Mac Stuff


   Last updated: February 19, 2011






File Backup Guide Under Mac OS X 10.4

First of all...

Before backing up files, it is important that your (internal) hard disk drive is divided into several partitions.  There are many factors that cause the hard disk drive not to appear on the desktop properly.  Whatever the reason is and whether or not damage is fatal, if the hard disk drive has multiple volumes, chances are that some of them are perfectly healthy and accessible.  For instance, if the volume containing system files is the only partition that is not accessible, then you can install and build a whole new system while keeping data on other volumes.

Okay.  Let's suppose that you have backed up system files and reinstalled a new system inside a particular partition.  In order to access an old application that has not been reinstalled, double-click on the application icon so that a new set of files will be created inside the new system.  Then drop the backup copy at the same location.  You also need to install a new set of system files and replace them with backup files in order to access old data like incoming and outgoing messages saved on Apple's Mail and Microsoft Entourage, bookmarks on web browsers and FTP applications.


Important folders to back up

There are some crucial sets of files that you need to back up.  One is Keychains.  One folder is located inside Library.  Another one is located at Users/account/Library.  Account names and associated passwords should be recorded in the keychain files.

Another important set of files to back up is Preferences.  Back up the entire folder of Users/account/Library/Preferences.

Apple applications like Final Cut Pro 6, Motion 3, Compressor 3 require that you keep a receipt file inside Library/Receipts.  Because Apple applications often install files here and there, we recommend that you reinstall them.  On the other hand, it may be a good idea to back up this entire folder of Receipts.

Mac file backup


Important files to back up

Adobe CS2

It is possible to back up system files so that Adobe CS2 applications will start up without reinstallations.  As for Photoshop, you need to back up Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Registration Database.  This file contains information on the user name and serial number.  Some Adobe applications such as Illustrator and InDesign don't even require you to back up system files except ones in Preferences for application settings.  Nonetheless, it is highly recommendable that you reinstall Photoshop CS2 because Photoshop involves many important files.  Adobe Acrobat Professional 7 retains user information in the same way that Photoshop CS2 does.

Mac file backup

Microsoft Entourage

As long as a copy is kept on the server, you won't necessarily have to back up system files to recover incoming POP messages because you can just access your server and import each incoming message once again.  However, a remote server doesn't keep a copy of each outgoing message.  In order to keep outgoing messages, you need to back up Users/account/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2004 Identities.  Or you can just backup entire Microsoft User Data folder.  In this way, you won't even have to access a remote server to import each incoming message.  Make sure that you have backed up keychain files, or you will be required to provide a password for each e-mail account.

Mac file backup


In order to access old incoming and outgoing messages saved on Apple Mail, copy Users/account/Library/Mail.  You also need inside Preferences.  This file will give you access to old e-mail accounts created on Mail.


Web browsers

By backing up system files, you can retain bookmarks, history and other important components of a web browser.  As for Camino and Firefox, open Users/account/Library/Application Support/ and copy the respective folders.  As for Safari, back up Users/account/Library/Safari.



Just back up Users/account/Library/StickiesDatabase.



Back up Users/account/Pictures/iPhoto Library.


Widgets and QuickTime components

If you have a QuickTime Pro upgrade, then we recommed that you back up Library/QuickTime.  This folder contains QuickTime components (compressors and decoders).  If you have third-party Dashboard widgets, then you also want to backup Library/Widgets.



For Cyberduck, copy Users/account/Library/Application Support/Cyberduck.  You may possibly need ch.sudo.cyberduck.plist inside Preferences folder as well.  (We haven't tested.)  For Yummy FTP, keep a folder titled Yummy FTP located inside Preferences.


Virtual PC 7

It is possible to back up Virtual PC 7's data.  Basically, you need to back up only drive images.  After setting up partitions on a new hard disk drive or an old one, install only the application part of Virtual PC 7.  The file size should be about 49 MB.  Then launch it.  You should have no drives yet in Virtual PC List.  Click on New and then select Install your own operating system.  Furthermore, select the same Windows OS as the backed-up drive and also name it the same.  Finally, you need to replace the newly created one with the backed-up drive.

Mac file backup

Mac file backup