View Full Version : 'Lost files' on a Mac

Billy T
03-08-2009, 03:22 PM
Hi Team

I have an acquaintance who runs a rental holiday cottage with all forward bookings on her Mac (but no diary or other back-up -natch).

She allowed a relative to use the computer and as sod's law decrees should happen in such circumstances, when said relative finished using it, all the bookings for 2009 and beyond had vanished. Apparently they were normally accessed via a shortcut icon on the desktop and I'm not sure whether this is simply a case of a lost shortcut or whether the file itself has been dealt to, which could very well be the case. She has continued to use the computer for a couple of weeks since the big bang.

I've explained what the possible options would be for a PC user, and hopefully it is just a simple 'lost file' problem, but I'd like to pass on some reassuring advice about getting a Mac expert to look at it. At present she is talking about getting a family member who is a "whizz-bang on Macs" to take a look but I have recommended that given the potential losses, it should be somebody with professional skills.

I know nothing about Macs (other than the fact that they are pricey, there isn't the same range of software available, and I don't like proprietary platforms or stuff that limits your options) so is there some Mac expertise out there that can give me some reassuring possibilities to pass on?

Having recently recovered files that were gone for all money; even the most recent version of a 40 page report that was somehow closed without saving (no prompts to save, may all our gods bless ZTree) complete with all current work intact right up until the 'Oh shlt' moment, I am sure that there must be at least some hope for this lady.

She is in the Waikato area, so apart from any useful comment you may have, recommendations for a competent Mac tech in Hamilton or thereabouts would be very helpful.


Billy 8-{)

03-08-2009, 03:30 PM
This from WMG. :)

Apple + F = search window/aka Spotlight from the desktop

Or just click on the Magnifying glass icon on the top right of screen for the search Window and type in the .file extension or name of files you are looking for and they will show up as soon as you start typing.

Works in OS X 10.4 and 10.5


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03-08-2009, 04:03 PM
If a file is randomly lost any writing should be avoided on the drive. The fact that it was still used for 2 weeks highly decreases the probability of file recovery

03-08-2009, 05:23 PM
It doesn't help with your immediate problem, but perhaps suggest to her that she buys an external drive and sets up Time Machine to do hourly backups (its built into the operating system, all she needs to do is turn it on). Additionally, you may want to mention to her that you can turn on guest access for visitors so they don't have access to your files.

If you can't locate the file by searching, I'd suggest consulting a service center.

03-08-2009, 10:11 PM
You didn't say which OS you friend is using ( I believe files are recovered slightly easier in Tiger ).

Here's a little help to prevent this happening again...

If an item is locked, you cannot put it in the Trash. Select the item and choose File > Get Info, then check the Locked box,to move it into trash, select file >get info> then deselect the Locked checkbox in the General pane. If you do not own the item, you may need to provide an administrator's name and password to put the item in the Trash.

03-08-2009, 10:20 PM
Or you can download and look for free to see if the files are still there-Filesalvage,


but you have to purchase it to use it.

I can't believe that people don't back up their files. If they are using Leopard the back up software comes for free ( Timemachine) and how much is an external drive ?

03-08-2009, 10:33 PM
What program did she use? And yeah it would be nice if we would be able to know what OS she is using. Get her to check in her Documents folder in her home directory. Hopefully it was only the shortcut that is gone.

03-08-2009, 10:35 PM
Hang on get her to look under recent items in the Apple symbol menu it should have the last items. Would also look in recent items in the program itself.

Billy T
03-08-2009, 10:58 PM
Thanks for that

I've emailed a synopsis of the advice offered and recommended that professional help be sought. I'll check with them again in a couple of weeks but my guess is that they'll be reluctant to take the advice, family will fiddle, and in the end they'll give up and face the consequences.


Billy 8-{)