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Since my iMac is damaged, and the solution seems to be hard, I am trying to re-install it, with my apps and settings backed-up. But, Time Machine keeps crashing, so I can't do it that way. My only other option is to manually backup files necessary to restore my user and applications.

My question, which folders do I need to backup except from my user and application folders, to keep my applications and user settings. And most of all, will it work when I manually copy the files back to the original location after a clean install?

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sjoerdV if you find that Chris' answer works please put a comment on it. This might be useful someday, Thanks! –  Yar Dec 20 '09 at 14:29
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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

There is no reason that you HAVE to use the Time Machine interface to restore your data. Instead you can fresh install Leopard or Snow Leopard, and then copy the /users/ folder to your hard drive (into the /users directory).

Then go to System Preferences -> Users, and add your user, and have the shortname the same as the foldername that you copied from Time Machine.

That should restore your user folder. Now the applications you can just copy from the Applications folder from the time machine backup as well... But you may miss some preferences....

Or you can just run Utilities -> Migration assistance, and try to migrate from the Time Machine backup. I would recommend this first, and try manually if that fails.

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I'll take a shot now, see where it leads :) –  SjoerdV Dec 20 '09 at 14:44
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Have you attempted an "Archive and Install" that is re-installing Snow Leopard over top of your current installation (which is what Snow Leopard does by default now).

If you'd prefer to erase everything and then transfer your user account, applications and settings back; I'd recommend using a tool such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to clone your hard drive to another drive. Then erase your first hard drive, install Snow Leopard on it and use Migration Assistant to move your data over from the other hard drive.

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Ah, archive and install keeps also applications? Sounds like it's worth a trie! –  SjoerdV Dec 20 '09 at 15:05
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I found this:

type this in terminal

defaults write com.apple.TimeMachine DoNotOfferNewDisksForBackup -bool YES

to change back change YES to NO

if you haven't set up time machine and the above doesn't work you could try

defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TimeMachine DoNotOfferNewDisksForBackup -bool YES
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What exactly does that do, in relevance to my question? –  SjoerdV Dec 20 '09 at 14:29
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This just turns off the prompt to offer a new disk for Time Machine use, and doesn't seem to have any immediate aid regarding this question. –  Benjamin Schollnick Dec 20 '09 at 14:31
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