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I was wondering if there is a way to recover photos and things alike from a MacBook after reinstalling the OS X.

Like when you reinstall Windows there is the "Windows.old" folder and you can recover some of the data from there.

  • Did you do a clean install? That is, erased your hard drive and then installed a new system? Because otherwise, there is no reason your data should be gone. – Édouard Dec 30 '14 at 12:51
  • Yeah, the files were corrupted and my mother re-installed the OSX thinking that she was updating or something like that. She used the installation CD and she overwrited the content. – deuseux12 Dec 30 '14 at 13:24
  • There are different ways to reinstall the OS from the installation DVD, which specific one did you mother pick? – nohillside Dec 30 '14 at 15:18
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The Apple installer does not erase the disk unless you tell it to - that involves opening Disk Utility. So your files are fairly likely to still be there in the Users folder, just under your old user name.

However, you said "She used the installation CD" - you have old hardware running OS X.6 (Snow Leopard) or earlier? those versions DID have an "erase and install" option.

Of course, the easiest way is to simply recover the files from yesterday's backup that you of course have on an external drive.

  • I would upvote if not for the tone of that last paragraph. – Édouard Dec 30 '14 at 15:14
  • @Édouard what's wrong with the tone? People have backups, just look there. – paul Jan 3 '15 at 13:25
  • You’re actually answering to someone, who might or might not have a backup. Yes, not having backups of valuable is a terrible idea, a lesson people often learn the hard way; but saying “of course you have a backup” is very condescending to someone who, quite possibly, has none. – Édouard Jan 3 '15 at 14:09
  • @Édouard Computers aren't exactly new, and nobody says "backups are not necessary". It's well into the 21st century - anyone who does not have a backup, and loses data, deserves a bit of condescension. If I recall, it takes about 3 clicks to set up hourly backups on a Mac. – paul Jan 8 '15 at 23:39
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I'm afraid no such thing exists in Mac OS X.

You could try recovering the information you want using software like TestDisk, although might be difficult to recover if you're using a SSD drive or you did a Secure Erase.

  • Well, except you’ve actually wrote new data onto the disk, potentially overwriting previous data. – Édouard Dec 30 '14 at 12:51
  • @Édouard Indeed. That's why I used try. ;) – Thecafremo Dec 30 '14 at 12:52
  • My point is recovering data in this circumstance will be difficult. – Édouard Dec 30 '14 at 15:21
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After searching for some hours I found a program which can recover files. http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec You select which hard-drive will try to recover data, the format in which files are saved in that disk,... Also you can select which types of files you want to get. For example .jpg. The program will look for files in the hard-drive which have the header for the .jpg and will save them in a folder. The only bad thing is that it recovers also program icons and everything so you will have +30k photos which you won't need.

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