I have a friend with the same problem as I found by searching "Mydocuments and local user setting have all disappeared" but when we checked the hidden box, she can see the main folders but all of the files - docs pictures excel files - are gone. The folders all appear empty but she can open them from Recents and the show to be in her previous folders that are now gone. She had several pop ups that was telling her the C drive was corrupt and windows files were missing so I had her unhook the internet and they went away. Her Norton had run out so she was going to uninstall it and reinstall the version that came on CD so she was unprotected for a few days. but when she ran the new Norton and did a scan, all it showed bad were the cookies. We also downloaded Ad-Aware and scanned for spy junk and it showed nothing. The PC is an HP but I don't know more right now. It is only 2 months old. I am going to her house in the morning to see what I can find out but if you, saint19, see this tonight, can you give me any pointers on where to look? Her desktop image went away along with all the shortcuts except Recycle Bin, MS Word and Excel. Also, under the start button, she only sees Programs, and all of those folders show EMPTY. HELP!
We have figured out a MALWARE has infected her system that causes all of these problems. We have downloaded a thing called Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to get it fixed. cross our fingers - it is scanning now. We did get the items under the start button back by right clicking on the start button and 'unhiding' all the items. This Malware is a nasty one!
I've dealt with it many times (help desk calls) Once malwarebytes has removed all infections, you can unhide all the files. After that I have seen some issues but reinstalling whichever software is not working right usually fixes it. I would recommend a full windows reinstall after you have your files backed up to ensure everything is clean.