Due to an accident, my entire applications folder with all the support files, including plists and caches got deleted.

I tried restoring by files from the most recent Time Machine backups but I cannot retrieve my applications with the support files.

I even tried it with migration assistant on a new image.

Is this impossible?

Must I start from scratch?

Details of the ‘accident’

I was using this app called ‘AppCleaner’ that also automatically deletes related support files which are normally left behind if one simply trashes an Application.

In the search view, I typed the app name and I selected all the apps in the results using Command + A. Unfortunately, this selected every single Application in the Applications Folder in the background and I trashed and deleted all files.


I tried to restore the applications and library from my Time Machine Back-ups but failed to do so because I didn’t have enough space to restore. (I have a 11inch Macbook Air 2012 64GB SSD

When I tried to restart in recovery mode, I had the same problem, I was disallowed the option to restore using my time capsule backups because my SSD didn’t have enough space for the backup.

I then tried to restore it to a totally different but new image on a 64GB USB3.0 Sandisk USB Stick, but the process stopped after hours of being stuck around 30.4 percent and the computer was unable to boot, leaving me with a persistent verbose message suggesting it couldn’t identify the os, kernel or anything.

I finally tried restoring the state using migration assistant on the very same SSD that had my files missing. This happened successfully and I have all my applications in the applications folder.

But now I have 13GB free (I had 2GB before) and all my application support files, saved states, preferences, caches and customizations are gone.

Basically, it feels like I just got a new macbook with my documents and itunes folder loaded on to it.

How can I get my apps back to the pre-deletion state or is this impossible? Do I have to start from scratch? I thought my Time Machine Backups would restore it to exactly the same state, am I wrong?



  • Thanks for responding @grgarside I'm sorry I didn't do a good job explaining as I made this post in haste. I'll clarify. All my applications work exactly like they would if they were freshly installed and had zero user data or customization. Example, -I have zero workflows in Alfred -I'm signed out of iCloud in Mail App -My growl notifications are reset Basically, everything that's supposed to have caches, plists, saved states etc. have nothing. zero, zilch. – Expiration Supreme Feb 4 '14 at 16:59
  • Time Machine seems to leave out certain files from the Library, e.g. screen savers. I'm not quite sure what is included and what isn't, though. – SilverWolf Jun 20 '18 at 14:13

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