Actions do not load by default. When Photoshop create a set of default preferences for you its Action Palette's preference file has Default.atn contents in it.
When you load actions and record actions Photoshop updates your "Actions Palette.psp" Photoshop Preference file when you close Photoshop down so the next time all the Action Sets you have loaded and Actions you have recorded and loaded are available to you.
On a Windows 7 system user ID preferences are stored in "C:\Users\Your User ID\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6\Adobe Photoshop CS6 Settings"
You need to load it from the Actions Panel then.
There is a Presets/Actions folder both in the application’s folder and the user library.
Edit: atn files in those positions should be available in the Actions Panel’s fly out menu.
Looked in folders suggested and have deleted all .atn files I could find. All action folders show as now being empty but when I start photoshop the actions appear again - its as though there is a hidden folder. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
Yes by Apple and Windows default setting the folders the Photoshop Preferences are stored is hidden. You can change your OS setting so you can see these. Read my first append for file name and windows 7 locations.
If you deleted all the *.atn files you need to recover them you have deleted all Photoshop's actions the only one still available are in your Photoshop preference file "Actions Palette.psp" Reset your preferences and all you will have are the ones in Photoshop default.atn.
Message was edited by: JJMack