So I have a Windows 7 laptop as my primary computer, and I do all my gaming on it. My GPU has a nasty habit of overheating and forcing my computer to shut off for safety if I don't babysit it, as in a hard power cut. Unfortunately I have not been in the habit of running a disk check or system file check whenever this happens. It happens about once a week and I've had this computer for years.
Today I decided to clear some space for the first time in years, and I ran the built-in disk cleanup utility - it told me it could clear 42 gigs of temporary files, so of course I hit OK. After that, I tried to open a command prompt window (I had literally had one open a mere hour ago) and it told me that it could not find cmd.exe. Nor can it find regedit.exe. Or sfc.exe. Many control panel items are broken. It seems that random files all over my hard drive are now mysteriously missing.
I'm running a virus scan now but I'm pretty confident it's my own fault and not a virus. Not having access to the command prompt or system file checker to restore system files with means I am pretty much SOL. My computer didn't come with an install disk or repair disk either. All my important files are in the cloud already but I am deathly afraid to turn off my computer because I fear it will not turn back on.
If you know anything I can do, or know where I can download official copies of cmd.exe and sfc.exe, I'd very much appreciate it.
Note: I have no idea what could cause this so will just throw out random ideas
Guessing you did check in System32 etc for the programs just to make sure it didn't do something stupid like remove all of the PATH directories.
I know system restore can help with getting system files back, I don't know how well it works after a disk cleanup.
There are a lot of free tools to get back data that you recently deleted, I have never tried any though. I don't know of any official cmd downloads (I'm sure I can be proven wrong here) but give a few system specs and we can prob help you with some of them?
I copied cmd.exe and sfc.exe from a family member's Win7 but they still don't work. I only have about 670 files in my system32 compared to thousands on my family member's computer. I think there's just too much damage in random areas of my computer to find and replace all the missing files.
EDIT: The virus scan finished and found absolutely nothing. :(
Yeah, it seems that something got screwed up with the disk cleanup and marked a whole slew of vital files as bad. Do any of your family have a Windows 7 computer and a disk drive that can burn disks? You can make a Windows 7 repair disk that way.
I have to develop for Windows and Visual Studio 2015 is totally worth it.
I shut it down and when it came back up the startup repair quickly told me it was unsalvageable. Thankfully Toshiba is wonderful and there was a built in tool to reformat the drive and reset it to factory default. http://i.imgur.com/NuJBwSk.jpg
I tried but some DLL or other was missing and it wouldn't even open. The only working programs were Chrome and Google Drive because they were already open. I got all my remaining important files into the cloud, tried a few last ditch attempt to fix the problem, and then shut down.
Upon reformatting the machine I actually got to see the installation screens that they would see at the factory before the system gets shipped to the customer, including the installation of bloatware. It was a fully automatic process but I could press the Windows key to temporarily display the start menu, and from time to time I'd see the desktop as it shut down and started back up again between installing drivers.
In my experience, restore points never work. In fact, restoring from them seems to leave the system in an even less usable state. The only thing that works for me is leaving the system in a dedicated partition and cloning.
Yanking power from the file system should be a rare occurrence, not part of everyday operations. Rather than scanning for errors (although you should do that anyway any time you lose power) you should not let it overheat in the first place. An overheating computer has a poorly designed/maintained cooling system. If the computer is several years old, the thermal grease under the heat sinks has probably gone bad. We recently regreased an old computer we had lying around and the CPU temperature on idle went down by 15-20° C, IIRC, enough to prevent it from shutting off spontaneously.
If this still doesn't help, it might be worth investing in a second cooling solution.
Helios, in my case it's been quite the opposite. Having restore points saved my data after two(!) hard drive failures due to slow and steady overheating (slim desktop, hard drive crammed into the back with no vents, and I added a GPU).
This was less of a hard drive failure and more of a file system failure. Anyway, 200+ updates later I am finally back on my computer reinstalling all the things. At least, some of them - I want to go light for the Win10 upgrade and then install everything.
Fun story, I actually bricked Windows Update the first time I reset my machine to factory default, so for the second time in the same 48 hour period I had to reformat my hard drive.