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Macintosh OS/continue reinstalling my system


QUESTION: To continue reinstalling my system, I have dragged my previous files to the new system folders. I was able to update the operating system to version 10.6.8 and I did buy a 1 TB external drive (although I don't know how to put my files on it, if I try to drag them they won't go?). I didn't drag over the preferences like you said, my email still doesn't work, itunes won't open, no bookmarks show when I open Firefox, so everything is working except the settings. Also I don't have my Applications on the dock anymore?

ANSWER: Hi, Loren,

What are the specs on your external drive?  Maker?  Capabilities (wireless or connected)?

Have you decided on a back-up program?  While drag and drop usually works fine (I'm still trying to determine why you can't drag and drop), a back-up program can save lots of time and frustration because after the first back-up, it only updates changes rather than redoing the entire process, which can take hours.  Personally, I use both methods.  I drag and drop my pictures - but I also use the back-up system so that I have a back-up of the back-up ... and my other files are generally just saved via the program.

One thing you should do is partition the drive.  Make one partition at least 50GB bigger than the hard drive you have and that can be your main backup using a backup program.  Depending on the remaining space, you can make one or two more partitions and use those to save things via drag and drop.  In order to partition, you need to go into your utilities folder and open DiskUtility.  You will want to erase and format the drive, first - then move to make the partitions.  This may be a little redundant, but it's something I usually do just to be sure the formatting is set for my computer.  But, if you want to keep a section for Windows, so you can keep things there that only open on a PC, then you can adjust the partitions in that way once the original formatting is done.

Regarding your email and bookmarks ... if you were not having problems in those areas, you can simply find the preferences folder that matches your previous folder and drag the guts of that folder into the guts of the new folder.  The e-mail preferences should then work fine.  Make sure that the programs are completely quit before you do this.  Then, after the drag and drop, restart your computer.  Then try your programs again.  They should work.  For the future, you are going to want to keep snapshots of each of the settings pages in programs like these.  Open your settings within the program, press shift-command-4 - you will get a + cursor - just frame the window with the settings and it will give you a screenshot on your desktop.  Do that with each setting window, rename them (OutlookSettings01; OutlookSettings02; etc.) and save them in a folder (OutlookSettings, for example) and keep them backed up and somewhere you keep important things.  That way, if you need to do a clean install of the preferences, you can easily recover the settings and begin with fresh preferences.

The bookmarks may not be kept in the preferences - give it a try and let me know if it doesn't work.

iTunes is probably going to need a new update, since I'm guessing your music was saved in their latest.  Go to your System Preferences and ask for the Software Update.  That will help you get iTunes back up and running.  

To get your applications on the dock, open your hard drive and drag the original Applications Folder down to where you want it on your dock.  

You seem to have done all of these things with very little need for detailed instructions so I'm not including those here ... but let me know if you need a step-by-step explanation for any or all parts of it.

You're almost there, Loren.  YEEHAW!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I found out I had to re format the external drive for use on a mac, I did that so I can drag & drop files now. I will first partition it. And in the next few days I'll get back to you to let you know how everything has turned out. Thanks.

ANSWER: Good - will be here when you are ready.  


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Okay so here's where I am now. I partioned my external drive and I'm currently backing up my mac hard drive to it. I upgraded to Yosemite which fixed itunes. I have iphoto working. I had my service provider set up my mac mail, so it's working. So basicly everything is back (albeit upgraded and a slightly different look).The only thing I don't have back are my bookmarks, I couldn't find the preferences folder, but that's alright. I deleted about 80 GB of junk I had on this computer and if I need to bookmark, I will so when needed. I have the main bookmarks needed on my toolbar. So again thank-you for your time and helping me with this.


I think I have found your bookmarks.  Try this:

Finding your profile without opening Firefox

   Open your hard drive and go to the little house with your computer name.  Open the Library folder for your Mac user account:
   Open the "Application Support" folder, then open the "Firefox" folder, and then the "Profiles" folder.
   Open the folder with “default” in the name to open your profile.

I think you can drag the guts of the entire folder to go into your new Application Support folder.  I think you know by now that the location has to match exactly ... so open as many folders as it takes to get there.

Restart your computer and see what you get.  In order not to lose your bookmarks, be sure that they make a copy in your new folder --- hold down OPTION as you drag and instead of actually MOVING them, it will make a copy of them.  Then, if it screws something up, you can take everything out and toss it ... and try something else with the originals.

I certainly hope this completes your saga ... it's been fun helping you because I've learned so much trying to find the solutions on this task.  I was SO pleased that my memory served me on all your initial recover hopes.  You have been a pleasure to help ... As before, I would love to hear how this all works for you.


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Debba Robinson


AppleWorks 6, Systems up to 10.3.5, general trouble-shooting of hardware and some software.


In years past I taught computer K-8 and helped maintain Macs using sytems 7 and 8. Since 2001, I have not been working with computers daily, aside from doing my own work. I dabble in helping people out and enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out answers to your problems. Systems 7, 8, 9 and 10 are all in my repertoire now, at various levels of expertise. Please, NO networking questions.

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