I had a folder, we'll call it Folder1, open in a Finder window, and I was going to move files to it. So, I opened up another file window, but accidentally dragged the Folder1 icon into the Images section in All My Files in the new Finder window.

Now I can't find the folder anywhere. I even did

sudo /usr/libexec/locate.updatedb && locate Folder1

to no avail. It seems to be nowhere.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Was it empty folder ?
    – Ruskes
    Jul 28, 2013 at 8:30
  • No, it contained a good amount of Python in it. Jul 28, 2013 at 19:53

4 Answers 4


I've just tried to repeat what you did, the folder ended up in the Documents folder. Instead of using locate it might be easier to use the search functionality included in the Finder directly (or Spotlight) to look for it.

  • Oddly, even using the search functionality in the Finder turned up nothing, hence why I decided to use locate. Jul 28, 2013 at 19:52

All approaches listed so far rely on some sort of database or cache. You may want to search the filesystem itself:

find ~ -name Folder1

As LCC suggested, I would use find. However I would start in the root of the volume, on the off chance that it ended up somewhere strange outside of your Home directory.

sudo find / -name Folder1 2>/dev/null

The 2>/dev/null portion of the command line redirects stderr to /dev/null so you don't get spammed with complaints about devices and directories you don't have permission to access.


Spotlight is always the place to start. It's fast and frequently finds what you're looking for right off the bat.

Using Spotlight keywords to narrow the search may make it faster and will improve the accuracy of the search.

filename:some_folder_name kind:folder

Even so Spotlight won't always produce the desired result. For instance system files are not automatically included in Spotlight searches.

Someone mentioned the Finder search. It should be noted that it is just another UI for Spotlight.

It's a good idea to have a means to search your hard drive(s) that does not depend upon Spotlight.

Unix's find utility is very useful, but it has its limitations and isn't all that fast.

Probably the best free find-utility for the Mac is EasyFind from DEVONTechnologies. You can download it directly or get it from the App-Store.

This utility does not depend upon Spotlight or any index when searching. It crawls the disk looking for hits and is faster than Unix's find.

To my recommendations I would add Find Any File. At $6.00 U.S. it's a bargain – it's faster than EasyFind – and with a password it will search as root.

Finally there is File Buddy – the venerable 900lb gorilla of Mac search utilities. At $39.95 U.S. it's anything but cheap, but it has many features that have kept me upgrading since the early 1990s.

  • What makes this tool better than Spotlight or the built-in search in Finder?
    – nohillside
    Jul 31, 2013 at 13:24
  • Why would Spotlight be the best place to start, when it needs all sorts of tweaking--and non-intuitive ones--to even begin? And "doesn't always produce desired result?" There's only one result: the right one. Else it has not found. Spotlight is a joke, a tangent in some engineer's mind who has long forgotten the consumer / user.
    – Zo219
    Aug 1, 2013 at 8:47

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