Folder with files disappeared

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by occasionallyxxx, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. occasionallyxxx, Jan 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2013
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Hello, everyone. I'm new to these forums but hope to get some help from experienced users.

    So the question is:
    I had a folder BASE in which I had several files and a folder ARCHIVE. I had to move files from BASE to the folder ARCHIVE. I opened two finder windows (1.BASE; 2.ARCHIVE), selected all files and dragged them from BASE to ARCHIVE (holding CMD key to move files). The problem is I accidentally selected the folder ARCHIVE along with the files. It means I moved folder into itself. Finder windows closed and now I can't find files and folder. Folder BASE exists but it is empty. I tried CMD+Z to undo but with no luck.

    Is there a way to return the files and the folder. Where could they be gone? Trash is empty, I checked.

    Hope for some help. Thank you in advance.

    Guys, I am really desparate. Can't figure out the way to get all this stuff back. I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you.
  2. chown33, Jan 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013

    macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    First, restart your computer and see if a folder or files reappear.

    Second, I tried replicating what you described, and the Finder prohibits it. It won't allow me to drag the Archive folder from Base onto the Archive window. Finder shows a circle-with-backslash Prohibition badge on the cursor, and if I try to drop the dragged content it goes back to its original place.

    Since Finder should prohibit this, did you use a program other than Finder? If so, what was it?

    Third, were Base and Archive on your internal hard disk, or on an external disk, or a USB flash drive, or perhaps a shared disk on a network?


    Please identify your OS version.

    Snow Leopard Finder has some bugs that can make things disappear, even though they're still there on disk. I don't know a reliable way of triggering the problem, but I've seen it enough times that my usual response is to close windows and reopen. Only rarely have I had to restart.
  3. macrumors 601

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    So, you don't backup your files? If not, I guess you'll start doing that now.

    I can't wrap my mind around what might have happened. I'd have to set something up and do that myself to see what it does. But it seems to me that it should do exactly what you told it to do, and that you'd have Archive in Archive with all the files except the ones you moved from Base. But maybe I'm thinking about how it would react with Copy, not Move.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2013
    Kiev, Ukraine
    First of all thank you very much for your reply.
    I am using Mac OS X 10.6.8 with original Finder app with no plugins or addons. The files and folder were stored on the additional harddrive (it is placed on my computer). This harddrive's content is shared for everyone to use in our office. The operations I had described previously were done on this additional harddrive. Restarting did no use. I tried to do the same operation on that same additional harddrive again with some txt files and another folder and it did what you told. It did not move the files and a folder. Maybe that was really a bug or something but still I can't find those files even after rebooting. Is there some kind of a journal on Mac OS where I can find the list of actions performed on this machine? Maybe I can find the answer there if I can find what happened yesterday at that time?
    Thank you in advance.


    Yep, I don't backup files. But the files are stored on additional 1 Tb hard-drive. Anyway I told my boss about it that there should be separate server with all info stored on it but still no use.
    I am trying to figure out why this happened to avoid it in the future and for my own knowledge.
    Thank you.
  5. macrumors 603


    Try this, download Easyfind, a nice small App which does as it says, easily finding files.
    It finds any file whether it is invisible or hidden in an App or whatsoever.
    It's also easy to use, if you know the exact name of one file which was inside that folder it will find it.

    Also, they might have become invisible, what happens if you get info on the folder (Command-I)?
    How big is the folder in Info?

    Easyfind Link.
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2013
    Kiev, Ukraine
    So I tried EasyFind and searched the whole harddrive instead of only searching inside that particular folder. No luck. As for the folder size it is 4,81 GB and it pretty much tells the size of it's contents so I doubt there are any hidden files or folders as those files and folder which disappeared should be about 3-4 GB. It's a real mystery but I think there just disappeared (deleted). Should be more careful selecting files next time. Still don't understand if it was a bug or what?
    Thank you for your help.
  7. macrumors 603


    Sad to hear, but there are ways to see where big files are located, have you ever tried such programs, it maps your files and shows all the big ones in colours.

    Disk Inventory X is one such program.

    Now, it's of course up to you if you still want to try.
    If EasyFind did not find it they are most likely gone, last option would be to use recovery software.
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2013
    Kiev, Ukraine

    Well, I have spent nearly 2 days searching for them and with no luck. So I am pretty sure they are gone.

    It's a pity it happened on Mac. I have been a Mac user for about 2 years now and never had any problems. Should use some backup software.

    By the way is TimeMachine good for the job or I should try some third-party app? What would you advise?

    Once again thank you very much for your help.
  9. macrumors 603


    I use Carbon Copy cloner, the reason I use this is because it is bootable, and there is also options to use scheduled backups.
    I set mine up to schedule my Home folder backup every day and a full backup every week.
    But, if you make a lot of new files this could be shorter, like 1 hour backups for the home folder and daily for the whole system.

    CCC is free up until 3.4.6 and you can configure to not delete older stuff, it will make a folder with dates and time on the root with all files changed.

    But, TimeMachine is the easier one.
  10. macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Time Machine, better yet since you're sharing files on your network get a Synology NAS (which is also a Time Machine) and will let you set permissions, personal folders, etc...

    PS setup a DropBox account while you're at it.
  11. macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Just saw this thread. You obviously should not be able to put a folder within itself. But you might be able to recover using Disk Utility. Then do a "Repair Disk". Although I haven't done this on a Mac (I have under Unix, and OS X is based on Unix) recovered files should appear in /Lost+Found but the file names will be lost and replaced with arbitrary names.

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