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I have a Seagate Go/Flex Desk external drive installed. I believe the problem started on or about Aug. 8th
I believe it backs up automatically, however, I have never used it nor tested it out.
This should list all the backups if (there is any), for you to restore.
If it doesnt, then login to Mac OS, Enter Time Machine from the Time Machine menu. You can use the timeline on the right side of the window to reach a certain point back in time (the timeline shows the times of all backups on your backup drive). If you don’t know exactly when you deleted or changed a file, you can use the back arrow to let Time Machine automatically travel through time to show you when that folder last changed.
Note: Dates in pink indicate the data resides on your Time Machine backup device. Dates in white indicate the data resides on your Mac. In OS X Mountain Lion and Lion, portable Macs have the feature of local snapshots.
Alternatively, what you can do is take a back up of all your documents, and re-install the OS. If you need any assistance during this process, please respond to this window.
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my mac is a snow leopard if that will help. I went to time machine icon and is showed many folders with dates under each folder. I clicked on a date close to the time the problems started but nothing showed up.