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The Curse of the Undead File...


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#1 Mumble

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 04:10 PM

OK, this really is a strange one (even for me!! rolleyes.gif) that I'm hoping someone can explain if not help me with.

Several weeks ago I was doing some 'spring cleaning' of my computer files: putting them into folders or deleting ones I didn't need.

Whilst moving one document (a pdf scanned image) I accidentally dropped it onto the desktop rather than where it was going and a copy of it became a desktop icon (I still have a copy which is now in the folder I want it in). No problem, I've done that before, just drag it into the recycle bin. When I'd finished my spring cleaning I emptied my recycle bin then later that evening shut down my computer as normal.

The next day when I started up my computer the pdf document was still on my desktop as an icon. That's odd, I thought, I'm sure I got rid of you, but went through the process of getting rid of it again. Shut down my computer, next day, it was back.

This has happened every day. So I thought I'd be clever and tried right clicking and deleting instead of dragging - still the undead file returned. I then tried putting it in the folder where I have a copy of it thinking they would somehow merge (ok, I don't get computers!!) but still it returns everytime I restart/turn on my computer.

This file seriously does not want to go away!! I've tried dropping other things on my desktop, but I can get rid of them - it's just this one file!!

Of course, it couldn't be any old file, it happens to be a scanned image of a highly confidential medical letter wallbash.gif that I really don't want to be on my desktop for others to find.

Any ideas how I get rid of this undead file - do I need to call an exorcist? ph34r.gif ph34r.gif laughing.gif


#2 baddad

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 07:43 PM

Hi mumble -

I'm not really 'up' on this kind of thing, but are you sure if it's a PDF file that it's not just a desktop shortcut to 'Adobe Acrobat Reader'? Could be that 'reader' opens with the last file you looked at pre-loaded.
Try 'opening' the shortcut, closing the document (but not reader) then opening a different PDF document and closing the programme from that document.
If you then click on the desktop shortcut again, you'll know (if it opens the original doc) that the shortcut applies to the file, whereas if it opens the last (different) file you had open that it's a shortcut to Acrobat Reader...
The reason I'm asking all of this is that Ben's PC also had a reappearing Acrobat Reader shortcut, and it was a buggy bit of writing with that version's (one of the 'seven' generation of readers, I think) installation - every time you opened reader it created a new desktop icon...
The problem fixed itself when I next upgraded to Reader 8 or whatever.

If it's 'reader' and you can't get rid of it any other way, try unistalling reader and then deleting the shortcut, then reinstalling reader.

Other than that I wouldn't have a clue. If it wasn't a document you had made/scanned yourself I'd be thinking of a 'boot exe file' somewhere in your start up settings - effectively a piece of home grown malware - but I wouldn't have a clue about how to make one on purpose, let alone by accident!

Try the above and see what you get, but either way someone will hopefully happen along who's a bit more nollidgeabel about this kind of stuff!

L&P

BD biggrin.gif

#3 Mumble

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 08:46 PM

Nope, didn't work. It's really really odd. Like me. wacko.gif


#4 flipper

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 11:01 PM

QUOTE (Mumble @ Aug 20 2009, 09:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nope, didn't work. It's really really odd. Like me. wacko.gif


OK, let's try this.

Your desktop is really just another folder on your computer. What appears on your desktop is also in this folder.
Now, to complicate matters, there is more than one Desktop folder. There's your own personal one, there's one for "All Users", one for "Default User" and one for anyone and everyone else who might log on to your computer.

It sounds to me like the PDF document is actually in either the Default Users desktop or, more likely, in the All Users Desktop.

Still with me?

Firstly, then, are you an administrator on your PC? (If you are, you shouldn't be browsing the web using this account, but that's another story)

If you're not sure, then try this:
Right-click on the Start Button (or the Windows button in Vista)

If you get a Short menu with Open, Explore, Properties (and possibly an Anti-Virus link), then you're not an administrator.
If you get a longer menu that has the same PLUS 2 more options: Explore All Users and Open All Users, then you ARE an administrator.

Things are slightlu different between XP and Vista, so I'm going to take a guess and go with Vista - if you have XP, then let me know and I'll change the instructions.

Choose the Explore option, then find the Users folder on the C: drive.
Open Users and find Default
Open Default and find Desktop

If your PDF is in Desktop, then delete it.

To be double-sure, find your name in the Users folder, then find the Desktop folder and, if the PDF is in there as well, delete it!

One final tip - when you press the Delete key, hold down the Shift Key as well - that means "Permanently Delete" - it doesn't send it to the Recycle Bin. Use with care, though, it's much more difficult to recover files this way (not impossible, just much harder).

Hope that helps.
Phil





#5 Mumble

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 08:15 AM

QUOTE (flipper @ Aug 21 2009, 12:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Things are slightly different between XP and Vista, so I'm going to take a guess and go with Vista - if you have XP, then let me know and I'll change the instructions.

I have XP rolleyes.gif

I checked the administrator thing and I had the extra two so I guess I am ... unsure.gif But I am the only person who has access to my laptop so there are no users apart from me. Does that make a difference? unsure.gif


#6 flipper

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 08:52 AM

QUOTE (Mumble @ Aug 21 2009, 09:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have XP rolleyes.gif

I checked the administrator thing and I had the extra two so I guess I am ... unsure.gif But I am the only person who has access to my laptop so there are no users apart from me. Does that make a difference? unsure.gif


Ah, typical, I could have sworn you got a new laptop recently!

On XP, choose Explore All Users, then you should find yourself in the "Documents and Settings Folder"

You need to find the Desktop folder in the following users:
All Users
Default User
Administrator (if there is one, there might not be)

and delete the PDF if any of those, if it's there.

(The reason for not being logged on as an administrator is that it's easier for nasty software to be installed without you realising. I'd recommend you create a new user account for yourself - Control Panel / Users - as a "normal" user, and surf the web using that. Only switch to your administrator account when you know you want to install something new).

Phil

#7 Mumble

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:28 AM

QUOTE (flipper @ Aug 21 2009, 09:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ah, typical, I could have sworn you got a new laptop recently!

Fairly recently, you're right, but I asked for it to be made with XP rather than vista (not doing change and all... laughing.gif)

QUOTE
and delete the PDF if any of those, if it's there.

It's not there. wacko.gif (the rest of my desktop icons are so I know I'm looking in the right place)


Time to call the exorcist? ph34r.gif ph34r.gif


#8 flipper

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:33 AM

QUOTE (Mumble @ Aug 21 2009, 10:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Fairly recently, you're right, but I asked for it to be made with XP rather than vista (not doing change and all... laughing.gif)


It's not there. wacko.gif (the rest of my desktop icons are so I know I'm looking in the right place)


Time to call the exorcist? ph34r.gif ph34r.gif


Hmmm... now I like a challenge...

Is it a shortcut or is it the actual document? (Shortcuts usually have little arrows in the bottom corner).

Could you attach a screen shot? (To do this, make sure you have no applications running, then, with the desktop on show, press the PrtScrn or PrintScreen button. Then, run Paint (in the Accessories group) and choose Edit / Paste. Then, click on one of the buttons on the left hand side. Then save the image as a JPG file and attach it here).

#9 Mumble

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:48 AM

QUOTE (flipper @ Aug 21 2009, 10:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hmmm... now I like a challenge...

Is it a shortcut or is it the actual document? (Shortcuts usually have little arrows in the bottom corner).

Could you attach a screen shot? (To do this, make sure you have no applications running, then, with the desktop on show, press the PrtScrn or PrintScreen button. Then, run Paint (in the Accessories group) and choose Edit / Paste. Then, click on one of the buttons on the left hand side. Then save the image as a JPG file and attach it here).

It's a real document, not a shortcut.

One interesting thing which I don't know if it is relevant or not, when I start my computer all the other icon things come up quickly but that one doesn't come up for quite a while (lures me into a false sense of security... shame.gif)

I'll PM you the screenshot smile.gif




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