to commonly asked questions.

Pages docs have disappeared

Hi, Scotty. Remember when you came to my house about a year ago and helped me get my mother-in-law’s PC temporarily set up in my bonus room upstairs? Well, she has since moved back to Florida and is doing really well. She now has a new Mac; we trashed the old PC. I was in FLA this past weekend and attempted to show her a few of the basics...

She didn’t have anything filed; her docs were everywhere, including stuck throughout the Applications folder and just about everywhere else. So…I made folders in the Finder's “Documents” and filed the individual documents into them. I thought all was well and came back to Charlotte. However, tonight she tells me that when she tries to open the documents I put into folders in “Documents”, she gets the message “cannot be opened because original item cannot be found.” What did I do wrong? (I’m trying to remember exactly what I did…I think I pulled the files from the other areas onto the desktop, then filed them into the appropriate folders in “Documents.”)

She writes articles for a local magazine and now she can’t open any of the Pages docs (containing her work-in-progress articles) I filed away. Can you help me at all?

First off, hopefully she was running time machine backup software. That would have required an external drive be connected in the past. If this is the case, then you can always recover the documents from the time machine backup. But lets assume that has not happened. It sounds like you may have created aliases to these documents then possibly moved the original documents. This would make sense if the alias was trying to point back to the original document but having been moved from its original location, it would report the error you quoted. I feel confident we could recover these documents. Even if they had found their way to the trash, the trash would have to have been emptied in order to completely lose them from the computer. This may require us working together remotely with your in-law’s computer. I do remote sessions all over the country all the time so it shouldn’t be too hard to solve. In the future, it may be a good idea for her to store these documents in dropbox as dropbox keeps a copy of the file even after it’s deleted. Therefore the document can be recovered even if deleted.

Another idea may be that considering she was using Pages, these documents may be living in her iCloud storage space. If she’s updated to 10.10 Yosemite, she’ll have an actual iCloud drive accessible within the finder window. Either way, we should be able to solve it.
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