13 Replies Latest reply: Jun 5, 2015 6:23 AM by semsbon
bethy blu Level 1 (0 points)

How could this happen? It did not go in the trash. The folder and it's contents are just gone.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • baltwo Level 9 (62,215 points)

    Gone from where? The Dock? If so, then click on the home folder Dock icon, select Open in Finder, and then drag the Desktop folder to the Dock. Otherwise, provide more details and confirm you're running Leopard and not a later OS.

  • bethy blu Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry I was not clear. There was folder with files in it on the desktop. It's gone. Not in the trash. Cannot be found in a search and none of the files in it can be found. Is it possible it was inadvertantly hidden?

  • seventy one Level 6 (13,296 points)

    Hi Bethy blu,


    Have you got Time machine enabled?   That would help.   Otherwise, as Baltwo says, what is the exact operating System you are using?

  • baltwo Level 9 (62,215 points)

    Did you follow the steps I posted to open the home directory? If so, does the Desktop folder show up? If so, then it's not lost. BTW, FYI, if you're showing stuff on your Desktop, then that folder's not gone, but maybe an alias of it is what has gone missing.

  • bethy blu Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry, again, I did NOT lose the Desktop folder. A folder that contained files on the desktop disappeared (so it was a folder in the Desktop folder.) The OS is 10.6.8.


    This actually did not happen to me, but to one of my less that computer saavy employees. Could she have hidden it by accident? It is not in the Trash and searches do not find any of the files that were in it. No, she does not have Time Machine.


    I have solved many "mysteries" for her, but this one baffles me.

  • baltwo Level 9 (62,215 points)

    Ah! Thanks for the feedback. Unless the employee was religiously backing up, via another backup app, color the folder gone. Do note that Apple's crippled Spotlight, so you need to add additional search criteria to find things on the machine. Here's what I use:



  • bethy blu Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your help, but how could this happen? Does she have a virus? Folders should not just disappear. Is it possible to "hide" a folder?

  • baltwo Level 9 (62,215 points)

    bethy blu wrote:

    Thanks for your help, but how could this happen? Does she have a virus? Folders should not just disappear. Is it possible to "hide" a folder?

    Carelessness? Folders don't go missing without user action. Hiding one takes conscious effort; however, using the search criteria as depicted should reveal anything hidden by the user.

  • thomas_r. Level 7 (30,742 points)

    Does she have a virus?


    Definitely not... at least, this is not a symptom of any kind of malware. Modern malware does not go deleting files and folders as it did back in the early days of malware. These days, it's business... a way of making money. Malware wants to hide and not draw attention to itself.


    Folders should not just disappear. Is it possible to "hide" a folder?


    It's possible to hide a folder, through a Unix command executed in the Terminal or through some third-party software. It really couldn't be hidden accidentally... it would have to be a purposeful thing.


    It's far more likely that she accidentally deleted the folder. It's just a matter of pressing command-delete in the Finder with that folder selected to move it to the trash, and from there, most people will empty their trash from time to time without checking to see what's in it.


    You can search for the folder, or a file that should be in that folder, using baltwo's recommendation, or you could download and use EasyFind. (Note that, if she's using Mountain Lion, it will block EasyFind as it is not "code-signed" to identify it as being created by a known developer. It's safe, downloaded from the link I provided, though, so you can open it on Mountain Lion by control-clicking the EasyFind app, choosing Open, and confirming that you want to open it when asked.)


    Unfortunately, if the folder is nowhere to be found, and she's not backing up her computer, it may be completely gone. In which case, your only option would be to use recovery software to try to "undelete" those files. That may or may not have any success. See:


    Recovering deleted files

  • bethy blu Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you all. I suspect she has accidentally renamed it and moved it somewhere obscure, but until I get ahold of her laptop later in the week I can only rely on her to find it. She claims she has done exhustive searches. I sent her the recommended criteria and perhaps that will shed some light.


    The files were not that important to try and recover. Just annoying and she will have to recreate some work.


    Of course she should be backing up, but as she is a freelancer who works remotely, I can only do so much there. Thanks again!

  • baltwo Level 9 (62,215 points)


  • paomezza Level 1 (0 points)

    For future readers...

    I also experienced the same problem, I thought the folder disappeared from the desktop with all its content.

    It occurred that I had actually accidentally moved it inside another folder and moved it to the trash. Finder wasn't able to localise it or to find any of the files included into it.

    I restarted the computer and then looked for the the files inside the trash using the search command.

    Probably Finder is not able to localise files inside nested folders in the trash. I hope this might help.

  • semsbon Level 1 (0 points)

    This has also just happened to me. I was working on the files within the folder which was on my desktop, went away for a bit came back and the whole folder and its contents had disappeared...

    I've searched the trash, used finder and spotlight but to no avail. Btw, I'm very familiar with Macs and didn't accidentally delete it.

    I'm lucky that it wasn't one of my important ones. It's very worrying though… Any other thoughts anyone?