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As I was proceeding to empty the trash on this machine (Mac OS X version 10.6.3), a listing of thousands of items began accumulating. Trash itself shows some 237 items, many of them folders labeled as, for example "". I am certain that I did not send the bulk of these items to trash. Is it possible that one of the periodic Software Updates has eliminated files by sending them to Trash? Or have I picked up some malware which has sent important stuff to trash? Thanks.

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Trash incorporates trashes from all the volumes, including the removable ones.

Chances are you had a pen drive or an usb disk connected.

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Updates from cupertino will not move files into the trash can.

Option Click one of the Mysterious files in your trash can and Click Get Info you should see an created date of -- and a modified date of the time it entered the Trash-can folder.

Make sure that time stamp wasn't around a time you were checked the status of your winning Nigerian Lotto ticket.

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