9 Replies Latest reply: Jul 19, 2008 11:15 AM by BDAqua
Sammy Stefanki Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)
I promise I'm not going crazy--the people at the Genius Bar in my local Apple Store had never really seen this phenomenon before. What is happening is files I have recently created (or downloaded from the iTunes store) are disappearing. When I am in a particular directory in the Finder, some files appear without their associated icons (i.e., the file names are visible, but there is no icon). However, when I click on the file names for these files, they simply disappear. It's quite mysterious. The files also do not appear through the Terminal when I try to view directory contents using the ls command.

I have run Apple's Disk Utility, but it detected no problems. I have also run the TechTool Deluxe application that Apple gave me when I purchased the AppleCare Protection Plan. I have ordered DiskWarrior so that I can run it to try to recover my lost files, but I am wondering if anyone here can help me figure out what the deal is with this strange file behavior.

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide! I appreciate it...

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • John Guo Level 5 Level 5 (5,260 points)
    I think its your hard drive. Its probably the filing of the hard drive's contents is having troubles. I suggest that you put the files in another drive and see if its disappearing in that hard drive. Software can detect only a small amount of errors. Disk Utility is still very weak in my option. All those applications are good and helpful, but you can't rely on them 100%. Like you said, its not a typical issue and those softwares are designed to find typical issues.
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (120,915 points)
    John's given some good advice, but you just might try this to see if indeed they've been marked invisible...

    Show hidden files...

    Open the terminal and type or copy/paste:

    defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

    Reverting to the default of NOT showing hidden files:

    defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool false

    Force restart the Finder for effect to take place.
  • Sammy Stefanki Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)
    Thanks for replying, John. It does seem like the issue is related to my hard drive, because these files' disappearing act did NOT recur when I transferred the entire contents of my laptop's hard drive to an external drive. However, after I transferred my hard drive's contents, the files which had disappeared from my laptop's hard drive were not there in the new hard drive.

    Any ideas of how I can go about trying a home remedy to recover the files? I figure it's better to wait until I get my DiskWarrior CD (earlier versions of DiskWarrior have saved me before), but just curious if you think this is something that can be solved before I receive the CD.

    Thanks for your help!
  • John Guo Level 5 Level 5 (5,260 points)
    Not sure how you can recover the files that is already lost. But there's one thing that you can try. It might help. I don't know if you tried this or not but it involves using Disk Utility on the Tiger DVD instead of using the Disk Utility that's on your OS. Usually when you boot from the hard drive the repair disk is greyed out. If you use the Disk Utility on the Tiger DVD its not greyed out and you can use it. To use that Disk Utility, insert the Tiger disc. Restart your computer. Press and hold "C" when you hear the Superdrive make the usual sound. Hold it for about 15 seconds. It will load from the Tiger DVD. After the welcome screen, go to Utilities>Disk Utility.
  • tlowrimore Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Maybe so... maybe not. This has started happening to me since the 10.5.4 update. Unfortunately, the files that disappeared are going to cost me, as they were source files for a piece of software I've been building for a customer.
  • scott617 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    You might have caught it early. As I just did on my machine and am backing up my files. I have the first gen macBookPro and have had an issue with files disappearing and eventually getting the blinking folder with a question mark. Hopefully that is not the case - BC I would do the disk utility and get an invalid b-tree node and have to reformat harddrive. This only happened to me though when I upgraded to Leopard. After a few crashes as described I went back to Tiger. But now it looks like I might have the exact same issue with Tiger.
    hope this helps.

    Message was edited by: scott617
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (120,915 points)
    Hi Scott, and a warm welcome to the forums!

    You must either erase your HD or repair the HD, your best bet is DiskWarrior from Alsoft, you'll need the CD to boot from...

  • Sammy Stefanki Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)
    Hi everyone,

    Hope you're doing well. Just wanted to follow up and say that I ended up purchasing the most recent version of DiskWarrior, which not only helped me recover my missing files, but appears to have fixed whatever problem was causing the files to begin disappearing randomly in the first place.

    Thanks for all your help with this one! I appreciate it...
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (120,915 points)
    Good news Sammy!

    I wish every Mac came with DiskWarrior included!