Locate a Missing File in Windows Vista
Vista gives you tools with which you can locate a missing file or folder. When you open a folder — or even look at your desktop — you expect to see everything it contains. But when something’s missing or there’s nothing inside, check these things before panicking:
Check the Search box. Whenever you type something into a folder’s Search box — that little box in the folder’s top-right corner — Vista begins looking for it by hiding everything that doesn’t match your search. If a folder isn’t showing everything it should, delete any words you see in the Search box.
Make sure that the desktop isn’t hiding everything. Vista tries to “clean up” the look of your PC. And because some people like an empty desktop, Vista’s happy to oblige. However, it doesn’t put your toys back into the closets where they belong. It just hides everything from view. To make sure that your desktop isn’t hiding things, right-click an empty part of your desktop, choose View, and select Show Desktop Icons.
If everything’s really gone, check out the previous versions of that folder. Vista not only tracks previous versions of files, but it also keeps track of a folder’s past life, as well.