I got a new computer and gave my old one to my wife. Before I had a chance to save some files she deleted my admin account and set up one for herself.

How do I get my old files off the computer?


There are a few options given when deleting an account on a Mac:

  • Save the home folder as a disk image: This will archive all the user’s documents and information so the user can be restored later if needed. The disk image is saved in /Users/Deleted Users/.
  • Leave the user’s home folder as is: Select “Don’t change the home folder.” The user’s documents and information remain and the user can be restored later if needed. The home folder remains in /Users/.
  • Remove the user’s home folder from the computer: Select “Delete the home folder.” The user information will be deleted and the storage space will be freed. If you want to prevent programs that read raw data from retrieving any files, select “Erase home folder securely.”

If she chose the second option, to save the home folder, you might still have your files. Are you comfortable using terminal? If so, you can navigate to the users/ folder and see if you see your old username and if anything is in there. If there is, you can use some commands to move the files onto the desktop

cd /Users
ls -l
sudo mv -r [username] ~/Desktop

If she chose the first option, then cd/Users/"Deleted Users" instead of /Users. If she chose the third option, that's beyond what I know to do. Either way, check those two folders.

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