What the What? - Where is my organized desktop?


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So.... my desktop was a mess. A month ago, I finally took some time and put everything in it's place like a smart person should. It was so nice to be organized and have a clean looking desktop, because yes I do most of my work from my desktop. Except yesterday, when I opened my laptop, it was "circling" "searching" / the wheel was going. And it finally opened up to My Name (icon) and the Guest User (Icon).... which I hadn't seen in a long time. I thought well that's weird, and logged in under My Name obviously. When my desktop comes on line... somehow it's reverted back to a very old version of my messy desktop with 3 Flash Adobe icons, randoms docs not in the right folders, and everything all wrong! I spent time organizing this and was so proud of myself. Now it's all messed up again. What happened and how do I fix it?
 
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Need to ask some questions:

1. What exact Mac model do you have?

2. What exact Mac OS are you using?

3. Have you ever done an disk cleanup/maintenance/repairs, from a software perspective? By that I mean have you ever run any disk-related software to help with those tasks? There are some excellent products available (both free and commercial) that can help you with that.

4. This is critical: are you making backups to an external device? If you are, what software are you using for that? And is your external drive used for such backups?

Do you happen to remember what activities you were involved with the day before yesterday? Did you happen to download something and install it?

Also, do you happen to have either CleanMyMac or MacKeeper? IF you do, get rid of them, as they will do more harm than good.

Maybe you can try and see if a virus "attacked" your machine. For that, try the excellent freeware program Malwarebytes, available from here:

https://www.malwarebytes.com/mac/

You can also try the excellent (and more) program ClamXAv, available from here:

https://www.clamxav.com/

You can use it in demo mode for 30 days. It is very good.
 
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Thank you, Honestone.

1.I have a MacBook AIR 13 in Early 2015
2.OS X El Capitan Version 10.11.6
3. No, I haven't run any of those programs, but would be interested to know which free ones you recommend.
4. Yes, I have to back up to an external device, because I only have a sad 8GB on this laptop. Big mistake, I don't even sync my music and phone to this laptop b/c my phone has more storage. Didn't realized this when I made purchase so Apple gave me an external hard drive. Come to think of it, I did try to download a week ago after months. Maybe that had something to do with it. I did not download anything new however or install anything new.
5. YES!! and I did not intentionally install MacKeeper and now I can't get it off. I tried to uninstall via normal protocol, but it didn't work. Any forum or direction on how to uninstall, I would appreciate!
 
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I also have a 13" MacBook Air, but it is a Mid 2017 model with a 252 gig SSD (I am using the latest version of High Sierra, OS 10.13.4 (also have a late 2012 Mac Mini with a 256 gig SSD and 8 gig of memory, and also running OS 10.13.4 on it)). How much disk storage did your MacBook Air come with, 128 gig (actually more like 122-123 gig), or 256 gig (actually 252 gig)?

When you say "I only have a sad 8GB on this laptop", that is actually the amount of memory it has. I previously owned a mid 2013 13" MacBook Air with a 252 gig SSD, but it only had 4 gig of memory. The machine ran fine, but the 4 gig of memory, at times, became a bottleneck. So, I sold it in December and got the mid 2017 model, and it has 8 gig of Ram. Definitely a nice upgrade!

Regarding some excellent freeware that can be of assistance with disk cleanup/maintenance/repairs, from a software perspective, here are 3 stellar programs:

Onyx, available from here: https://www.titanium-software.fr/en/onyx.html

A stellar performer, it has been around for quite some time, has stellar reviews, and for myself, is essential. (I also have the excellent commercial program Tech Tool Pro that I use "in conjunction" with Onyx). Note that Onyx has a version for each Mac OS, and it is essential to use the correct version. For you, that would be V3.1.9.

AppCleaner, available from here: https://freemacsoft.net/appcleaner/

Another gem! It does an excellent job of finding most files associated with an application that one is deleting/removing. It would have been good to use it when you tried to get rid of MacKeeper (more on that below).

GrandPerspective, available from here: http://grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net/

Slick graphical way of seeing what files are on your internal drive, and thus could be used to locate large ones that are no longer necessary.

Next, regarding backups, there are two ways of doing it: use Time Machine (it comes as part of the OS, and is free), or use a backup/cloning program like SuperDuper! (I use it) or Carbon Copy Cloner. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, but I find SuperDuper! the way to go for 1) installing a new Mac OS, and 2) recovery from a disaster. This thread I started back in November, along with many useful comments from others, would be good for you to read:

https://www.mac-help.com/threads/backups-backups-backups.223959/

Now, regarding MacKeeper, you can use a search tool to try and locate the remaining files associated with MacKeeper. Just put "MacKeeper" in as the search term. The Mac OS comes delivered with Spotlight, but I prefer the excellent freeware program EasyFind, available from here:

https://www.devontechnologies.com/products/freeware.html

Finally, it is possible that the disk directory is somewhat "hosed", and thus is causing you issues with your desktop. You can run Disk Utility from the (hidden) Recovery Partition, and let it Repair your internal drive. However, without a backup, that is risky. Be that as it may, this link describes how to boot to the Recovery HD partition, and what one can use it for:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314
 

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