I've inadvertently deleted my thunderbird.dmg & then emptied the trash. Doh!

Is there any way I can restore that particular file?

I'm running Mac OS X Version 10.6.4 on a macbook pro.

  • changed title to fit the answer better.
    – gef
    Sep 5, 2010 at 1:26
  • 4
    Odd question - is there any reason you haven't installed Thunderbird into your Applications folder instead of leaving it on the disk image it's distributed on? ( If you didn't know you could/needed to you're not alone ).
    – Chealion
    Sep 5, 2010 at 3:19
  • PhotoRec would work great for this IF IT SUPPORTED DMG FILES :) Just a rant... I've used PhotoRec (free!) a few times and it always gets my file back in no time, but last night i deleted a .dmg and it has no option to search for .dmg's :/ Sep 17, 2010 at 23:17

3 Answers 3


If the file is in the Trash, you can just drag it back out. However, once you remove the item from the Trash it's as good as gone*. Why not just download it again?

* there are some programs that claim to be able to restore deleted data, but the chances of recovering a large file like a DMG on the system drive are virtually nonexistent

  • For some reason I thought my old emails were being stored in the dmg. Double Doh! Re-downloading thunderbird.dmg has fixed my issue.
    – gef
    Sep 5, 2010 at 1:20
  • 2
    @gef Glad to hear it. Might I suggest that you buy an external hard drive and set up Time Machine as soon as possible? It will really save your bacon in the future. Sep 5, 2010 at 1:37
  • Yep, I know, my bad (almost) :)
    – gef
    Sep 5, 2010 at 1:51
  • Your mail won't be stored in the DMG. No app really writes back to the DMG. The reason your mail was still there is that Thunderbird (or any other app for that matter) writes most of its content to ~/Library/. Therefore, your mailboxes are stored there, as well as your preferences.
    – jmlumpkin
    Dec 7, 2010 at 13:15

"Re-downloading thunderbird.dmg has fixed my issue"

That sounds a lot like you are running Thunderbird from the .dmg (Disk iMaGe) file. As someone else mentioned, you don't have to do this, and the application will launch faster if you don't.

Drag the Thunderbird icon from the .dmg to your Applications folder (there might be a shortcut to the Applications folder in the .dmg itself) and then drag the icon from your Applications folder to the Dock. Then you can click on the icon on the Dock and Thunderbird will open directly without having to open and unpack the .dmg file.

You can then delete the .dmg and not have any problems. Your emails are stored in your home folder not in the application or the .dmg (as you discovered).


You have the best chance of recovering your deleted files if you scan your Mac immediately after realizing that you have deleted files that you need. otherwise your files are gone. in your case, the unix(Darwin in yourcase) filesystem has already written over significant portions of those files.


"For all intents and purposes, when you delete a file with "rm" it is gone. Once you "rm" a file, the system totally forgets which blocks scattered around the disk were part of your file. Even worse, the blocks from the file you just deleted are going to be the first ones taken and scribbled upon when the system needs more disk space. However, never say never. It is theoretically possible if you shut down the system immediately after the "rm" to recover portions of the data. However, you had better have a very wizardly type person at hand with hours or days to spare to get it all back."

in this case, finder trashing equals "rm"

How To Recover Accidentally Deleted Files:

If you are attempting to recover files from the Trash, note the following: If you've emptied the Trash or deleted the files with the rm (remove) command, your files and data is recoverable IF you STOP using your Mac right now. This is particularly true if you are currently running low on disk space. The Mac OS X overwrites this little free space very quickly with temp files.

Next, you can try to recover deleted Trash files on your Mac using a good recovery program. The best 2 are Data Rescue 3 and Stellar Mac Data Recovery - (free download). and for what doing with this app you can follow this tutorial.

  • Looks like it's going to take a few hours to scan. Is it going to charge me before I may restore the file?
    – gef
    Sep 5, 2010 at 0:11
  • I don't think so
    – Am1rr3zA
    Sep 5, 2010 at 0:39
  • Yep it does. Oh well.
    – gef
    Sep 5, 2010 at 1:17

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