windows 10 creates a new account for you by default.

Your old account is still present, but it’s not set as the default account, so you have to switch to it.

4. Backup your data before making changes

In case you haven’t yet upgraded to Windows 10 or done some important changes to your system, we strongly recommend you to make a backup copy of your system.

For that, you will have to use a backup software that will make a copy of your files and store it in a safe place at your choice: USB or external HDD.

If you already did it and encountered this issue, we strongly recommend you Paragon Backup&Recovery 16.

This is a leader on the backup and recovery software market with a lot of simple but powerful features in order to protect and recover your data while making changes to your PC.

Buy now Backup&Recovery Advanced  

It has a user-friendly interface and can be used whithout any issues. It stores quickly (15 GB in about 5 minutes) but you will need an external storage device in order to backup a huge amount of data.

5. Search different hard drive partitions for your files

After you upgrade to Windows 10, your hard drive letters might get changed for some reason. For example, if you used to store files on your C drive, they might be moved to D:UsersYour_username folder on any other hard drive partition.

In order to locate your missing files and folder, make sure to check all hard drive partitions thoroughly.

Many users encountered that the second hard drive is not detected. Here’s a quick guide to solve this annoying issue.

6. Turn off Fast Startup

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type Power Options. Select Power Options from the list of results.
  2. Click on Choose what the power button does.
  3. Click Change settings that are currently unavailable and scroll down to Shutdown settings.
  4. Uncheck Turn on fast startup (recommended) and click Save changes.

Users reported that Fast Startup can sometimes be responsible for disappearing files and folders on Windows 10. In order to fix this issue, some users suggest disabling Fast Startup by following the above steps.

7. Change Indexing options

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type Indexing Options. Select Indexing Options from the list of results.
  2. When Indexing Options window opens, click on Advanced.
  3. Go to Index Settings tab, and in Troubleshooting section click the Rebuild button.

If random files and folders are disappearing on Windows 10, you might want to change Indexing Options.

8. Set the folder temporarily to hidden and read-only

  1. Find the folder with missing files and right click it. Choose Properties from the menu.
  2. In General tab go to Attributes section and check Read-only and Hidden.
  3. Click Apply and OK.
  4. Right click the same folder again, and uncheck Read-only and Hidden options.
  5. Click Apply and OK to save changes.
  6. Enter the folder and the missing files should appear.

When files and folders disappear from a certain folder, sometimes setting that folder to hidden and read-only can fix the issue.

Before you set your folder to hidden, you need to make sure you can view hidden files and folders. In order to see hidden files and folders, check the second solution for detailed instructions.

9. Check the AppDataTemp folder

Sometimes, files that disappear might get moved to AppDataTemp folder. In order to recover the missing files and folders, go to the C:UsersAppDataLocalTemp folder.

Users reported that missing files were located in jbtempx-7895.ixx folder, but they will probably be located in a different folder on your computer, so you might have to do some manual searching.

We have to mention that you’ll have to reveal hidden files and folders in order to access AppData folder. For detailed instructions, also check the second solution.

10. Check your hard drive

  1. Open This PC and locate your hard drive. Right click it and choose Properties.
  2. Go to Tools tab and click Check Now button. Your hard drive will be scanned for errors. After the scan is completed, hidden files and folders should be restored.

In some cases, files and folders can disappear if the drive index gets corrupted. In order to fix this, it’s advised that you check your hard drive.

Disappearing files and folders can cause a lot of problems, and if you have experienced similar issues, feel free to try some of our solutions.

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I absolutely agree that W10 is horrible. I simply clicked on a folder and POOF-gone. Not in Recycle. Not anywhere. Microsoft should fix problems before pushing out any new versions. Their reputation is pathetic.

Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.

By the timeI reached solution #9…I found my files!

I used a file transfer app between my tablet and PC. I was moving some files not related to the folder disappeared. I did not even touch the folder at all, but it’s just gone. Nowhere I can find. And of course, these methods on this page did not work…

downloaded a 7zip file into my download folder, downloaded a second file 10 seconds later and the first file vanished, i even got explorer to search the entire computer just to check, its not there

Same problem here. Last used files and programs disappearing after a reboot. I’m currently on Windows 10 anniversary update.

I had an entire backup file of pictures, documents, download, and music on a thumb drive and my daughter moved them back to my hard drive after cleaning up my mess. She told me, last night, not to touch the computer until she told me it was done because the computer erased the files instead of moving them. She has done everything the article said to do and nothing works, the file shows it’s in a cloud (her words) but when trying to open them it says they’ve been moved but doesn’t give a location. Can someone please help, there are important documents and pictures of my late husband and grandchildren when they were babies in those files. No one in the family has those pictures and documents because I had my daughter scan them onto that damn thumb drive before they were destroyed by other causes.

One more solution (to be tried before anything else):
I had a similar problems, only with whole programs disappearing as well. Having understood that my problem was related some way to Windows 10 update, I noticed that when I switch off my PC by clicking the “power” icon on the bottom left – a forth line had appeared by the standard 3 (sleep, shutdown, restart): “install updates and shutdown”. I clicked this option and both the PC and myself retired for the night. Next morning the PC was powered on and spent a looong time completing the update. At the end of the update Windows came up as usual with all los-desaparecidos there.

Hey, I know this is an old comment, but I want to share my experience. I had a similar experience a few days ago. I had just downloaded a new program. Two days after, I press the power buttom saying “shut down and update”. Both I and the PC go to rest. The following day, when I turn on the PC, my program is gone. No sign of it – nothing. But it was only that single program that vanished (the program was the last program I downloaded before shutting down the pc). Maybe Windows made a small roll-back with the update, or deleted files it sees as a threat, when you update Windows?

This may not be the same issue so I apologise if it is off topic. What I experience is disappearing icons, in both the Start Menu and the desktop —- the apps / programs disappear with them. It happens every week or so. I try to replace them but I often do not remember what has gone, until I think of something I want to access only to find it is no longer available. Yesterday around a half dozen tiles had vanished from Start. When I look in the Store I find that they have to be re-installed again.

Waggers: I totally agree with you Clayto… Not only disappearing Files, Folders and Icons. Windows 10 is a Complete Failure until this MAJOR flaw is corrected… and it still exists after being in service for 12 months… What a Joke.!!!