I accidentially deleted every single file in my home folder of my Mac using rm -rf * in iTerms. I intended just to clear one folder, but clearly did not know what I was doing. Yes feel free to laugh, it's terrifying as well!

How can I recover my deleted files?

The files are not in Trash. There is no Time Machine backup. OS X Yosemite 10.10.4

  • 1
    boot from another drive, use something like Data Rescue, Disk Drill etc.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 4, 2015 at 12:36
  • You deleted every single file? Or the entire home folder? just for clarification :)
    – CML
    Aug 4, 2015 at 12:45
  • I deleted all files in the home folder. The core applications are still running, Mac still boots. Aug 4, 2015 at 12:48
  • OK. Stop using the Mac. Because the space on the drive is marked as free. so the OS might overwrite the data. I think @user3439894 has a good solution. Or did you disable TimeMachine SnapShot? maybe that will work for you. for information on SnapShot feature: here or here
    – CML
    Aug 4, 2015 at 12:56
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    @CML, If Time Machine is not turned on then there will not be any local snapshots. Apex's best option is to do as suggested in my answer or similar after following your advice to stop using the Mac so the deleted files are not overwritten by continued use. Aug 4, 2015 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


If I was in the same or similar situation, this is what I'd try...

Using another Mac I'd download Yosemite from the App Store and then create a USB Installer. Next I'd boot the Mac with the Yosemite USB Installer and install Yosemite to an External USB Drive, preferably a USB 3.0 HDD/SSD or even a large Thumb Drive. Once the install to the External USB Drive is complete I'd boot the Mac from it and then download and install Ontrack EasyRecovery (on the external disk) then shutdown and move the External USB Drive to your MacBook Pro and boot from it. Then run Ontrack EasyRecovery and see what can be recovered. If the trial shows promising results then purchase the product and recover as much of your User Data that you can.

  • Thanks, I stand corrected. The systems files where not deleted. The Mac still boots. So you recommend Ontrack EasyRecovery? Aug 4, 2015 at 12:59
  • @Apex, I do, however done from a separate bootable USB (or Thunderbolt) drive that has OS X and Ontrack EasyRecovery installed and adequate free space to recover the deleted files to or the use of an additional drive to restore the deleted files to. Aug 4, 2015 at 13:09

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