The download folder on Mac can often contain important files. We have all deleted quite a lot of folders in a bid to get back some precious space on our Macs, and the in-built utility for disk cleanup is a handy tool in such cases. Somehow Lost my Downloads Folder in my Dock It used to always sit there and fanned out beautifully when I hit it. I can locate the folder by downloading something, but i don't know how then to stick it back in Dock so it stays there, nor how to ensure that it fans out when I click on it.
So you hit the “Empty Trash” option on your MacBook Pro, only to find that you had several important files got removed as well? Or they are lost after you updated your machine to latest macOS Catalina?
Those files could be the precious photos you’ve just synced from an iPhone/iPad, or some documents you’ve been working on for days…whatever they are, the question is – is it possible to recover files deleted from Mac Trash?
Quick answer: yes, though the chance is NOT a guaranteed 100%.
In this post, we’re going to explain the reasons why and show you the right step-by-step guide on how to recover those trashed files the best you can.
Macbook Pro Lost Password
Are files deleted from Mac Trash still recoverable?
We all know that once you delete a file by dragging it to the Trash bin, it’s easy to undelete it. Simply go to the Trash, find the file, highlight it, right-click and select “Put Back”. Then you’ll find it immediately in its original location. You see, macOS doesn’t actually delete the file immediately.
But what if you also removed the file from the Trash? Does that mean it is gone for good?
Well, it depends.
If you are using a MacBook with a hard disk drive (HDD), the chance to recover the file is high. Technically speaking, only the name of the file is removed from the disk directory of your Macintosh HD, and space the file originally takes is now marked as vacant, to be written over by new files generated by the user (you) or the system. The disk directory we talk about here acts like a “chief-commander” to manage all the data writing activities that occur in a hard drive. It records everything, where every file lives, its size, etc. When you delete a file, only the “header” information of the file is removed while the real data remains intact. So, as long as you don’t write anything new to the disk space, the file is usually recoverable. However, there is no way to tell when the released space will be reused.
If you are using a MacBook Pro with a solid-state drive (SSD), sadly it’s another story. When you erase the file, it’s usually beyond recovery unless you have a backup. This is due to how the “Trim command” organizes a file in an SSD. When you delete a file from Trash, the TRIM system in Apple macOS also zeros out the actual data as part of its disk management, making the chances of salvaging the data slim.
Enough techy stuff, hope you get it 🙂 let’s move on.
How to Recover Trashed Files on Mac?
First things first — it is highly recommended that you stop using your Mac immediately. If your Mac has an HDD, try your best not to save or generate new files as they can possibly “over-write” the disk space. If your deleted files got overwritten, it’s extremely hard to retrieve them.
Step 1: Check if you have saved the files on another storage device.
Close your eyes for a few seconds, think about when you created the files.
For example, if they are photos, maybe they are still on your smartphone or on removable media (memory card, USB stick, external hard drive, etc.). Don’t forget the cloud storage services you might be using too.
Also, if they are project-based documents, maybe you’ve shared them with your co-workers, also check your email sent box to see if they are there.
Step 2: Restore from Time Machine backup.
If you have enabled Time Machine backup, you are in luck.
The files you trashed are probably in a previous Time Machine snapshot. Simply enter Time Machine and navigate to the folder where your erased items lie. This Apple support article is a detailed tutorial. If you prefer video tutorials, here’s a good one:
Step 3: Use a third-party Mac data recovery program.
If the above steps didn’t work out, your last option is to use a professional data recovery app.
We recommend Stellar Mac Data Recovery. The trial version is free and allows you to see if it is able to scan and locate the deleted files (with “Preview” functionality), you’ll need to purchase the software to fully recover the items though.
Other good alternatives include DiskWarrior 5 and Remo Recover Mac, in case Stellar doesn’t work for you.
Final words: backup is king!
In the digital age, your data is irreplaceable. The best way to avoid data disaster on Mac is to make good backups, or backup of backups 🙂
Apple Time Capsule is my first recommendation as it’s made by Apple. If you’re looking for something more affordable, check our our list of the best external drives for MacBook Pro.
Macbook Pro Applications Folder
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that online backup services like Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive are also great choices, and they have free plans to get started. Personally, I prefer hardware storage devices because they are more reliable and secure than online storage services. But hey, it’s up to you 🙂
Nov 12, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions
Unfortunately, this flashing question can lead to inaccessible data or even data loss because of data corruption. This article will discuss some of the data recovery solutions you can use to fix the folder with a flashing question mark.
Part 1: Why folder with a question mark appears at Mac startup
Most people are guilty of thinking that your Mac computer will work perfectly forever. However, when you need it to work as expected, things can quickly go wrong, leaving you with lots of questions. However, this shouldn’t be the case because things can always go wrong and be fixed at some point without much trauma.
What does a folder with a question mark mean on a MacBook?
A flashing question mark Mac appearing on your screen on startup is one of the most dreaded things that can ever happen to you. This question mark is an indication that your Mac is failing to identify its startup disk, leading to failure to boot. This can arise because you might have started up your computer from an external disk and later unplugged it, or it means your hard drive has failed.
What causes flashing question mark while booting Mac
As explained above, a Macbook pro flashing folder means your Mac cannot discover its boot directory. This is as a result of either the Mac is corrupt or simply a failure to detect the startup disk. Here are some reasons why you might see this question :
- Damaged hard drive. If your computer can’t identify your hard drive, it might not startup. This is due to a bad cable or a mechanically failed hard drive.
- A corrupt software system. There are various causes of this problem, such as intermittent failure of your hard drive leading to unsuccessful installation or an update issue.
Part 2: 5 solutions to Mac flashing folder with a question mark
If you are experiencing problems with a flashing folder with question mark Macbook when starting up your computer, perhaps the system fails to find the start-up disk. The good news is that there are various solutions you can use to get rid of this Macbook air folder with a question mark.
Solution 1. Reselect startup in System Preferences
When you see a flashing question mark Macbook pro for a few seconds and start, it’s most likely that the system failed to find the startup disc. For this problem, take the following easy and quick steps:
Step 1: Select System Preferences from the menu, and click the startup disk.
Step 2: Then click the disk you usually use to start your Mac computer. It’s commonly known as Macintosh HD.
Step 3: Finally, you should close your System preferences window.
After this process, the Macbook pro flashing folder question mark shouldn’t be flashing anymore when you start up your Mac.
Solution 2. Boot Mac from macOS Recovery Mode
If you view the Macbook flashing question mark, it means your startup disk doesn’t have a working Mac operating system, or it’s no longer available. Therefore, do the following to fix this problem:
Step 1: If you’re attempting to boot from your computer’s internal drive, you should shut down your Mac and start it up while pressing Command (⌘) +R buttons until you see the Apple logo.
Step 2: Once your computer starts in Recovery Mode, go to Disk Utility to restore your startup disk. Recovery Mode is ideal when your computer fails to boot, usually due to the damaged or corrupt startup disk.
Step 3: If the Disk Utility repairs the errors or found no errors, you can either reinstall macOS or restore it using a Time Machine backup.
Solution 3: Repair startup disk with Disk Utility
The flashing folder with question mark Macbook can be distressing to many people. This is a good sign that your Mac computer can’t find its system folder. In most cases, it can be tricky to locate a startup disk in the System Preference. As a result, you should repair your startup disk by taking the steps listed below:
Step 1: In the macOS utility window, select Disk Utility.
Step 2: Then choose the startup disk, which is also called the Macintosh HD. While here, you should locate it on the left side of the window and find and click on the First Aid button.
Step 3: Click on the Repair Disk icon to begin repairing any problems with the system.
Step 4: Once the repair is complete, you can click Disk Utility to stop the process because your startup disk is repaired.
Step 5: Go to the menu and choose Startup Disk. Now, you can restart the system, and the flashing question mark should no longer be there.
Solution 4: Access and recover lost files (recommended)
There is no doubt that Mac is popular across the globe because of its functionalities. However, some users face this Macbook pro question mark error, indicating that your data files are damaged or corrupted.
It’s worth mentioning that you need to backup your data before you proceed with the recovery process of your data. This is because if you fail to back it up while reinstalling the macOS, it might lead to data loss due to overwriting.
The recommended way to do this is by using Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software. This tool is popular among users as it can recover lost or deleted files due to startup disk problems.
Think about it. If you intend to reinstall macOS without backing up your precious data, such as photos, documents, system files, and many more, you can lose everything because of overwriting. Besides, this tool has an easy-to-use interface, and you can recover lost or deleted files pretty quickly.
Put, if you’re seeing a Macbook pro blinking folder, there can likely be data loss due to corruption. Hence, you need reliable data recovery software to recover it.
This is where the Recoverit Mac Data Recovery tool comes in handy. When you use this software, it can search and restore all lost or damaged files within a couple of minutes. To use it, take the following steps:
Step 1: Select a question mark location.
Download and install the Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software on your Mac or Windows computer. When you install it, choose where the question mark is coming from and the data you want to recover.
Then launch the scanning process to recover corrupted or damaged files by clicking the Start button.
Step 2: Scan for lost files
Recoverit Mac Data Recovery tool will scan the disk.
But you should note that with a deep scan, it might take a while as the tool scans and recovers the files.
Step 3: Preview and restore corrupted or damaged files.
With the Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software, you can preview recovered data files and save them to any location on your Mac.
All you need to do is to Recover to restore your files.
Solution 5. Reformat Mac Startup Disk
This is another important solution to fixing the Macbook profile with a question mark. Here is the deal, before you can install and use your new solid-state drive (SSD) on your Mac computer, you have to reformat your Mac Startup disk. Here is what you need to do to make sure that you don’t have a Macbook pro blinking folder with a question mark during startup:
Step 1: You should always connect your SSD through a USB adapter or even any external connection option and enter Disk Utility. Alternatively, install the SSD into your Mac system internally and enter Disk Utility through the macOS Recovery tool. If your Mac computer detects the SSD, you will see a message letting you know that the drive fails to read your computer. At this point, you should click the initialize icon.
Step 2: The critical SSD will be displayed in Disk Utility. Therefore, go on to highlight it and click the Erase icon.
Step 3: You should type in the new partition name and prove that it has the GUID Partition Table.
Step 4: Make sure that the selected format has gone to MacOS Extended.
Step 5: Here, you should choose Erase to ensure that the drive is partitioned and formatted. Lastly, close it once the Disk Utility is done. After completing this process, you should see a new SSD on our desktop.
Solution 6. Reinstall macOS
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to fix the Macbook pro showing the folder with a question mark. There is always a time when startup issues have to do with the Disk Utility problems, which could be frustrating for Mac users.
Therefore, when the repair process is not successful, your best option is to reformat your Mac computer. However, you should perform a full data backup so that you don’t lose important data.
You might be aware that once you erase your startup disk, it’s likely that all stored data can be erased. These include documents, photos, videos, and many more data files. For this reason, you will be in safe hands if you backup your data.
If you can’t find any recent backup option, your best bet is to use an external drive. Therefore, take the following steps to make sure that you have a perfect backup:
Step 1: You should connect the external drive to your Mac computer. But ensure that this external drive you are connecting can erase the data on your Mac.
Step 2: Determine that the external drive has the same size as the startup disk. If not, then the process is destined for failure.
Step 3: Now, you should click on the macOS Recovery option. In this way, you can erase the external drive connected to your Mac computer. Aside from this, it makes it easier to install the macOS once more.
Step 4: It’s important to bear in mind that you should erase the Startup Disk at no point. This is because this feature is inbuilt and is designed to perform various activities.
Step 5: When you see that the installation process is done, then restart your Mac computer. You are bound to see a setup assistant where you can choose and go to all your data. But you should make sure to choose the startup built-in drive as your option to transfer all your data.
Step 6: Lastly, open your Mac Recovery and begin reinstalling your data. If you observe that the installation is done, you can restart your computer. Here, you can use the setup assistant to transfer the data back to your computer startup drive.
Video Guide on How to Fix Flashing Folder With Question Mark on Facebook
Part 3: Important tips for Mac computer startup
Despite the popularity of Mac, you can’t ignore that the blinking question mark Macbook pro can take a big toll on you. Thus, many people seek quick solutions to make their Mac computers perform as well as before.
Right steps to boot Mac properly.
To avoid a blinking question mark Macbook, you should boot correctly. If you’re booting from CD, press down the C button on your keyboard to instantly boot to a MacOSX or any other bootable disc on your computer.
Test Utility for Apple is usually designed to boot from a disc that comes with your Mac. However, Apple introduced Intel-based Macs, which have inbuilt AHT utility. Therefore, you should press down the D button when booting while starting up your computer into the Apple Hardware Test.
How to avoid flashing question mark at Mac startup
Now that you know the causes of the Macbook pro question mark folder on startup, you must avoid this from happening on your Mac. Hence, the ideal way to avoid it is by rebooting your Mac while holding the Command R button on your keyboard.
In this way, your computer will attempt to restart your Mac through the Recovery partition. If this works, it means your drive is in good condition. Then you can use Disk Utility to repair the partition.
However, if you can’t reboot using the Command R button, another option is to use the Command Option R key. This is an internet recovery which you can use to repair the damaged partition table when the drive is okay. You can utilize the Disk Utility program to make a new partition and restore it from your backup.
How to prevent Mac data loss
Mac computers can also be affected by data loss, like Windows computers. Therefore, to prevent this painful data loss experience, you should take the following steps:
- Perform regular data backup for your computer data. For example, if you put great importance on your Word documents, you can back up your Word files to an external hard drive so that you can retrieve the data after damage to your Mac system.
- Upload your data files to the cloud. Cloud backup solutions like Google drive are the best way of preventing Mac data loss. Most of these backup services are reliable and simple to use.
- Check storage devices regularly. Don’t think that your external drive or SD card is always in perfect condition. Instead, you should physically check your memory cards and USB flash drives for any damage. This is especially true with SD cards, which are bendable, fragile, and small, making them vulnerable to physical damage.
- Be ready for the worst. Sometimes, it’s best to prepare for the worst regardless of the precautions you take. In such a case, it’s better to act before things get worse. Therefore, you should use capable, reliable data recovery software, such as Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software to restore your data.
There are good reasons why many people love using Mac computers. This is because they are functional and simple to use. But sometimes you can experience some issues, such as a flashing question mark folder.
Thankfully, these problems can be solved quickly using various methods like a safe boot recovery and restarting your Mac. However, to prevent data loss while using these methods, it’s good to utilize the most reliable data recovery tool like the Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software.
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