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It is very strange that I can't find older downloaded files, even though I upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion and now to Mountain Lion, and it was done on the same partition.

So my ~/Downloads folder actually shows files all the way back to last October 2011.

But inside, there is no VLC-2.0.1.dmg, even though currently installed on my Mac, it is the 2.0.1 version. So where could that file have gone? I never delete downloaded files (because the hard drive has 100GB+ of free space so 20MB or 30MB isn't a problem).

So the major question is, where could that file have gone? I used Spotlight to look for any file name with "vlc" in it, but only can find the app itself and a vlc-1.1.12.dmg.

Update: by the way, I can find the file by using Google, for vlc-2.0.1 site:videolan.org but still would be interested to know where in the hard disk can it be?

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If you don't find it with the below answers, note that you can always download it again here and see if OS X appends (1) or (2) or (copy) to it. –  Ethan Lee Sep 24 '12 at 3:48

2 Answers 2

Open terminal. Type this (this is gonna be slow):

sudo find / -iname '*vlc*'

This command will list all the files on all of your devices contains vlc in name.

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are you sure it is not sudo find / -iname '*vlc*' or sudo find / -iname 'vlc*'? But the fact that Spotlight didn't find it, I assume it might be in a cache and possibly with a different name? (but I am using Google Chrome to download, so they shouldn't be in a cache) –  動靜能量 Sep 24 '12 at 2:03
    
Spotlight doesn't look in system locations, find is better if you really want to search the whole drive. OTOH you seem to have used the DMG at least once to install VLC from so my bet is on an accidental deletion. –  patrix Sep 24 '12 at 4:28

Files downloaded from Safari or Chrome usually have a kMDItemWhereFroms attribute:

mdfind kMDItemWhereFroms==*

If you install an upgrade directly from an application, it doesn't usually download a disk image or at least keep it in a user folder.

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