Mac laptop backup

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About this article

This article provides a checklist of the required and optional tasks involved in backing up personal and school-related files saved on the Apple Mac provided through the E-Warrior Digital Life and Learning Program. Use this checklist as part of your normal backup routine or to prepare for a laptop exchange or re-imaging. It is intended for both students and employees.

Frequently asked questions

Over the years, we have encountered some common questions about backing up data. Why do you have to do it manually? Where should you store your backup files? Where can you get help? If you have questions, check our Frequently Asked Questions article for answers.

Your backup checklist

Everyone should back up any school-related and personal documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and media stored on their laptop's hard drive. Depending on the applications you use, some of you may need to back up application-specific files. Listed below are articles covering these required and optional backup tasks for Mac users:

Everyone - Back up your school-related and personal files

Backing up files on your Mac

Optional - Back up application-specific files yourself as needed

The following, optional backup tasks can be completed without assistance, but don't hesitate to contact TLT (tlt@winona.edu, 507-457-5240 Option #3, Maxwell Hall 130) with any questions. In each of these tasks, you copy, store, and move files to your new or re-imaged laptop:

Export your browser bookmarks and favorites (IE, Firefox, Chrome). You can export a list of your saved web addresses in your browser.

Copy your KeePass database. If you use the KeePass password vault to store your passwords, that database is stored on your laptop and can be copied and stored.

Copy your iTunes library. If you use Apple iTunes, any burned music tracks, saved podcasts, and downloaded, purchased media, are stored as files on your laptop. The folder that contains these files can be copied and stored.

Copy your Outlook email archive. If you archived your email in Outlook, the file this process creates on your laptop can be copied and stored.

Copy your Techsmith Camtasia Studio projects. If you use TechSmith Camtasia Studio to record videos, there are multiple folders and files you need to copy and move to your new laptop.

Exporting D2L courses. If you have archived any old courses, everything is packaged into a .zip file and saved on your laptop.

Sticky Notes To access this file go to the Finder and click on the Go drop down menu in the Menu Bar. When the drop down menu has expanded press the Option key, on your keyboard. This will present the hidden Library folder. Simply select the Library folder and once open you will notice a single document amungst folders that is named StickiesDatabase. Simply make sure you include this file in your backup process. If you ever need to reinstate the file simply locate it on your backup drive, and copy and paste or drag and drop it back to the Library folder.

Optional - Backup tasks requiring assistance

The following optional backup tasks are complex, fraught with danger, lacking in documentation, or any combination of the above. Please contact TLT (tlt@winona.edu, 507-457-5240 Option #3, Maxwell Hall 130) for assistance backing up files associated with these applications unless you're absolutely sure you know what you're doing:

Copy Mac OS and Office appearance and personalization settings. If you have modified your operating system or Office (e.g., added fonts, signatures, words to the dictionary, macros), you may be able to save some of these modifications and restore them on your new or re-imaged laptop. Copy your Respondus test bank databases. If you use the Respondus test authoring tool (not to be confused with Respondus Lockdown Browser), your tests and question banks are saved as .rsa files on your laptop. These Respondus files will need to be backed up and moved to your new laptop.

Copy your SPSS, SAS, and JMP databases and output files. If you use these applications to analyze data, both the datasets and output files are saved on your laptop and will need to be copied and moved to your new laptop.

Optional - Update your backup notes

If you really want to maximize your efficiency when it comes time to replace your laptop, take some notes when you do your backups:

Installed software applications. Make a list of all the applications you need to install on your new laptop (e.g., Uniface, Adobe Photoshop, SPSS, JMP).

Installed browser add-ons or extensions. Make a list of the modifications you have made to your browsers (e.g., Google Toolbar, Hangouts, Feedly, Pocket, Zotero, Diigo).

Unsupported applications

If you installed any unsupported software for school or personal use such as a password vault, a citation manager (e.g., EndNote, Reference Manager), a tax preparation tool (e.g., TurboTax), or photo gallery software, back up any related files you wish to retain. Consult your documentation to determine the location and format of these files. TLT (tlt@winona.edu, 507-457-5240 Option #3, Maxwell Hall 130) will provide limited support if you have questions, but your first line of support is the vendor.

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