All My Files Are Gone After a Windows 10 Update! 2021

All My Files Are Gone After a Windows 10 Update! 2021

When an in home computer client called in Honolulu Hawaii telling me all his files were gone after a Windows update, I knew it was either a coincidence and he had a computer virus or Microsoft was keeping their track record of releasing bad updates. Either way I told him not to touch the computer until I got there. If you're on Oahu for a computer repair house call or anywhere in the United States and speak English and choose NOT to have a professional computer repair technician handle this such as myself, I am NOT responsible for any damage you cause by getting into your Windows registry.

I would consider STOPPING right now trying to fix your own computer and texting me at 808.224.1870 so that I can help you with a housecall or remotely.

You May Find This Video Helpful If You’re Going Against My Advice and Not Calling a Professional.

Remember, the registry is the brains of your computer. You really should call a tech. NOT someone who knows a little more about computers than you do - A TECH!

To be clear this is not my video.

Directions on Fixing Your Own Computer’s Bad Profile and Loss of Files Against My Recommendation of Not Calling a Professional

Press Windows Key + X. Click on Powershell or type cmd in the search at the bottom of your screen.
Right mouse click on Command Prompt
Left click on Run as Administrator

In the black window, type the following command and press Enter.

net user Administrator /active:yes

I didn't find this necessary but the directions are there if you need them.

Now log off or restart your computer if you had to create the admin profile. On the log in screen, a new account named Administrator will now appear. Log in through it.

Correcting The Registry Entry

Log in through the built-in Administrator account if the one your on won't let you. Sometimes temp profiles are restricted.

Press Windows key + R. In the run window, type regedit and press Enter. Click Yes if the UAC warning appears.

In the left pane go to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE-SOFTWARE-Microsoft-Windows- NT-CurrentVersion-ProfileList

Or just press Ctrl f on the keyboard and type in profilelist

Under ProfileList in the left pane, locate the SID keys which are something like “S-1-5-21..blah blah. You will see two or more of these SID keys

Find the profile that has a Ref count. It will probably be one.

Double click on Ref count

Set it to 0


Now check for Windows updates

Start>Settings>Windows Update

Run it even if it says it’s updated to date. The bad update may have been repaired.

Restart the computer

That fixed the profile for my in home computer client in Honolulu.

If that fixed it you’re done. Send me One million dollars so I can retire.

If You Still Don’t Have Your Files from The Bad Windows Update

Go back into the registry to the same place HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE-SOFTWARE-Microsoft-Windows- NT-CurrentVersion-ProfileList

One Profile will have .bak at the end. The one with .bak is the link to your inaccessible profile and there will be one other that is to the temporary profile you are currently using.

Rename those keys by giving them the .bak ending by right mouse clicking on them. Remember what I tell my in home and remote computer tutoring students - “Right mouse click for a menu. Left mouse click for an action.” Many of my peers recommend deleting these keys. I tend to be cautious in deleting items in the Registry.

Right click on the “S-1-5-21…blah.bak and delete “.bak” from the end of the key. NOT THE KEY JUST .BAK. Close the window. Restart your computer.

If that doesn’t work, stop trying to do it yourself before you completely screw up your computer. CALL SOMEONE!

When You’re Finished Successfully Troubleshooting Your Computer

Press Windows Key + x or right mouse click on Start (Windows logo). Click on Command Prompt (Admin).

In the black window, type the following command and press Enter.

net user Administrator /active:no
This removes the Admin profile. I usually make sure my in home computer clients have two profiles for emergency access. 

My In Home Computer Client's Files Were Still Not There!

In this case they had been deleted by the Microsoft update. It's happened before. Fortunately he had found them before the update deleted them and backed them up to an external hard drive.

THIS brings up the importance of regular backups. If you're running a business, I highly recommend a 30 day FREE trial of Dr. Backup. A peace of mind managed backup service for both you and your clients' data.

If you're a computer user. Download my backup program I wrote using all native functions built into Windows so there would never be a block by antivirus software.

Remember, all computers and devices crash. Are you prepared?

Final Bit of Advice

Don’t play catch up with something as important as your computer files and photos. Have me clean and optimize your computer every four months to keep it running fast and efficient. I’ll see things and catch things before you see them.

Enjoy your computer,


J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc.

Mobile Computer Support for Oahu

Remote Computer Support for The English Speaking United States

Author: Admin

Dual certified teacher, tutor and computer expert.