Saturday, 20 May 2017 16:55

Did a mysterious Lost & Found folder just appear on your Mac? It could mean trouble

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Joseph Pierpoint discovered a folder in his Trash labeled “Lost & Found.” When he opened it, he found it contained over 50,000 files. Worse, “Any attempts to send these files to the Trash are thwarted by interruptions that state that this kind of solution is infeasible for one reason or another.”

The Lost & Found folder relates to a low-level Unix filesystem-recovery utility. When fsck (filesystem check) runs, it looks not just at files that appear properly referenced in a filesystem’s directory, but also at anything it finds that looks like a file but isn’t appropriately noted in that record structure. In Unix, it stores these recovered bits in a folder named lost+found. macOS exposes recovered files in Lost & Found, and drops it in the Trash because these items typically aren’t useful, but it doesn’t delete them in case a user wants to examine what was recovered.

The “journaled” part of Apple’s HFS+ Journaled disk partition type refers to tracking and recording changes so that they can be applied later if there’s a failure while they’re being made directly. In this case, it’s macOS updating the HFS+ directory. If something goes wrong while that’s happening, before the Journaled format, if you’re as old as I am, you might recall having to run repair operations that could take tens of minutes or hours to rebuild directory structures.

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SPEEDEE spends his day searching the internet for the information you need to better use your Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch and all else Apple.

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