I googled the above problem (didn't find a solution as you might see) and stumbled upon your great forum.
Basically, I installed a program, but I accidently changed the installation destination to a general folder (D:\program files (x86)) so the files were all messed up, so obviously I uninstalled it so I can install it properly, than the weird stuff started happening. After the uninstall, ALL OF THE FILES (aside from 3 folders: Internet Download Manager, Firefox and another one that I forgot) were gone, completely, not hidden, just gone. Have absolutely no idea what happened. I have no viruses/spyware/malware/etc... (according to a full AVG scan), tried System Restore (didn't work) and tried a restart.
I'm lost, this is a brand new PC with Windows 7 64Bit Home Premium, just got it last week. Took me that entire week to install the programs and games, its fkn annoying. I'm trying an Error check on the drive, but its slow as hell.
What is even weirder is that all the shortcuts remain, but there is no parent folder for them according to Windows.
Crud, I miss XP...
Could anyone help out?
The files defo got deleted, I don't know how. I have to reinstall everything since some of the files found by the recovery program are corrupted. Oh well, could be worse...
What program and how did you uninstall, using the uninstall routine from Windows or by deleting the files.
"I accidently changed the installation destination to a general folder (D:\program files (x86))" that looks pretty specific to me, normally you would install to C:\Program Files\name of program being installed.
If you didn't manualy direct the other instalations to (D:\program files (x86)) check if the missing programs are in the C:\Program Files directory, you may need to reinstall them to fix the problem.
If this is a brand name pc, like Acer, HP or whatever, then it may be easier to restore to factory settings.
If you choose this option make sure to make a backup of your data files first.
If it's a home instalation of W7, the same applies except you would need to reinstall all your installed programs.
By the way, with the problem you describe, and how it came about, XP would not be of any more help to you. This is simply a user error and the OS is neither here nor there.