Question on backing up on a Mac compared to Windows

Discussion in 'macOS' started by netnothing, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. netnothing macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    NH
    #1
    So as a longtime Windows user and new Mac user I have a question for the experts.

    Let's say there is a situation where you want to upgrade your operating system.

    In Windows, you never do an in-place upgrade, you do a fresh install. In this case, you can backup certain user files and such, but say bye bye to programs and apps, because in Windows they install DLL's all over the place. You basically have no choice but to reinstall all your apps again.

    Now, my question is for OS X. Can a user's home directory be completely backed up, settings, programs, applications, and all? And then restored on the new OS X install?

    Doesn't an application/program in OS X install itself in it's own folder, only putting preference files/etc in other places? Isn't this also why you can install multiple versions of an application on a Mac?

    Hope this question makes sense.

    -Kevin
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    Most applications simply need the actual app file, and that's it. Then you just need to back up the preferences which are in the Home folder to retain the settings. In most cases, this will suffice. Nevertheless, I still reinstall my apps manually but there's probably no need for me to do this. I just don't find it much of a hassle.
     
  3. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #3
    In many cases you can, but there will always be one or two programs that don't follow this rule.
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #4
    As a rule of thumb, if it required an installer then manually reinstall it with the installer again. If the app simply needed to be dragged to the Applications folder, then you can back it up by dragging it to your backup media.
     
  5. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    #5
    The VERY broad, extremely general answer is that since there's no Registry or equivalent, launching/copying/backing up/deleting the .app itself is typically all that's required. In a few cases, though (and I don't know of a list or anything), there will be apps that install various plist and lib files in places other than where you'd expect. That's why Spotlight and Print As PDF Web Receipt are so handy!
     
  6. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #6
    You might want to check out the "Archive and Install" method of installing OS X. Not sure if that's what you're after, but it's been a huge time saver for me.

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107120
     
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    MacOS X is not Windows. There is no rational fear of in-place upgrades. This is how I have done all my upgrades since System 6.0.4.


    This will work fine. You can backup as prudent computer management, not as an upgrade strategy. So long as your hard drive is physically viable, then your Home folder (with all user settings) remains intact even if your OS upgrade goes badly.
     
  8. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #8
    ur home folder does not include applications.
     
  9. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #9
    Unless you dragged them there when you installed them. FWIW, I've read more than a few forum posts where people have an Applications folder in their home folder so they don't have to remember to backup /Applications.
     
  10. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #10
    sounds like a great idea, any downside?
    like

    will Quicksilver index them?
     
  11. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #11
    One possible downside is that they'll only be available to that user. Also, some automatic update software requires the apps to be in the Applications folder to work. Finally, some plugins require the apps to be in the Applications folder too. All up, if you're the only user on the machine and you're reasonably savvy with computers such that you can manually update your apps, then you should be fine. I'd keep the OSX apps where they are though. They don't need to be backed up anyway. :)
     

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