Regardless of whether you’re a new or advanced user, there should be no reason whatsoever why you would ever need to go through the system files on your Mac. The system files are there for a reason, and you should know that each file has a specific purpose. Unfortunately, curiosity can sometimes get the best of us, and we end up exploring the folders that never need to be opened. By doing so, there is a chance that a file or two there could get unintentionally deleted.
Not all system files have a significant impact on a Mac. Even if you accidentally delete some files, the device will still function, albeit some applications may begin to malfunction. Fortunately, there is a way to recover deleted system files on Mac. This article will show you how to recover those lost files so that the malfunctioning application will return to its normal status.
Recover Deleted Files on Mac Using Time Machine
Perhaps the easiest and the most practical method to recover lost files is to use Time Machine. Time Machine is an application that restores your system status to a predetermined time. For instance, if Time Machine is set up before your expedition around the system file folders, then using it will return your device to that predetermined time. All the files that were changed or deleted will be returned. However, this will only happen if you were fortunate enough or had the foresight to set up Time Machine before exploring your Mac’s system files.
Recover Lost Files by Reinstalling the Mac OS
If you weren’t fortunate enough to have had Time Machine set up, or if Time Machine fails for some odd reason, then another option would be to reinstall the Mac OS system software. It’s important to note that when done right, reinstalling the Mac OS won’t affect your data in any way. The only files changed during a reinstall are the system files. Your data files will remain as is.
However, you’ll need to remember that there is also a “clean install” option. In this option, everything on the Mac will be deleted including your data. So before you perform any type of system restore, make sure that you’ve backed up your data onto a portable drive, another computer, or on a data server, should one be available.
The System File Recovery Process
Once you’ve backed up all your data, or at the very least any vital information on your drive, reboot your Mac. Once the Mac starts up, make sure you hold down the COMMAND + R keys together. The command will direct the system to open the Mac Utilities screen. In the screen, you’ll be provided with four options:
- Restore from Time Machine Backup
- Reinstall Mac OS
- Get Help Online
- Disk Utility
Like mentioned earlier, choose the first option (Time Machine Backup) if you’ve previously backed up your device using Time Machine. If not, then the second option would be the better choice. Each option will give you different sets of instructions. Follow the instructions until the restoration procedure is complete.
The restoration process will take some time, maybe even a few hours. You’ll need to be patient during this process as interrupting it will cause it to fail and possibly cause even more severe damage to your Mac.
Restore Deleted Files on Mac Using Internet Recovery
System recovery, whether through Time Machine backup or complete system reinstall, should work. Once completed, your Mac should typically be running once again. In the rare event that it doesn’t, then this can only mean that even the recovery files were damaged for one reason or another. But don’t give up on your Mac just yet, though. There’s one more way you can complete the restoration process, but it will require a high-speed internet connection. Fortunately these days, high-speed Internet is widely available, unless of course, you’re in a remote location. If you need to use Internet recovery, then follow these steps.
- Reboot your Mac.
- Hold down the Command + Option + R keys immediately once the computer boots up. Waiting too long will enable the system to continue processing.
- You’ll then see a globe icon on your screen, which means that your Mac is accessing the Internet to perform a system recovery. Again, this will only happen if you’re connected to a high-speed Internet.
What happens during the Internet recovery process is the device downloading the system files from the Web. This can take some time depending on the speed of your Internet connection. Just remember to be patient. Once the download is complete, you’ll be forwarded to the OS X utilities screen where you’ll be given the option to Reinstall Mac OS X. Choose this option. If for some reason the system could not find a previous version of the Mac OS, it will give you an Install OS X option instead.
Discussed above are the easiest ways to recover deleted system files on a Mac. If these don’t cut it, you can try these methods, too. Now, if you were able to reinstall your Mac OS successfully and it’s functioning correctly once again, you’ll need to remember not to mess around with the system files in the future. In fact, it would be better to ensure that your Mac is optimized from this time on by using Outbyte MacRepair. The application will help you optimize the system’s RAM, storage, and other system settings on your Mac so that it functions as best it can all the time.