Files disappear from the desktop

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by swedefish, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008
    When begin working on a new document in MS Word, I always save it to the desktop and then I choose where to file it at a later time. For some reason, in Lion I have had this thing happen to me on twho separate occasions:

    I save a Word document to the desktop and then I save the same document as a PDF to the desktop. However, when I close word and go to my desktop, the files are not there. Accessing the desktop folder from Finder yields the same result. If I then reboot, I find the files on the desktop where I saved them after I log in. What causes this to happen? Any ideas?

    I am about to receive a replacement (late 2011) for my recently purchased (early 2011) MBP. I don't want to restore from Time Machine in case this bug relates to my profile, but if it's a known issue in Lion, I will restore out of convenience and because I am worried about being unable to reauthenticate some of my applications.
  2. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
  3. swedefish thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008
  4. Alienzed macrumors newbie


    Apr 13, 2011
    just quit

    Relaunch the Finder by right clicking on it's Icon in the Dock and holding down the option key.
  5. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008
    I've just noticed this strange problem also. Mac OS X 10.7.2

    I have a number of files and folders on my desktop - suddenly this week they "disappeared"

    i.e. I can't see them on my desktop in the Finder, however if I open the Desktop folder in my home directory, they are still there. But they are not visible on my Finder desktop itself

    If I move or store some new file on my desktop in Finder, they remain visible on the desktop, as normal.
    If I try to move a "missing" file from my Desktop folder to the desktop in Finder, they don't move (as expected, because they're already "there", just not visible)
    If I move one of the "missing" files from the Desktop folder to my Home folder, then from there move it to the Finder's desktop, it shows up again in the Finder view.

    earlier this week I moved all my missing files to my Home folder then back to the Desktop, however at some point they disappeared again (not sure when, but I believe after my Mac was rebooted at some point between then and now)
    Interestingly, a file I stored on the desktop AFTER I originally noticed the problem remained visible on the desktop even when the old files re-disappeared

    very strange.

    re-launching the Finder does not fix the problem
    deleting the file and rebooting does not fix the problem
  6. gMacbookPro macrumors member

    May 16, 2010
    this happened on S.L. also.
    This is why I upgrade to Lion.

    but this issue still haven't happened to me yet (on Lion).
  7. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008
    in my case, I never noticed this problem in Snow Leopard, nor any other version of Mac OS, for that matter (I've used them all :). The first time I noticed it was last week in Lion.

    also - it only occurs on one of my several Macs at home and work. and as far as I can tell it doesn't happen on any other user account on that Mac either.
  8. JLVmac macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2012
    folders disappear from desktop

    just had the same problem, i'd accepted an image via skype and i moved it onto the desktop and i lost all my folders off the desktop. don't know if related but its all i can think of.... i relaunched the finder as per alienzed suggested (right click whilst holding option key) and nothing happened. incase they had indeed gone invisible i randomly clicked on the desktop where some of my folders used to be and they reappeared!!!!
  9. starmelts macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2011
    Incredible! This just happened to me too. My first major Mac bug. Running 10.7.3. I just did a regular restart, and now everything is gone. My background picture has gone back to default, and all the files are gone. Nothing in the recycle bin either!

    I'm using TotalFinder. Could it have anything to do with that? Tried opening the regular Finder, and restarting that, but nothing happened.

    I'm speechless!
  10. czaras macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2011
  11. sphinx777 macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2011
    Yet same problem...

    Reporting this bug in Lion and now in Mountain Lion 10.8.2...
    Very annoying.:mad:
  12. mrum macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2012
    Problem solution

    Hey i Had the same problem just right click on the desktop and choose any of the options in the "sort by" tab e.g. size, name etc.. The folders and document reappear.
  13. liz2930 macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2012
    desktop icons disappear with finder relaunch

    I'm having a similar or the same problem.
    Clicking in the area doesn't work to bring them back.
    Only thing that does is complete restart (sometimes total shutdown).
    Using MacBook Pro with Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5
    Anymore thoughts or answers?
  14. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008
    sorry it's been a while since I checked on this thread...

    although I was originally having this problem on more than one Mac, as far as I can tell it seems the problem for me went away, presumably with one of the OS updates since I first noticed it. I'm currently running 10.7.5
  15. soldia macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2012
    All desktop disappeared !

    While on a plane working offline on Pencil all the folders and files on my desktop disappeared. I am using 10.7.5. It happened just after I tried to export as pdf.

    sudo ls -lah on terminal shows no files in /Users/../Desktop

    does anyone know how to retrieve those files ?
  16. soldia macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2012
    Files all gone from the desktop

    I also just tried a reboot ALT and did a disk utilities check. it showed corrupt disk and repaired it but the files haven't returned to the desktop.

    its quite shocking that this happened ! all other folders in Documents, Downloads, etc are intact.
  17. drpoetmaclover macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    Files reappeared after launching the suspicious program

    Hi All,

    Upon running a program called Examsoft, which is a test-taking program for graduate schools and closes all applications, prevents access to the desktop, etc., my desktop files disappeared from the visible desktop (although still existed in the desktop folder). Rebooting my computer and relaunching the finder did nothing, nor did the files reappear when I tried clicking around the desktop. However, when I relaunched Examsoft and closed it again, the files reappeared.

    Just letting you know in case anyone is having this problem after running a similar program that messes with the plist.

    Cheers and good luck!
  18. patte macrumors newbie


    Sep 22, 2009
    I had a similar experience when downloading the latest pngcrush build on my Desktop and extracting it. First an error message and away where all my items. Even no sign of them when doing ls in the shell.

    I don't know what possible could have gone wrong. Fortunately I made my weekly backup just 10 minutes before this.
  19. Nilka7 macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2014
    I had a very similar issue to b.c.. After a little investigation (moved a random folder from the directory window to the desktop, which created an alias, and with "show info" command I found where the original is) I found that all my desktop files are located in Users/Dropbox Old/Desktop. No idea how and why they were moved, but dragging them back to the Desktop seems to sort out the problem.
  20. PliSsK macrumors member


    Nov 17, 2011
    This is happening in 10.9.4. Recently saved file disappears from desktop, but is visible in desktop Finder folder.

    Solution - as per Nilka7's post - open Finder, move the file in question to another folder in Finder, then move it back to the desktop again in Finder, and it reappears on the desktop.

    Windows doesn't have these types of issues does it?

  21. nmatrix55 macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2016
  22. Chriskop macrumors newbie


    Jan 15, 2017
    --- Post Merged, Jan 15, 2017 ---
    This is exactly what happened to me. My cpu crashed and after reboot all of the files and folders on my desktop were gone. The files would have taken time to delete. All other folders and files were fine. Anyone know what could have possible happened? Ive never seen anything like it.
  23. nutellacrepe macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2016
    Something worse happened to me -- suddenly all files (but not folders) are gone from the Desktop. Nowhere to be found. Various rescue/recovery software doesn't find them. I don't understand why the folders are still there, but all empty. I was connected to another machine (my laptop) via the network, but I can't see why that would make this happen. Also, I looked on the laptop for my files, but it's the same. Very, very sad.
  24. btsandry macrumors newbie


    Dec 6, 2017
    This worked for me! Thanks
  25. tsilva8 macrumors newbie


    Mar 8, 2018
    This just happened to me...
    Turned on iCloud Drive accidentally (at Preferences> Internet Accounts) and turned off immediately after noticing it.

    After turning it off, all my desktop files disappeared! Found all of them in this folder called iCloud Arquives, in my hard drive.

    Just dragged all of them back to the desktop and acted like nothing happened =)

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