Wrong footed by Mac OSX - lost 300 jpgs

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Plado, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Plado macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2011
    SW England
    I wonder if anyone can tell me what I did wrong or why I got seemingly tricked into losing 300+ jpgs when I moved them?

    Here's what happened. I wanted to clear out about half the jpgs saved on my macbook OSX 13 version 10.5.8 so I plugged in a USB flash memory card and I dragged photos from the places they all showed when I got finder to search for all jpgs (the Finder seems to have lost its 'all photos' option beneath Documents and Movies in the Search For list) and when they were safely dropped onto the USB memory stick, I went back to where they were dragged from and moved all the copied jpgs to trash.
    Once I'd finished dragging about 300 photos to the USB I decided they were safe there and then went to Empty the Trash as it was getting rather full.

    Here's where the trouble began. Macbook OSX decided that deleting the jpgs from their source folder also deleted all the copies I put on the USB flash memory. I was horrified to find only 12 jpgs were left on the stick.

    No way to recover. No facility to Restore my Mac to an earlier date but even if it did have such a facility it wouldn't get deleted files back.

    So why doesn't this macbook warn me not to delete any of the source files until the USB stick has been removed?

    I consider I have been sold a forgery in the operating system. It can't be logical to do that. Anyone know what went wrong or why it has no mug trap built-in to prevent loss of data? Fortunately the photos don't really matter as I have most of them saved elsewhere but it is nonetheless annoying in the extreme.
    Thanks - I hope you can help.
  2. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    There is of course Time Machine, which will do exactly what you claim doesn't exist.

    But it sounds like you don't have any backup at all. Is that right? In that case, you will lose more than just 300 photos one day. Having a backup means an item exists in more than one place. You deliberately took actions with the intention of having those photos in one place only (on the memory stick). That is always risky.
  3. Plado thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2011
    SW England
    Well yes you're correct up to a point but I haven't got those photos only in one place. I was just trying to be tidy and empty out the Macbook of dross but the system did a really stupid operation that would never happen on a Windows PC. But my point was, how crazy it is that Mac system deletes both the originals and the copies you make when you create copies to external media. Why did it have to delete my copies, when I never gave it authority to do so? That's astonishingly crazy.

    They say that computers only do what you tell them to, but I would contest that, because Mac seems to have a rule of its own that destroys data when you make all reasonable attempts to keep it by saving a copy. Why does it do this? Who made it think that your copy and your original are one and the same thing? Totally crackers.

    You don't get treatment like that from Windows computers.
    This makes me think that my collection of jpgs is certainly safer on my Windows PC and backup drives that I have already prepared, than being kept on the macbook.

    I'm not worried by the loss, I am more worried about the way in which those photos were thrown away and how the system duped me.

    I don't dislike the macbook but I do find it does some very strange things that make me wonder why it was designed to work like that ie illogically.

  4. Lunfai macrumors 65816


    Nov 21, 2010
    So you deleted the folder on your desktop and it deleted the copy on the memory stick too? That's not normal, unless the transferring wasn't finished.
  5. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    Sounds like you just made links on the USB drive instead of moving the actual pic.
  6. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    It sure is, which makes me believe that you hadn't moved the pictures at all.

    Sounds reasonable.
  7. Stooby Mcdoobie macrumors 6502a

    Stooby Mcdoobie

    Jun 26, 2012
    I'm not trying to sound like an ******* here, but this sounds like user error. I have never experienced any of the things you're describing, and I do multiple file transfers - to and from external disks - every day. I'm not sure what you did wrong, but I wouldn't blame it on the OS if I were you.
  8. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    One way to check that would be to eject the USB drive and plug it into a different Mac. If all the pictures can be viewed there, they're not links.

    Another test: how much space is used on the USB drive? This might not work if the original pictures are small, because a link file can be larger than one might think, if it has a custom icon, as sometimes happens.

    Yet another test: use Get Info on the files on the USB drive. If it shows the little "swoop arrow" badge that means a link or alias, it's not a copy. Also, if it shows the path to the original file, it's not a copy. (To see an example, use Finder to make an alias of any file or folder, using the File menu, then do Get Info on the alias.)

    Those are all things one can do before emptying the trash, to confirm data is safe.
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Without seeing what you saw, it is impossible for us to know what happened... we can only speculate at this point. I also believe that the drag 'n drop procedure only created aliases.... Or that the copy operation was not yet complete.

    I work with photos everyday, and move them around, and I have not noticed any problems like you describe. Which only means that you may have in fact encountered a weird bug - but it is not something that typically happens.

    And, while I am sorry you lost your images.... I only have a little sympathy. It appears from your description that you took no actions to ensure that any of the operations were successful before emptying the trash, or ensuring that you had an adequate backup. Even Apple tells you to not totally rely on the OS and has created an idiot proof backup solution.

    If I'm moving images around I make sure that those images exist in two other places before deleting them from the source location.

    And I'm fairly lax by most photographer's standards... the general rule of thumb is make sure that you have images stored in a minimum of 3 locations.

  10. rpg51 macrumors 6502


    Jul 4, 2012

    Two lessons from this I think:

    1. Back up - always.
    2. Check your copies to be sure they are where you think they are before you delete source.
  11. Plado thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2011
    SW England
    Don't worry about my regarding you as anything other than helpful. In fact everyone is being very helpful.

    But at this point it may interest all responders to know that I didn't make any error in the copying to my knowledge, and the reason I say that confidently is because I just took the USB Memory Flash stick over to my Windows 7 PC and plugged it in - it showed as empty apart from one or two documents and so I used a very useful file recovery program called Recuva and I let it scan the stick and it found hundreds of picture files including all those I had tried to copy last night.

    I chose to recover them to my Buffalo backup drive I use with my PC and it has planted the whole lot there. So this still tells me that Macbook did something very peculiar. I think what I should have done was once the transfer was complete and showing as present on the Flash Memory - I should have closed the File system and Ejected the USB drive and removed it. Then plugged it back in to check the files were still there. Then, and only then deleted all the pictures from the Macbook.

    I have now emptied the memory stick thing, and I'll try another test on it this evening and see how I get on. If something shows up as odd, I'll report back here so that you will know whether I'm any the wiser on this.

    But for now I'd like to thank all those who have tried to solve the puzzle.
    I appreciate it.

  12. rpg51 macrumors 6502


    Jul 4, 2012
    Glad you found your photos-

    Do you know how your usb stick was formatted?
  13. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    I've deleted files unintentionally before (in Windows, by the way ;)) due to having them highlighted without realising it. Could that be a possibility?
  14. smirk macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2002
    Orange County, CA
    Since you had a Finder search window as the source of your copy and delete, perhaps what happened is the search window updated itself to show the USB stick copies... and then you trashed them.
  15. Plado thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2011
    SW England
    What a lot of superb replies on this. You all seem to have really got down to the knitty gritty of what may have gone wrong.

    First off, rpg51 the USB flash memory I think was formatted on the PC - I'm fairly sure of that. It's file system is FAT32 but my Windows 7 is NTFS
    Interesting that you ask that question - I'll be looking forward to seeing what your train of thought is on that. More about the file system in a moment.

    I don't claim to be without blame on this by the way. To snberk I will say yes I did check that the files were on the stick, but admittedly only by verifying by my looking at them all sitting there in the list of the window I had open for the USB stick. But I failed to remove the stick and plug it back in to check they were safely there. I'd never been let down by the evidence on screen before so nothing really prompted me to do a mug-trap fail-safe. I like your idea of the rule of 3 backups. Reminds me of the Grandfather Father Son copies of databases I used to make on floppy drives back in the DOS days of Sage Retrieve!

    The stick was about to be taken to another room and the files saved for posterity on my Buffalo backup drive. So it came as a bit of a shock that Macbook did a phantom copy over. I think Smirk is on the right track here but that's only a hunch.

    Smirk - I think you have put your finger on what might have gone wrong.
    I don't normally use Finder to transfer anything as I would prefer to go to the actual folder of the files and drag and drop or copy paste multiple files onto the external media. But for some reason my macbook has lost the little icon on the left side when I click on my Macintosh HD root folder where is says 'All Photos' below All Movies; All Documents; and Past Week. The All Photos has vanished. So I used Finder to see where all the jpgs were that I wished to sift and remove to free up some space on the drive.

    One other thing that may have a bearing on this (though I don't really know what I'm talking about here) is when I copy files to the USB media they show up with some ghost copies which I can only think are 'Flags' of some kind but it shows the file names duplicated with ._.filename.jpg and their properties are 'Hidden' and 'Archive' and they are just small about 44k. Above them in the list are two Waste Bins marked .Trashes and ._.Trashes both ghosted out.

    Normally I never have any trouble doing a copy over to shift files. I assumed I would have trouble finding out what happened since the my Helper Manual 'Switching to the Mac Leopard' is considerably larger than 'War and Peace' !

    I'll leave that with you in case anyone has some good ideas. But please bear in mind I have rescued these files as stated in previous posting and I still have copies, so nothing lost. I was anxious to find out what I had done wrong or what the Mac had done to play such a practical joke on me!

    Thanks again to all helpers.
    Plado. ps some delay on replies from here as I'm in the UK so we're 8 hours in front of the USA Pacific time.

  16. samh macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2009
    IF he truly "moved" them, then this is what happened. But by default when you copy across disks, OS X copies and does not remove the original.
  17. samh macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2009
    However, if he wasn't careful, then the search would have found the old and new copies, and it would not have been hard to delete them that way…

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