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My friend accidentally deleted (moved to Trash) all the files listed in "All my files" in Finder. Instead of using the "put back" option, he moved these files from Trash to Desktop using Finder. Now he has lost the directory structure! Is there a way to put these files where they were deleted from originally? The problem is that "All my files" lists the files in one Finder window and when they were moved to the trash, the files appeared as if they were stored in one directory. So I was wondering if there is a way to figure out where these files once were. Any ideas?

PS Time machine is disabled and no other backups; Mac OS X 10.9.1

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  • If you haven't already restarted or done much on your system you could try going to "All My Files" and hitting Command-Z (Undo); sometimes that puts the files back. – l'L'l Jan 19 '14 at 18:11
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    Oh my gosh - This is a great reason to dislike All My Files. – bmike Jan 19 '14 at 21:21
  • Do you think "All My Files" is there because Windows refugees wanted it? – GEdgar Jan 19 '14 at 23:24
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No - there is no general way to recover the original location of arbitrary files when you move them out of trash and place them on the desktop.

Gladly, they didn't get erased, but this is exactly the job for which Time Machine was created. Now, you can leverage some knowledge about what goes into All My Files to get things back in a reasonable shape:

  1. Put obvious files in the correct location - Pictures, Documents, Movies, Music all have folders in the user home folder.
  2. Create a new smart folder to search the files for "Where from" to contain http to locate any files downloaded from the internet (and perhaps placing them back in Downloads folder)

Also, since OS X doesn't really care where most user folders or applications are stored, you don't even need to do anything but file these away in a "clean later" folder and apps that need a file will automatically locate the files in their new spot.

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Finder does not log event like deletion. The only logs you can get are the ones displayed in Console.app.

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