Recovering Data ... Sad Story of the "Replace Folder" Dialog

Discussion in 'macOS' started by esaleris, May 7, 2006.

  1. esaleris macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2005
    Hi all,

    I'm a really recent switcher, with a long history with PCs. So far, the experiences have been great, but tonight, my PC history became a liability.

    I'm pretty handy with a Windows-based, so I know my way around the system quite well. But I was working on my Mac tonight. Having made my G4 PM my server, I was starting to move a folder from one drive to another, when decided that I wanted to reconsider where I was putting the folder. The process cancelled successfully and I had about 1 MB at the destination, and 50 GB still left on the source.

    Having canceled it, I wanted to remerge my folder back to the original folder. Simple, right? I dragged the smaller folder onto the 50 GB folder, and OS X prompted me to replace. There is a similar dialog on Windows - in fact, it is titled "Confirm Folder Replace" - that merges the folders together. I didn't think twice about it all and clicked yes...

    And OS X promptly deleted my 50 GB folder and left the 1 MB folder in its place. So. My bad.

    Having said that, what's the best way to recover my 50 GB worth of information? I haven't mucked with the machine so much, so I'm not afraid that the data's being overwritten. But how the heck do I get back to it?
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Probably the best way to get that data back is to use an app named Data Rescue II. OSX will overwrite your data reasonably quickly so keep your machine shut down in the meantime. Good luck. :)
  3. displaced macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2003
    Gravesend, United Kingdom
    Gaah! That story brings back painful memories. It's probably been my one and only "That's Just Plain Dumb" moments with OS X over the past 5 years.

    The Mac has apparently throughout its history handled this situation (copying folders over existing folders) completely differently to every other system I've ever used. Atari GEM, Win3.11-XP, DOS, Linux, Solaris, Acorn Archimedes all perform a file-level replace of items with identical names.

    For lifelong Mac users who've never seen how other systems behave, it's like this:

    Folder A contains items called 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 ,9

    Folder B contains items called 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

    Folder A and B have the same names.

    If folder B is copied to the same location as folder A, the Mac will throw away the existing folder A before the copy, leaving you with a folder containing items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

    7, 8 and 9 are gone.

    All other systems I've seen will replace (rather, ask to replace) 1, 2 and 3 with the identically named items in folder B, copy 4, 5, and 6 over, and leave 7, 8, 9 alone... thus, the destination folder will contain files 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

    The particularly nasty thing about this is that it may well bite you quite far into your OS X experience. You might be feeling confident with your new Mac, and you've stopped reading every single warning that appears 'cos you feel at home... and then you go and find this out. I was lucky in that it happened when I was rearranging stuff I'd copied from my PC, so I had the originals to fall back on.

    I really hope you get your data back!
  4. zerolight macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2006
    Harrumph. It's just happened to me too. Former PC user. Pah. That is truly crap. Data Rescue II had no luck either.
  5. trevorparscal macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    This just happened to me... I lost 90% of the music recording work I've done over the past 10 years... I was about to cry.



    Seriously, use it!

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