I am a developer on OSX. I like to believe I know a lot about computers, but now I feel a mix of sillyness, disbelief and rage. Also, please excuse the drama. ;)

I was working on a web project when I wanted to a a .js library. The files, when unzipped, came in their own js/ and css/ directoiries.

I moved the unzipped dirs to my project, clicked 'yes, I understand, because Windows also does this with ease' (actual button text might have just read 'yes').

What happened next is that the target dirs were deleted and instead replaced with the new dirs with only the new content. All this without the option to perform undo or manual lookup in the trash. The files just aren't there. (pretty weird as well, for a trash app to not have the option to sort by date of deletion, which was, like, just now.)

Does anyone know of a way to get the files back that does not involve using Time Machine or simply checking it out from Git? Because I don't use Time machine, and I just want to know why on this green earth Apple thought that this was the way to program a file manager.

(OS X Lion 10.7.4)


I have no idea why they chose to do this, but regardless, you're files are gone. As people are more used to the Windows Explorer and Nautilus defaults of actually merging the folder or giving an option to do so in the latter case, most users won't expect Finder to actually replace the contents entirely (even though it actually says that in the modal dialog).

As you already observed, those files aren't in the Trash, and they aren't in any other place as well – this is the only drawback with that method.

Your only chance is to stop using the machine right now and to use any OS X (HFS+) undelete or data recovery tool.

Since the market is full with these tools and I have never run into the situation of needing one of these, I can't give you any recommendations on which one to try. They all seem to be free, but if you want to restore something, they might charge you.

You might as well just checkout the files from Git.

And start making backups ;)

  • Haha, thanks for the info! I guessed as much and checked them out, so the damage wasn't too bad. The fact that the trash and undo features don't work is just ridiculous. – Sephie Jun 12 '12 at 14:04

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