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Question: Is hard drive failure eminent? files disappearing from iMac

Files have started disappearing from my 94 year old uncle's iMac ( 5 yr old, running Sierra).

(Uncle is no longer as Mac savvy as he previously was.)

At first I thought he accidentally tossed two key folders or accidentally emptied other folders so that their content is now loose on his hard drive.This happened two or three weeks ago. I ran Disk Utility and other utilities, no problems noted but missing folder and its contents are gone.

This past week more items disappeared. ALL The items on his desktop are gone (aliases for the most part (and he does not have several desktops, does not use Mission Control) AND the folder I had re created to replace one of he key folders that disappeared three weeks ago also is again gone.Luckily many of the internal documents and sub folders are in his iCloud Drive but stuff is missing from his hard drive.

The iMac boots and is responsive, no unusual noises,

There was very little in his computer's Trash


I don't see how Uncle could lose so many items.

Could the disappearing files and folders be indication of hard drive failure? Or warping of read/write heads causing drive damage and lost data?

I don't want to send uncle to purchase a new drive or Mac unnecessarily but would I be prudent urging him to do so ASAP?

iPhone 7 Plus, macOS Sierra (10.12.3), Hubby'si iMac 21.5 iMac late 2013

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Dec 10, 2017 10:27 PM in response to Barbara Passman3 In response to Barbara Passman3

I used to have a dear elderly neighbor who asked me to help with his computer quite often. While sitting there with him, I noticed that he inadvertently clicked on his mouse continuously; sometimes he happened to just click on the desktop and nothing would happen, but quite often, he'd either hit a file he had or, worse, a popup scam adware which was then immediately downloaded.


So, although you mentioned that it is 5 years old, my guess is that things are disappearing due to user error. However, to be safe, be sure to get a complete backup asap just in case. And, try to file folders/files in the Documents folder rather than have them on the desktop. Also put everything away/in its place rather than have it on the desktop.

Dec 10, 2017 10:27 PM

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Dec 11, 2017 5:02 AM in response to babowa In response to babowa

Thx. I ran a virus program, tossed four infected files. I,too,suspect user error but loss of all the desktop items? My uncle had easily 30 items. On his desktop. Mostly aliases. All gone. I found one new empty folder (that does speak to user error).

Dec 11, 2017 5:02 AM

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Dec 11, 2017 8:37 AM in response to Barbara Passman3 In response to Barbara Passman3

A "virus program" cannot possibly detect any Mac viruses ince there are no viruses currently that will affect Macs; what your AV software detected were most likely either Windows viruses (which won't do anything to a Mac) or possibly adware. And, that would not explain the disappearing folders.

Dec 11, 2017 8:37 AM

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Dec 11, 2017 7:40 PM in response to babowa In response to babowa

I worried about adware or some malicious thing of that nature

Had not All the icons from Uncle's desktop not disappeared I would ascribe the loss of folders etc to user error

But how could someone delete all of the 30+ items on his desktop (probably more).The items were not in the trash, either.

Dec 11, 2017 7:40 PM

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Dec 11, 2017 8:25 PM in response to Barbara Passman3 In response to Barbara Passman3

Well, there is an excellent program that'll take care of adware and malware; as for the disappearing folders, I've not heard of anything that could move things off/around unless he gave someone remote access to his computer. If that is the case, then you'd need to go into recovery, delete the entire hard drive and reinstall the OS; you'd also need to contact his financial institution(s), change all the passwords, etc, etc.


https://www.malwarebytes.com/mac/

Dec 11, 2017 8:25 PM

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Question: Is hard drive failure eminent? files disappearing from iMac