I have a very big downloads folder with over 200 files that haven't been properly organized.

The problem is that whenever I download something, eg a zip file from github, and I unzip it, the FILE IS GONE. I'm sure it's in there somewhere but it's impossible to find as no sorting mechanism puts it first. Date Modified, date created, date opened, etc are all not putting it first.

Dealing with this type of UX is incredibly painful.

Any advice?

Edit Sorry:

My original question was confusing and didn't explain what I was looking for. I'm looking for the output of the zip file not the original zip. The original zip is deleted, I don't need that anymore.

7 Answers 7


What is happening is that that files are being unzipped to the Downloads folder, BUT the date that is being used is the date that the file was created on whichever system it was created on.

Unfortunately that date is not usually helpful to you.

If you use Lion you can sort a folder by "Date Added" by pressing control + command + 4 (or View » Arrange By » Date Added).

If you are not on Lion (or even if you are), then I highly recommend The Unarchiver which works on 10.4+. It can: * extract zips to a specific directory (I use ~/Unzips) * always unzip to a new folder (which makes them easier to find, some files unzip to a different name, which is probably part of the confusion you are facing) * and it can set the modification date to the current date/time, which will help the sorting problem: * it can automatically open folder it creates (so you don't have to go hunting for it) * it can either keep the the original .zip or move it to the trash.

Even on Lion, I use it as my default ever since I found it, because of all the additional features that it offers.

And it's free (donations accepted).


You can alter the settings of archive utility dealing with how extractions are handled using the built in preference pane. It's not installed by default but it can easily be adeded to system preferences just by double clicking the file in

/System/Library/CoreServices/Archive Utility.app/Contents/Resources/

as described here


Go to /System/Library/CoreServices and double click on Archive Utility. Once it launches, go to the Archive Utilities Preferences. From there, you can set where the files are expanded and whether it deletes the archive (zip file).

No need to use a 3rd party utility or navigate through program resources.

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You'll want to check this, but I seem to recall that OS X's Archive utility will in fact delete an archive after a successful unarchive operation. There may be a way to change a setting in Archive utility to change this default behavior.


You might want to check out The Unarchiver as a replacement to OS X's built-in unzip utility - it has an option in its preferences to explicitly retain the original file.

That said I thought OS X since 10.6 would simply move the original .zip to your Trash?


open Terminal and type

ls -tU ~/Downloads

This will print the list of the files sorted by creation date (I'm assuming your download folder is ~/Downloads otherwise you have to use the path to that directory).

If this does not place your file first...are you sure the file is actually there?


we are using noodlesoft's hazel to keep our whole downloads folder organised.

hazel detects whatever gets added and then applies rules which you can customise to your liking.

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