I wanted to copy a file using cp, however, I happened to type rm and the file was deleted.

How can I recover it?

The file is stored in a mobile hard disk drive with FAT32 file system

I'm using Mac OS X

Hoping someone can help me!


I've had good luck with TestDisk.

An example of how to use it to recover FAT32 data is here: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk:_undelete_file_for_FAT

It is a free download (works on a Mac) from here: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Download

Remember to mount the removable disk read-only so your data isn't overwritten somehow; copy your recovered files to your Mac HD.

  • It's not a "free download". It's Free Software offered under the GPLv2. There's a HUGE difference! I passed over this and 3 other mentions of this software because it sounded like commercial trial wear. – Bruno Bronosky Feb 4 '15 at 16:15

+1 for TestDisk.

You can also try Disk Warrior or Tech Tool, which aren't free, if you prefer GUIs.


I've used Disk Drill recovery tool. Disk Drill allows you to download a free version and before you even purchase the software, scan your drive to see if it's able to find the files you want. It even gives you a preview of what the files are, before you register the software. A free version of Disk Drill also includes a few prevention tools to help minimize future data loss. It worked perfectly, and salvaged the files I needed.