I work for a company with a very large SharePoint environment. We also have both development and staging environments. HP is contracted to maintain the hardware and the operating system on all of our windows servers.
Months back, we received an notification that HP performed a cleaning of the c: drives on all production Windows server environments. Specifically, they deleted user profiles and the c:WindowsInstaller directory amongst other things. I raised an alarm about them deleting the files in the installer directory (that directory is hidden for a reason). But unfortunately, the damage was done. Though they said they had not touched anything but production environments.
We tried to perform a cumulative update to our SP2010 dev environment but it failed. It did not give us any specific error when it did so. Suddenly, I noticed that the icons for the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell, SharePoint 2010 Central Administration and SharePoint 2010 Products Configuration Wizard were replaced with general blank/disassociated icons. Not good. When I investigated, I found the installer directory was empty.
SharePoint also became unrepairable. Fortunately, our SharePoint 2010 production environment is untouched and is functioning properly. I’m taking a shot in the dark and copying out the installer files from prod to our stage environment hoping that will resolve our issues. We contacted Microsoft and opened a trouble ticket to help resolve the issue. Despite their very creative efforts, in the end, their suggestion was to reinstall SharePoint. While troubleshooting we were able to verify absolutely that the lack of installer files was the issue (we built a log that said the installer was trying to find specific updates in the installer directory, but were not there). A rebuild is not a very viable solution as we have a lot of custom code and configurations in place and will take a lot of time and effort to stand back up properly.
Three weeks later. Despite our best efforts. It looks like a complete OS reinstall is going to be the only viable solution.