Today my mother was going to upgrade from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S, so, naturally, I backed up her iPhone so that she could restore from it when we came back with her new one. As I know that backing up through syncing can be problematic, I backed up by right-clicked on the iPhone and clicking "back up". I did this multiple times (to both the computer and to iCloud) and each finished successfully without error, as it said "Last restored: 12:05" for both.
So when I was setting up the new iPhone (on the phone itself), I signed into her Apple ID account (which was successful) and chose "Restore from iCloud" and it said "No backups available".
I thought that was odd, so I selected "Restore from iTunes" and went onto iTunes. There are NO backups available for her iPhone ("Jackie's iPhone"). NONE. Not even the older ones which were there the other day! All of mine are there ("Ben's iPhone") for the past year or so and NOTHING ELSE. In this situation everyone always says that iTunes has simply lost track of the backups and that they're still in the filing system. Next, I went to "%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" and they aren't there either.. So, I enabled hidden folders, hidden protected Operating System files and checked my Recycle Bin (which hasn't been emptied for days) and there is NO trace that they were ever there. The amount of folders in MobileSync\Backup perfectly match the amount of Restore options in iTunes..
How has this happened? I've restored her iPhone from her backups before without issue. How could they have disappeared?
I set up the iPhone as a new phone, signed in to iCloud and reviewed the settings and it seems that iCloud backup was never enabled and no iCloud space has been used. I don't know whether this is only disabled because it's a newly setup phone and it's a per-device setting or what, but it could potentially explain the lack of iCloud backups. Also, when I went to sign into iCloud in Settings (after a complete restore to factory settings and basic configuration) my personal email address, not hers, was already in the login field, despite me never having entered it in the setup process at all. Something weird's going on here..
Jailbroken State: Never
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate, x64