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My computer shut down due to low battery as I was viewing a .ai file in illustrator. That file had been saved with about 10 other .ai files in the same folder. When I restarted, that file plus ALL other .ai files in that folder had disappeared - I can't see them in file explorer, illustrator, search ect. Oddly, that whole folder containing those files and all its contents had been marked 'hidden'. Showing hidden files, and then removing hidden status from the folder did not make the files reappear. No other file formats in that folder were affected (other than the being hidden).
I'm using AI version 24.1.1. Windows 10 enterprise, version 21H2.
I've searched for an answer to this both here and elsewhere. The post 'Illustrator files disappeared after installing new version / unistalling old version of illustrator' linked below has a lot of similarities to my case, but is not identical.
Any ideas about what happened would be very welcome for help now and to prevent this in the future. I can regenerate the files I did not yet have backups for, but would much rather avoid a long tedious day replicating everything.
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We are sorry for the trouble. It seems you have contacted our technical support team, and a call back was arranged. We tried reaching out to you multiple times but reached voicemail. I would recommend you reach out to them as this is not typical Illustrator behavior, and they will be able to better investigate the issue. Even after the laptop crashes, all other files which weren't open shouldn't disappear from the folder or get hidden.
However, you can try and prevent this in the future by saving your work as an Illustrator Cloud Document. Cloud Documents will be an excellent option to avoid a situation like this as they automatically get versioned, and you will be able to retrieve previous document versions as your work goes through multiple review iterations.
This way, you will have no compatibility & performance issues. Also, you can share your files with others and collaborate with ease. To learn more about this, visit this help article (https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/share-and-collaborate.html).
I hope this helps!