How can I reinstate an accidentally deleted Downloads folder


Could someone explain how I can get back my home “downloads” folder with the icon that I deleted without realizing it (and already emptied the trash)? I tried to do this through the terminal but got stuck. I’m using Zorin 12.04 OS, Ubuntu 16.04 on a 64-bit system. Thank you! (Oh, and I’m new to computers, so talk to me as if I’m three, please.)


You could try PhotoRec, but for that you need some prior knowledge.


Thanks for your help Akito. I should have been more clear, however. I’m not trying to recover anything that was in the downloads folder, just the folder itself. I made a new folder to replace the one I deleted, but I like things to be right. I want the original folder that belongs in the bookmarked section of my menu. If that makes sense. : )


Provide me with the output of the command ls -ali1 /etc/skel


~$ ls -ali1 /etc/skel
total 36
7078009 drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Aug 11 09:35 .
7077889 drwxr-xr-x 143 root root 12288 Oct 22 20:54 …
7080399 -rw-r–r-- 1 root root 220 Aug 31 2015 .bash_logout
7080400 -rw-r–r-- 1 root root 3771 Aug 31 2015 .bashrc
7080397 drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Aug 11 09:35 .config
7080401 -rw-r–r-- 1 root root 655 May 16 2017 .profile
7080398 drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Aug 11 09:37 Templates
Here you go. I have no idea what this means.


What about ls -ali1 /etc/skel/Templates?

If there is no Downloads folder in there, then do the following commands:

cd ~
mv .config .config.old
sudo cp -R /etc/skel/.config .
sudo shutdown -r now

Though, I don’t know if this would reset your other folders in your home directory, as well. Therefore I would recommend backing up the other folders, too, if you want to be safe.


Templates just has LibreOffice and Gimp in there.
I’ll give it a try. But I’m nervous.


Umm. Now I REALLY need help. I got an oops message. I have no desktop! All I can get into is my terminal. Nothing else. Please help me get my computer back.


I’d appreciate any help. SOMEONE?


If the only thing you did, was issuing the commands from the reply before, then all you have to do now is to reverse your changes as follows:

cd ~
sudo rm -R .config
mv .config.old .config
sudo shutdown -r now

Once you have done that, look if the folder is back again. If not, then just create a different user, copy their Downloads folder to your home folder and you got it back.

I actually realized now, why this didn’t work. Forgot to change the permissions of the copied folder to the home folder’s owner. Nevermind, just create another user and copy their Downloads folder. This is the easiest way.


Hi have you TimeShift installed? If so then all you need to do is to go back to the last created one before you had your accident and that would re-instate it - It worked with me. If not you could try installing the install media you used and (USB or CD) and rather than start the install try doing a repair from there. I know this can work with Mint, but not with other Distros.

Sorry that is all I can think of for you - hope it helps if not then can you let us know if you find a solution as it will help us all - thanks


Good morning! I reversed the commands like you showed me and I’ve got back my desktop! However, I lost my Chromium favorite icons that used to be on my tool bar. I also have to reset commands to have my calendar open on start up. But I still have all my files AND I got back my downloads folder. So, thank you.
But when I try to type anything I HAVE NO KEYBOARD! That’s never happened before. I can’t log in to my Google account or anything. I opened a text editor and nothing. Any suggestions?


Thank you for your input. I really appreciate it. I did get back my desktop (yea!) only to discover my keyboard stopped working. So bizarre. That’s never happened before. I’m afraid to turn off my computer because I won’t be able to log back in if my keyboard isn’t responding. So frustrating. : (


Okay. {breathe deeply}. I shut down my computer and turned it back on and I have my keyboard back. Talk about stress! I still have to get back all my favorite icons in my toolbar, but that will be a breeze after what I’ve been through. Thank you, thank you, everyone, for giving me a place to go to in my time of need. I hope my next Linux question in this forum doesn’t cause another hair-pulling disaster. : )


:champagne::champagne: Well that’s good to hear. Now if you’ve not got timeshift installed do so and then run it so you can reset things if you need to do so.
Thanks for replying


If I may add… Next time around I would suggest that you partition your drive when installing Linux, in a way that will give you a separate /home partition. That way, if something that stressful happens, you can reinstall Linux but keep the existing /home partition as is and you will have all that is “right” on your system and with all your files/folders etc. Cheers!


Can you supply more details as to exactly how to setup a separate “/home” partition?

I have two drives:

120 GB SSD - 4 approx’ equal partitions

  1. SDA1 - Ubuntu 18.04 - with LAMP, web site programming utilities
  2. SDA3 - SSD_BACKUP - /home/user/, etc
  3. SDA5 - Ubuntu 17.04 - with LAMP, web site programming utilities
  4. SDA6 - Ubuntu 18.10 - now will not boot due to trying to install LAMP

2 TB Harddrive

  1. SDB1 - Windows 7
  2. SDB3 - BACKUP
  3. SDB4 - Ubuntu
  4. SDB5 - other operating systems

I started to use Rsync to backup my “/home” directory until I discovered GRsync which makes it so much easier. There is even a script which can be copied and pasted.



Backing up the “/home” directory makes it easier to install new operating systems, I just wished installing all the utility programs was just as easy :slight_smile:

Hoping to learn a better way to manage different operating systems and simplify backups.


I meant /home directory, sorry. You already know and have /home directory so the only thing you need to do in the future, if you want to keep

your files, folders etc, is to not format but keep /home. That is all.


Depending on a Distribution you are using there are different ways of working with partitions. You can even pre partition a drive before you start installing your Distro. For more on the subject I would suggest someone that has more knowledge than myself.


To the original poster: I would suggest you learn about Virtualbox and virtual machines. stop fooling with partitions which is not only more complicated than necessary but will eventually get you in far more hot water than you started with in this thread. Re partitions, three is plenty — with one being /home as suggested — even though three partitions on a 120G SSD is scary tight. JMO: I am not a guru or computer expert, just someone who uses Ubuntu/Gnome and like you, one who ‘tinkers’. I have about 10 different OS via virtual machines (including Win10 and Win7) which is complicated enough for me thank you.