Mac laptop backup

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About this article

This article includes an overview and links to instructions for backing up your Apple-based, MacBook Air through the E-Warrior Digital Life and Learning Program. It is intended for 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 your laptop's hard drive. Some of you may need to pay close attention to application-specific files. Listed below are articles covering all aspects of the backup process for PC users:

Everyone - Back up your school-related and personal files

Backing up files on your MacBook Pro

Do I have to back up my laptop manually?

Yes. WSU does not does not provide an automated backup service. Many laptop exchanges involve migration across operating system upgrades and backup tools designed for one version of an OS my not work well on another. You will want to do a manual backup of your personal files.

Can I back up my files during my exchange session?

No. We provide training and answer backup questions throughout the year, but there is no time to do this during scheduled exchange sessions. If you aren't backed up and ready to go beforehand, you will have to reschedule.

What if I need backup training or have related questions?

You can contact us for training or questions on how to backup your personal information before your exchange session. This Knowledge Base also provides extensive online documentation that you can access yourself at any time.

  • Students - Contact the TLT Digital Learning Center in Somsen Hall 207 (457-5240 option 1; dlc@winona.edu)
  • Faculty and Staff - Contact the TLT Professional Resource Center in Maxwell Hall 130 (457-5240 option 3; tlt@winona.edu)

Where should I store my backups?

You may first need to determine how much data you need to backup.

WSU supports two, university-managed storage solutions, OneDrive for Business and network storage. Students no longer have network storage access and will need to use OneDrive cloud storage. External media backup is not supported by WSU, you use this option at your own risk.

Microsoft OneDrive for Business

All WSU students and employees have 1 TB of cloud storage on their OneDrive for Business. Although this storage space is located on off-campus servers administered by Microsoft, WSU licenses secure access to them through your WSU network account. You can access your files from any computer with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world. You can also access your OneDrive for Business using a tablet or smartphone. Note: other cloud storage like Copy, Google Docs, Box and Dropbox should not be used for official WSU document storage or backup.

WSU local network storage (WSU Employees only)

Employees get 4 Gig of network storage space. You will need to connect to the network storage to be able to use it.

  • Click on the “Go” option, and select “Connect to Server….”
  • For your personal network storage area, use: smb://store.winona.edu/users/YOUR-USERNAME
  • Once the “Connect to Server…” is selected, a dialog box below will appear on the screen. This is where you will select the network share that needs to accessed. Simply select the store that needs to be accessed and click on the “Connect” button. This will mount a network drive on your desktop and a finder window will open displaying the contents of the selected network share.
  • You can now drag and drop files to this location.

Mac5.png Mac7.jpg

External storage media

This includes CDs, DVDs, SD cards and external hard drives. These are not supported by WSU for backup. You use them at your own risk.

External Hard Drive

What needs to be backed up?

Everyone should back up their school-related and personal documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and media. Depending on the applications you use, you may have more specific backup needs. Consult the articles below for information on how to backup the files.


It is probably a good idea to make a list of software that you will need to reinstall (i.e., Adobe Acrobate Pro, SPSS, JMP) (we need to help them with this, in a prior email)

What shouldn't I back up?

  • Any files already stored in your WSU network drives or OneDrive for Business cloud storage - Although it's always a good idea to have multiple copies of important files and store those copies in different locations, you do not need to back up the folders and files in your (personal), (department), or (course1; studentwebs) network drives or in your OneDrive for Business cloud storage in preparation for your laptop exchange.
  • Applications that you have installed on your laptop or tablet - Your new devices will come with some applications already installed. Any applications that you installed on your old devices yourself, including campus-provided and personally-owned applications, will need to be re-installed on your new devices. Generally, you cannot copy applications from one machine to another, so there is no need to back up any of your applications on your old devices.
  • Web browser plugins and extensions - If you have modified your web browser by installing plugins or extensions, you will need to re-install these on your new devices. You cannot copy these from one device to another. One notable exception is the Google Chrome browser. If you use Google Chrome with a Google Account, then your extension information is stored in the cloud and is applied to any instance of the browser on any device.
  • Web applications - Tools like D2L and Qualtrics that you access on the web are not installed on your laptop and do not leave any related files on your laptop.
  • Unarchived Outlook Email, Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks - Email messages that are in your username@winona.edu mailbox, including the Inbox, Drafts, Sent Items folders and custom subfolders, are not stored on your laptop and do not need to be backed up. Note that this does not include mailbox archives which may be stored on your laptop and will need to be moved.
  • Printer drivers - You will re-install any WSU network printers on your new devices. You will also need to re-install any personal printers.

What if I forget something?

The hard drive of your old laptop will be stored for two weeks following your exchange session just in case you missed anything. Contact the Technical Support Center (457-5240 Option 1; AskTech@winona.edu, Somsen Hall 207), to schedule an appointment to access your old hard drive if needed. A staff member from TLT will be present if needed to assist you when you visit the Technical Support Center.

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