My Mac was previously running Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion. While making a bootable USB installer of El Capitan, the terminal command to restore the image ended up writing over a partition instead of the USB since they both were named "untitled". This partition had Snow Leopard along with all of my data. The other partition is working fine.

Now, I have been able to recover all of my valuable files after purchasing the recovery software but I'm wondering whether I should recover the rest of the files too. The software found literally all of the data on the partition, apps and everything but all of it is under "lost folders", somewhat categorized. Is there any way for me to restore this recovered data and go back to the original state of my MacBook?

Other Info:

The thumb drive I was making was for an external SSD. I wasn't planning on making any changes to the current setup of the Mac.

This was the guide that I was using: How to make a bootable OS X 10.11 El Capitan installer drive

This is what the recovery software is showing:

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

I have since renamed the partition to "OS X el capitan" since I erased it once.

  • 1
    Please check capitalization, grammar and spelling of your questions. I have to edit all your questions! Capitalization is crucial especially when it comes to POSIX paths!
    – klanomath
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 13:07
  • 2
    Also: you can't recover your SL volume completely once it was overwritten by the OS X createinstallmedia binary and erased afterwards. Directory entries detected/"recovered" by recovery software neither means that the files can be recovered nor that recovered files are intact. First you would have to check that all your "valuable" files are OK...
    – klanomath
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 13:13
  • Hi first of all, sorry ill be more carefull from now on. Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


No - the original state had files in specific locations and your recovery shows that that directory structure was lost.

So it sent "all the kings horses and all the kings men" to collect the parts of Humpty Dumpty but since the location of the parts is missing - it's not clear that even if you retrieved all the pieces - you would be able to get them in the correct places.

I would advise you restore all the files to a macOS formatted drive and set it aside. When you find you need to search for a specific file or text - you can use spotlight to search that drive for potential matches and copy them over to a place where you would like them to live. It's almost certain that the software you choose has instructions covering exactly how to do this operation in detail.

To summarize, data recovery isn't a substitute for a proper backup system. Those record durable and often redundant copies of file location data so you can always put things back where they belong as well as know if any one piece is missing since everything is cataloged "before the fall."

  • Thanks for your reply! I already have recovered the files (documents/movies and stuff) that I actually need and they seem to be fine so far. Is it not possible to go back to go back to SL at all? I would have to reinstall it again? Throw me a bone here, this was the first time I even had made a partition and dual booted. I barely know this shit Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 16:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .