I just started my laptop and found all my profiles gone.
My Firefox addons gone, background image is different, desktop icons are differeent etc etc.
I am not sure what happened.
Can anyone tell me how to fix this please?
Have you tried the built-in "System Restore" function of Vista? Give that a try; reset back to a few days ago, and see if that fixes it.
If not then unfortunately there's about 1000 other 'answers', all of which would require further interrogation. I believe that interrogation would go beyond the scope of this single question, and you may want to consider taking it to someone who knows what they're doing before going too far trying to 'fix' it.
This is a bit similar like: "I felt a sharp pain in my arm and now I can't move my leg." We don't have enough information about what happened exactly. To find what happened, the best way would be by visiting a specialist. If there's no hurry, just continue to wait for answers here but be aware that the longer you use that laptop, the smaller the chance of recovery will be.
My first guess is that you've re-installed Vista again. Then all you can do is put back a backup, if you have one. Else, sorry... Your data will be gone although a specialist might recover it for an enormous amount of cash.
Or maybe you've logged on with a different user account. In that case, log in with your regular account again.
There are a lot more reasons why this happened so we will need to know what you did -exactly- before this all happened.
First of all you should open up my computer and navigate to c:\users**your username**\documents, just to see if all of your data is there.
If you did find your data it means that the current profile has been damaged, the safe way to repair the problem would be to follow the instructions found here
This should correct the damaged profile and get you back up and running.
if there is no data to folder I pointed you to you can check c:\windows.old if it exists your data may be there as well.
If you do not see any data in the either folder you may wish to consult a recovery firm to attempt to recover any important lost data.
I have a vista laptop (Toshiba if that makes a difference). It works ok some times, but a lot of the time the disk seems to grid and the system is pretty unresponsive when I am not doing very much with it.
What can I turn off/remove to make it run faster? It seems that a lot of the default stuff doesn’t do me any good. But I am pretty sure if I just disable a load of services things will break.
Turning off aero can usually speed things up.
Edit: Here's some registry hacks. And turning off programs at start up (like Quicktime or MSN Messenger) I use CCleaner for this.
Actually, of all the big OEMs (HP, Dell, etc.), Toshiba is IMO the worst offender for putting preinstalled cruft in your Startup. On a laptop, you'll want some of it but there is a lot of stuff that shouldn't be running. Ditto for programs like Adobe Reader, Java, Quicktime, etc. that insist on shoving themselves into Startup. It isn't necessary to do registry hacks or run CCleaner for this purpose (although I do like it for maintenance*). All you need to do is manage your Startup to see what's going on. If you don't know what something is, you Google its name (or of course you can post back here if you can't find it). That way you can make an informed decision about whether you want it running in the background. After all, what you need to have run and what I need to have run may be different.
So here's how to manage your Startup on Vista:
Start Orb>Search box>type: msconfig and when it appears in the Results box above, right-click and choose "Run as Administrator".
If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue. Then see what is on the Startup tab. You don't need to restart immediately, but the next time you do you'll get a dialog saying you've used the Utility. Usually in Vista this will be blocked by Windows Defender and you'll need to allow it so you can then tick the box that says in effect, "don't bother me about this again".
Important - Do not use the System Configuration Utility to stop processes. Instead, use Services.
Start Orb>Search box>type: services and when it appears in the Results box above, right-click and choose "Run As Administrator". Confirm elevation as needed.
The free Autoruns program is very useful for managing your Startup
And of course, you need to have at least 2GB of RAM (memory) for Vista to run acceptably. If you have 1GB, consider adding another gig since RAM is cheap.
*Just don't use the registry cleaner part.