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Cannot find hidden files on Windows 8.1 after refresh

  • 19 svar
  • 4 har dette problem
  • 19 visninger
  • Seneste svar af jscher2000

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I stupidly did a Refresh on Windows 8.1 when having trouble with Clean Up disk not working. I know that i need to find the hidden files from other questions on here, and have checked the box for this, but how do i actually access these files, to get them back onto my Desktop. have lost Firefox history and bookmarks,my Avast Security,etc etc. I believe that i can retrieve them, is this right? I am not terribly computer literate but can follow instructions if they are kept simple. many thanks anyone.

Alle svar (19)

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Did the refresh create a folder named


In that case, all your old Firefox settings are in there and we can discuss how to rescue them.

I believe you can use the same method as Windows 7 to view hidden files and folders. Could you try this article: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/show-hidden-files

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If you have C:\Windows.old, next step is to drill down to:


In there you should find one or more folders with partially random names. Can you find one that was updated recently, i.e., just before the refresh?

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I have used the link you mention and checked the 'show hidden files' and apply and ok, but i cannot see where it shows the actual files. Also , no there was no 'old' file mentioned after refresh. I find this windows 8 thing really frustrating! and not helped by my non teccie knowledge and still at it after 4 hours!

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To open a file list (Windows explorer) you can try the search box on the charms bar. Type or paste C:\windows.old and press Enter to launch it.

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sorry, where would find this C'windows old'. I did try the c:windows\username\Appdata\\roaming\mozilla\firefox\profiles one but just got ones for todays date. the other one, microsoft.com/en-us, ....etc etc one i wasn't sure where to enter that one, but did try it at some point - now forgotten as been doing this too long!!

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okay - will try that - need a screen break!

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okay - that gave me: Intel, OEM, PerfLogs (Aug '13), Prog.files (April '14), Prog.files(x84) (today's date), Prog.data (today's date), Users and Windows (today's date). any good|?

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Users is good. Try to drill down to:


Do you find anything there?

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okay, getting somewhere, managed to get to what looks like what i lost - ie my Avast file there, mozilla (haven't gone into them yet) - if they are what i want, how do i get them actually 'Back' where they were before all this? (thnkas by the way, could not have done this without you)

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I can't advise on the avast, but for Firefox:

(1) Let's start by creating a new Firefox profile. Then we will copy your old files into it. This way, if something goes wrong, you will still have plenty of opportunity to try again.

Exit Firefox and start up in the Profile Manager using Start > search box (or Run):

firefox.exe -P

Do not delete any profiles.

Click the Create Profile button and choose a name such as OldSettings. Click through, skipping the option to change the folder. Then start Firefox in the new OldSettings profile.

(2) Open the new Firefox profile folder using either:

  • "3-bar" menu button > "?" button > Troubleshooting Information
  • Help menu > Troubleshooting Information

In the first table on the page, click the "Show Folder" button. This should displays numerous files and folders, which are your current Firefox settings files.

Keep this open, but go ahead and exit out of Firefox.

(3) Once Firefox is finished updating the files in the new profile folder, select them all and delete. Important: make sure you are deleting the new files, not the ones you want to save.

(4) Copy the old files into the new folder.

Keeping your new folder open, switch over to viewing the old folder.

(A) Double-click into your old profile folder and select all the files. Right-click any of the selected files and choose Copy.

Switch over to the new folder.

(B) Right-click a blank area, and choose Paste. This probably will take a while to complete.

Start Firefox up again and your old settings should be in effect. Success?

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well as we say in the UK, 'blimey'! not sure if i am capable of this. Some it I get, but as i have never (sorry to admit) copy nor pasted in my life, could be hard. Think i need to do tomorrow as now 11.38 pm and i've been on this for hours, so not a good time to start something complicated (for me that is). I am so angry with Windows!! And no idea how to get my Avast on which is kinda important!

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Okay - i have got as far as 'show' folder,which brings up the windows page with all the folders (today's date),ie Bookmarks bACKUP etc. I now just get today's new profile FF page, which i presume is okay.

However the next part is a bit hazy for me (please bear with me!). y0u say 'keep open' but exit FF - how do I exit exactly whilst keeping this open? Then, 'once FF finishes updating in new profile folder' - how do i know this has happened? ' select them all and delete' - how do i 'select' (am i given an option?) them and delete them. As you say i am deleting 'new' files, i am confused now. sorry to be so dim as i've never had proper instruction on using a computer, it's all be trial and error!!

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Leave the file list open, switch to Firefox, and exit Firefox. While viewing the file list, you should be able to switch to Firefox by clicking a Firefox button on the Windows task bar (by default, it runs along the bottom of the Desktop). This way, you do not need to close the file list.

When Firefox exits, it updates a bunch of files. You will notice that the date/time for many files in the list will update to the current date/time. Usually done in about 10 seconds.

You may think of select in terms of highlighting, as that is the visual effect of clicking an item in a list. To select all files in a file list you can use either of these methods:

  • click a blank area of the list, then press Ctrl+a ("select all")
  • single-click the first file, then hold down the Shift key and press the End key once

To Delete the selected files, press the Delete key once and if Windows asks, confirm that you want to move files to the Recycle Bin.

Does that get you to the next step?

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Hi, thanks for this new explanation. I will have to do tomorrow as have been on here nearly all day trying to sort out other problmes that arose after the refresh, which looks like it was a Reset (according to teccie on line who has been helping to me to clean stuff up). I am completely tecced out and can't think straight, so will not even attempt the above tonight. Wil come back to you when i do - and thanx again.

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Sorry am giving up on this - it just doesn't work in my brain with old folder and new folders, etc etc. not sure which one i am in at the time, so will just begin again. but i have one question - now i at least can find the 'old' ones, can i open them\? ie by clicking on them or do i have to do something complicated? Sorry about this, but am just not good with this stuff when it all goes wrong.

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There are ways to view the old files, but the internal formats of many of them are hard to process with the human brain...

If we are less ambitious and just grab your old bookmarks, would that still be a win?

In the Windows.old folder, you were looking here:


In there, you found at least one partially randomly named profile folder. Inside that, you should find a folder named bookmarkbackups containing several files that contain dates in the names.

Copy a few of the most recent files from bookmarkbackups to your desktop. For example, you can right-click the files and choose Copy. Then right-click your desktop and choose Paste.

The procedure for restoring this bookmark backup to your currently running Firefox will completely replace your existing bookmarks. So if you have saved new bookmarks that you didn't have in your old setup, you should export them first. Here's the full procedure:

(1) (Optional) Export existing bookmarks to an HTML file. This file can be read by most browsers. This article has the steps: Export Firefox bookmarks to an HTML file to back up or transfer bookmarks.

(2) Restore one of the backup files from your desktop. This article has the steps: Restore bookmarks from backup or move them to another computer.

(3) (Optional) If you created an HTML file in step 1, import that back in. This article has the steps: Import Bookmarks from an HTML file.

You can use the Library dialog (Ctrl+Shift+b or Bookmarks > Show All Bookmarks) to reorganize your bookmarks after importing.

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Yes that'd be fine. I will try and process this in my poor old brain tomorrow! I did click on the one that said bookmarkbackups, but left clicked and just got a page of gobbledygook!! didn't think to right click, so will have a look at that and give it a go. \i will mark this session as 'solved' now but thank you again for all your help and patience. i'm better at 'hands on' learning with these things, ie a person actually showing me and doing it, not much cop at instructions!! Cheers.

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Hi, I have the same problem. I can find the folder C:\Windows.old and from there I can find Mozilla. However, that's as far as I can get. Can anybody advise how I can go about restoring my old bookmarks. Thet are essential to my work!

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Hi craigmclaugh, can you find this folder (inserting your own username of course):


If AppData is invisible, please start back at the top of this thread where I link to Microsoft's article on how to see into that folder.

If you can drill down to Profiles but it's empty, then we have a problem...