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How to restore your data from the cloud | Macworld

How to restore your data from the cloud | Macworld | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Online backups are an important part of a well-balanced backup strategy. But after disaster strikes, how exactly do you restore all that data you lost?

  Online backups are a useful component of a well-balanced backup strategy. Whether you rely primarily on cloud storage for backups (see “Backup Basics”) or use the cloud to supplement local backups such as bootable duplicates (see “Bulletproof Backups”), it’s crucial to understand how you will go about restoring your data after disaster strikes.

  Disaster is the operative word here. If you merely need to restore a few individual files or folders, usually that’s simple enough—typically you use either the backup client software installed on your Mac or the backup provider’s website to specify which versions of which files you want, click a button or two, and wait for the files to download. No big deal.

  But what if your entire hard disk dies and needs replacing, or your Mac is stolen and you have to start over with a new one? Such situations require a different strategy, because your online backups almost certainly don’t include every single file on your Mac; and in any case, even with a fast broadband connection, you may be looking at days or weeks to restore whatever data you keep in the cloud.

 One way or another, you must first get your Mac back to a state of basic functionality, and then—perhaps by stages—restore your crucial missing files from the cloud. How you go about that depends on what other backups (if any) you have available.

 

If you have no other backups

  Let’s start with the least pleasant scenario: Your only backups are in the cloud, and you have no local copies of your data at all. You have to do more work and wait longer to get up and running; but if you backed up all your crucial files, you will return to a happy place in due time.

  Set up OS X: Your first step is to make sure that your drive has OS X installed. New Macs, of course, come with OS X already installed. If you’ve had to replace a defective drive with a new, empty drive, you’ll need to install OS X on it before doing anything else.

 If your Mac shipped with an older version of OS X that included physical installation media (a DVD, CD, or flash drive)—or if you planned ahead and made yourself a recovery volume using the OS X Recovery Disk Assistant—then just start from that media and run the installer. Newer Macs (those released in the past two years or so) have no separate OS X media in the box; instead, they rely on OS X Internet Recovery. Hold down Command-R as you restart the machine, and follow the prompts to redownload Lion or Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store and install it on the new disk.

  Get your backup or sync software up and running: After getting your Mac working again, your next step is to download and install whatever cloud backup or sync software you used. Run the software and sign in with the same account you used previously.

What happens next depends on the type of software you used:

  For sync software, such as Dropbox (), SpiderOak (), and SugarSync (), you need only wait—all your synced files will download automatically in the background.

  For backup software, such as Backblaze, CrashPlan (), or MozyHome, follow the instructions for restoring the latest copies of your backed-up files. (You might want to skip restoring backups of email, contacts, and calendars, as I'll discuss in a moment.) Restoration speed depends on the throughput of your broadband connection. If you find that it’s too slow for your needs, you can either try moving your Mac to a location with a faster connection or request that the cloud provider ship your data overnight on a hard drive, DVD, or flash drive (for an extra fee, naturally).

  While you’re waiting for your files to download or arrive at your door, you can work on several additional restoration steps.

Reinstall your applications: Most cloud backup services don’t back up your apps. You’ll have to reinstall them from the Mac App Store (Apple menu > App Store), download them from the developers’ sites, or use original installation media to get all your apps back.

 

Redownload purchased media: Using iTunes, you can redownload previous purchases of media such as music, movies, TV shows, books, and iOS apps (which you may not have included in your online backups or syncs). And if you signed up for Apple’s $25-per-year iTunes Match service, you can download fresh copies of all your music tracks (even those not purchased from Apple).

  Use Photo Stream to restore photos: If you previously enabled iCloud’s Photo Stream feature, you can open Aperture () or iPhoto (), make sure it’s still enabled (check the Photo Stream preference pane in either app), and sit back while up to 1000 of your most recent photos download to your Mac.

  Sync email, contacts, and calendars: If you rely on cloud-based services for email, contacts, and calendars—particularly iCloud, Google, Exchange servers, and (for email only) other IMAP servers—getting your data back into apps like Mail, Contacts, and Calendar is usually as easy as signing in to your account(s) and waiting for the data to synchronize from the server to your Mac. It’s better to grab all this data directly from the server rather than restoring it from backups, because the server almost certainly has fresher and more current versions of all the data, and restoring from backups may result in irritating collisions with live server syncing.

  You can redownload previous purchases in iTunes, even if you didn't back up those files. Select 'iTunes Store' in the sidebar, click the 'Purchases' link, select a type of media, and then click 'Not on This Computer' to view the items you can download.

 

If you have only a Time Machine backup

  Let’s say you wisely supplemented your cloud-based syncing or backups with Time Machine (but have no other local backups). This means you can restore every single file on your disk, including OS X itself and all your applications, to their state at the last time Time Machine ran. You can do so even if you install a completely new, blank drive. In this case the smartest move is to start by restoring the Time Machine backup (see “How to restore data from Time Machine”), and then to use your cloud sync or backup software for any files that may have changed since your last Time Machine backup. (In all probability, there will be few if any of these.)

  I should mention, however, that if you use Dolly Drive () to store your Time Machine backups in the cloud, restoring your whole disk over the Internet may be impractical (and it will certainly be very time-consuming). Dolly Drive recommends, as I do, that you also have a bootable duplicate (or “clone”) of your startup volume on a local hard disk, and that you restore that duplicate before downloading files from the cloud, as I'll cover in the next scenario.

 

If you have a bootable duplicate

  Restoring a disk from a bootable duplicate is simple. Start from the duplicate and then, using an app such as SuperDuper, select the duplicate as the source and your internal disk as the destination.If, in addition to cloud backups, you made a bootable duplicate of your entire disk, restoring that first will give you the fastest path, by far, to complete data recovery. Attach the disk containing your duplicate to your Mac, and then restart the machine while holding down the Option key. Select the duplicate and press Return to start your Mac from that disk. Then run whatever app you used to create the duplicate, such as Shirt Pocket Software’s $28 SuperDuper or Bombich Software’s $40 Carbon Copy Cloner, to reverse the process. Select your duplicate as the source and your new, empty internal disk as the destination.

  Within a few hours, the restoration should be complete. Use the Startup Disk pane of System Preferences to set your startup volume to be your internal disk, and restart. Your Mac should now be exactly as it was the last time you updated your duplicate, which, if you take my advice, will be no less often than once a week.

  Now, all that remains is to download any files you backed up to the cloud since that duplicate was last updated. For syncing services such as Dropbox, you don’t have to do anything; the download just happens automatically in the background. For certain backup apps (notably CrashPlan), unfortunately there’s no automated way to say “restore all files modified since date x.” You may have to either manually select the files you want to restore or restore everything, which will involve overwriting many files with identical copies from the cloud. That will, however, eventually get your disk back to where it was.

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How to quickly convert image formats with Preview

How to quickly convert image formats with Preview | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Apple's Preview program is convenient for quickly editing image and PDF files. While it supports a number of options for annotating images and adjusting colors, cropping, and otherwise editing them...
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How to take a screenshot in OS X

How to take a screenshot in OS X | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Built into Mac OS X is the ability to take screenshots using simple keyboard commands, which can be exceptionally useful for communicating what you are seeing on-screen with others. The basic optio...
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How to troubleshoot Mac Wi-Fi problems

How to troubleshoot Mac Wi-Fi problems | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
It happens to all of us: Suddenly, the wireless connection to your Mac slows down or disappears completely. When that happens, here's what to do.
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The Best Surge Protector

The Best Surge Protector | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
If I were recommending a surge protector for general home office or audio/video use, I’d suggest the APC Surgearrest 3020J. We discovered this by having an e
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How to prepare for a Mac disaster

How to prepare for a Mac disaster | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
There isn't much you can do about earthquakes, fires, and other misfortunes. But you can do something to minimize the harm they do your Mac and other digital assets.
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OS X: Repair Home Folder Permissions - The Mac Observer

OS X: Repair Home Folder Permissions - The Mac Observer | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
For todayâs Quick Tip, weâre going to cover a little-known feature of OS X Recovery-repairing your Home folder permissions. If your Documents folder wonât let you edit files or an application is telling you that you donât have permission to save something to your Desktop, then this tip should be right up your alley.
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How to factory-reset your Mac

How to factory-reset your Mac | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
It may be wise when selling or donating an old Mac to wipe all of your data off of it and offer the system to the new owners as close to how it came out of the factory. This not only offers them a ...
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Tackle Web pages not loading in OS X

Tackle Web pages not loading in OS X | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Arguably Safari, Firefox, Chrome and other Web browsers are perhaps the most commonly used applications on your Mac, so when browsing various sites, you might be frustrated if pages suddenly stop u...
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Where can I locate the Model Identifier (Model ID) | EveryMac

Where can I locate the Model Identifier (Model ID) | EveryMac | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
How to locate the Model Identifier (Model ID) or Machine Model (MacBook5,1) on different Macs, limitations of Model Identifiers for Mac identification, and more.
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How to create a Screen Sharing shortcut

How to create a Screen Sharing shortcut | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it

For the last time, use the method you’ve used in the past to share the Mac mini’s screen with your iMac. When the mini's window appears take a gander at the shared screen’s title bar where it says something like Jim’s Mac mini and drag the icon that appears just to the left of that name to your iMac’s desktop. A VNC alias file will be copied to that self-same desktop.

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Devices disconnecting? It's about the hub, bub | MacWorld

Devices disconnecting? It's about the hub, bub | MacWorld | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Do USB devices disconnect when you attach an additional device? Mac 911 provides some powerful insight.

However, if you exceed the hub’s limits—you’ve plugged in several devices that draw 500mA, for example—something’s got to give. And generally, what gives is the disappearance of one of the connected devices.

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Tackle OS X only booting in Safe Mode

Tackle OS X only booting in Safe Mode | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Safe Mode in OS X is a limited boot environment where only essential system services are active. It is a great option to have when troubleshooting software problems on your system, and when you inv...
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5 Ways to Keep Email from Ruining Your Life

5 Ways to Keep Email from Ruining Your Life | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Some people treat email like it’s Twitter: a living stream of communiqués that’s constantly rushing beneath our feet, to be dipped into when there’s a free moment — but otherwise, without feeling any obligation to answer every single one. Others let their inboxes fill, fill, fill with unanswered mail — 5,000 messages, 10,000, maybe 30,000 — and finally declare “email bankruptcy.” That’s where you throw in the towel and delete all of it, starting fresh, on the assumption that if any of it is still important, the sender will email you again.
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Macintosh Time Machine Tutorial - YouTube

A short video explaining how to use OS X's Time Machine feature for backing up and retrieving your computer data.
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Drive-cloning utilities: The best Mac apps for making a bootable backup | Macworld

Drive-cloning utilities: The best Mac apps for making a bootable backup | Macworld | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
A good backup plan should include a bootable duplicate. We tell you the best app for the task.
SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner

For everyday cloning tasks, SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner are equally good in almost every respect, and they have a core set of features in common. In both apps, you choose a source drive (say, your startup volume) from a pop-up menu on the left, a destination drive (your clone-backup volume) from a pop-up menu on the right, and any desired options using additional pop-up menus or buttons. Each utility provides a plain-English summary of what’s about to happen; you then click a button to begin the copying operation.

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Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ) | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Learn about the Thunderbolt ports on Apple computers and displays, their uses with OS X and Boot Camp, and system requirements for Thunderbolt usage.
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9 things you should know about surge protectors - CNET

9 things you should know about surge protectors - CNET | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Surge protectors are an inexpensive way to protect your gear against random power spike damage. They're not all the same. Here are a few tips before you start shopping.
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How to make a bootable OS X 10.10 Yosemite install drive

How to make a bootable OS X 10.10 Yosemite install drive | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
You can install the OS X Yosemite beta directly from your Mac's hard drive. But creating a bootable installer drive lets you install it on multiple Macs and also makes a handy emergency drive. Here's how to set one up.
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Files Screenshots

Files Screenshots | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it

Files is a file manager from Michael Kazakov, designed for efficiency with a dual-pane design and hotkeys. Features include a minimalistic user interface, a small memory footprint and background processing, as well as a built-in terminal emulator. Files 0.5.9 is a free download for OS X 10.7 and up.

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A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Better Customer Service

A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Better Customer Service | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Despite your best efforts to fix problems on your own, sometimes you just have to call for help—whether you've got broken gadgets, downed service, or just need to fix a company's mistake. Calling customer service can be a miserable experience, but when it comes time to bite the bullet and give them a ring, follow these tips to make it go as smoothly as possible.
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The only 'required' maintenance for your Mac | Macissues

The only 'required' maintenance for your Mac | Macissues | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
You may have heard that in order to keep your Mac running in tip top shape, you need to perform regular maintenance routines on it to clear out caches and other temporary items. These can be useful...
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Tackle problems with the iTunes 11.3 upgrade

Tackle problems with the iTunes 11.3 upgrade | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Yesterday Apple released iTunes 11.3, which brings a few stability and compatibility issues with the program, along with improving the iTunes Extras feature and Apple TV support for Extras. While n...
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What’s next for Wi-Fi? A second wave of 802.11ac devices, and then: 802.11ax

What’s next for Wi-Fi? A second wave of 802.11ac devices, and then: 802.11ax | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
While you consider which 802.11ac router to buy, the industry is working hard to render it obsolete. Here's what to expect in the next few years, as engineers tease more bandwidth and faster transmission speeds out of Wi-Fi.
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Dropping Dropbox: Exploring alternatives

Dropping Dropbox: Exploring alternatives | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
When Dropbox just won't do, where do you turn--OneDrive, Google Drive, SugarSync, Box.com? Chris Breen details his journey.
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Unroll.me

Your inbox is a mess — admit it. You are constantly bombarded with irrelevant emails throughout your extremely busy day. It doesn’t have to be this way, though.…
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