Restore items from the Trash to their previous location on your Mac

Dec 29, 2009 - 11 Comments

You can restore the original location of a file that has been sent to the Trash very easily. Select an item in the Trash and hit the Command+Delete keys to send that item to it’s location prior to the Trash. If you’re not a fan of keystrokes, try Right-Clicking on the file within the Trash and select ‘Put Back’ from the contextual menu (see screenshot).

restore item from trash

This may be Snow Leopard only, but how amazingly useful! You can select many files, or all the files in the Trash if you want, it will put them all back in their original location on your Mac.

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Posted by: William Pearson in How to, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Sami says:

    There is no such option on my version of installed Snow Leopard. I will appreciate if some one tell me how to enable this option.

  2. TheSkeptic says:

    @Sami: The “Put Back” is there by default on any file that you delete using Finder. You do need to select the item in the trash to see it in the context menu.

    @William: Keyboard shortcut for Put Back is CMD-DELETE, which is the same as the one you used to put it there in the first place. This is handy, although a little counter-intuitive.

    Also, this option is not new… it is finally restored in 10.6… it was a feature of OS 9!! (not to mention every version of Windows for a very long time).

  3. Boom says:

    Th “put back” option is not available in icon view :-)

  4. Boom says:

    Opps I’m sorry my bad, it does indeed work.

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  6. AJM says:

    I have this item but only for SOME files.
    It took me some time to discover a file where this did work.
    Any ideas on what makes this available or not available on certain items that are in the Trash?

    • david says:

      it depends on the file’s location. If they are in the same folder, then you can select them all and right click, put back

  7. jet says:

    There is no “put back” button for me either.

  8. jet says:

    Ahh, I see. If a file is deleted using another program such as muCommander or XnView then the “put back” option is not available. Lame, bad design.

  9. nora says:

    i accidentally moved over 14000 songs to the trash bin. the “put back” option only seems to be available if i select a single file, not if i select several. im not gonna make that move fourteen thousand times, thats just stupid!

    drag and drop is not possible, since itunes wont be able to find the files anymore if theyre not in their original place.

    does anyone know a solution?

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