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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Jan 24, 2010
    Question Weird external hard drive trash problem--HELP PLEASE!!
    Ok, this one is odd because I searched far and wide for a similar problem and couldn't find one...
    To give some background, I have a MacBook Pro and a Lacie external hard drive with millions (ok thousands) of baby photos on it. I was doing some organizing, basically moving some files from my laptop into the external hard drive. I then proceeded to put these same files from my laptop into the trash (logical, right? I was backing them up, so I didn't need them to be on the laptop anymore). I hit "empty trash" and much to my jaw-dropping astonishment, the trash began to register more than a thousand files that were in the process of being deleted. After a few seconds, I stopped empty trash and looked further into the files remaining. They were baby photos (that had been stored on my external HD). When I ejected the HD, the files simply disappeared from the trash. When I plugged it back in, they reappeared. I would like to know what is going on, but more importantly, I am concerned that I have lost some photos in the process, and if so, is it possible to recover them?
    Any insight into this weirdness is much much appreciated!

    PS--I'm quite certain I've had this problem before, with the same hard drive attached to a different Mac upon finding a mystery bundle of baby photos (that I had never put in) in the trash while the HD was plugged in.

  2. #2

    Member Since
    Mar 30, 2004
    12" Apple PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz)
    The thing is, you can have many disks (your internal and external hard disks) but only one Trash. When you put something into the Trash, it goes into the same Trash regardless of which disk it was on.

    If you put something from the external into the Trash, it goes into that one Trash. If you empty the Trash with the external connected, then those items from the external that are in the Trash get deleted along with any items from the internal that were also in the Trash at the same time

    If you put items from the external disk into the Trash and then disconnect the external, those items will disappear from the Trash until the next time the external is connected. At that time they will re-appear in the Trash on whatever Mac you connect it to.

    It sounds like you accidentally threw away your backup copies along with the originals that you intended to delete. This can happen if you lose track of which disk you're in while you're moving things to the Trash. If that's the case, it's very likely that you have lost them forever; you may be able to recover them with DiskWarrior or TechTool Pro if you haven't used the disk much since.

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