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Mountain Dew vs. iPhone and More Fun Stories — Mac Geek Gab 856

John F. Braun
Joined: 24 years ago
Posts: 176
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Allen Watson
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Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 3

You more or less recommended the use of apps like Hazel and CleanMyMac for removing files associated with apps being deleted. I agree, but herein is a cautionary tale. It can REALLY screw you up.

For many years I have been a regular user of BBEdit for writing and text manipulation. I've written many AppleScripts for my personal, unique needs in BBEdit. Some are practically add-on apps, such as finding any 2 or 3 words or phrases in the same sentence (in any order) in multiple files. I use these daily.

Very recently I noticed BBEdit had a new version, so I decided to upgrade. For some reason I cannot fathom, instead of simply running update from within the app as I have always done, I manually deleted the version of BBEdit I had, and then downloaded and installed the newer one. Hazel popped up and offered to remove the support files for the old version when I deleted it, and I accepted the offer. Ooops!

Result: my preferences, person keyboard shortcuts, and ALL MY APPLESCRIPTS, were gone! I had something akin to a virgin installation of BBEdit. FORTUNATELY I had not emptied the trash. I looked there and found a single folder named "BBEdit Support Files". At first I thought all I needed to do was copy that folder back to overwrite whatever new one was created by installing the updated app, but no. There was no such folder on my disk except the one in trash.

Trying to be clever I dragged the deleted copy out of the trash, and lo and behold, Hazel popped up and said that BBEdit had been reinstalled, did I want to recover all the support files from the trash? Gleefully I said yes, but it didn't work. The new installation had created a new set of files and Hazel was unable to overwrite them with the ones I wanted from the trash.

I wrote support at both Barebones and Noodlesoft (Hazel). Patrick Woolsey of Barebones wrote back almost at once telling me to copy the folder of support files out of the trash to my Desktop, then run a Terminal command he gave me to list the files in it to a text file that I would send to him. He said he'd get back to me tomorrow with instructions on how to recover.

I'll add an update here about the success or failure of my recovery efforts tomorrow.

Patrick made a point of saying that situations like this is why Barebones recommends AGAINST the use of "cleaner" apps like Hazel and CleanMyMac.


I SHOULD ADD that I still intend to use both Hazel and CleanMyMac. Hazel file triage functions are indispensable, as are many of the functions of CleanMyMac. I may even allow Hazel to continue to clean up when I delete apps; I've found that to be very useful. However, I will be very, very careful in the future to never delete an app unless I truly, really want it gone with everything that has to do with it, and have no intention of installing a newer version of the same app.

This post was modified 1 year ago by Allen Watson