Hidden Needles in Haystacks.

I was running a search on my computer to find some files I had mislaid. I wasn’t even sure of the names, but guessed that they were jpeg files, as they were pictures. Well, having so little to go on, the computer took a while to finish listing all the .jpeg files on the machine, as you can imagine. It took even longer for me to sift through them to find the files I was looking for – which I eventually did.

While doing so, I noticed certain files being repeated very often, and this intrigued me, for they were not files I was familiar with. I clicked on one of them, and found myself in a folder well down on the chain, in an unexpected part of the hard drive. The first part of the address was:-
Local Disk(C:)> Users > JS > AppData > Roaming > Mozilla > Firefox > Profiles > 93m8vpct.default

There were many files in this folder that I knew nothing about, but as the size was nearly 200Mb I thought it worthwhile investigating. The problem was to find them again!

When I used File Explorer to follow the chain listed above, it came up with only Local Disk(C:)>Users > JS > AppData > Roaming > Mozilla > Firefox > Profiles > c9l1c1v6.default

There was no sign of 93m8vpct.default at all!

The trick then was to paste the missing folder name into the search facility, and let File Explorer find it for you, which it did! To avoid further problems, I cut that folder, and pasted it onto the Desktop, where I could see it.

It turned out that many of these files were duplicates of files already in use, and some were the result of epub’s being generated and then disappearing. I thought I had lost them, but they were there after all. I was able to move the files I wanted to their rightful place, and delete the duplicates. I saved probably 150 Mb of disk space – very helpful.

So, File Explorer will access parts of the hard drive that you are not supposed to see when running a search on its own. The more accurate you can be when asking what to search for, the better chance you have of finding those hidden files quickly.