Putting data back onto a mac after a reinstall

A Macbook pro wouldn't boot. I took out the drive and in a windows PC using paragon HFS app, copied all the data to a folder on the windows PC,

Once we get the mac working again (see question:


if you think you can help with that : )

how would we suggest getting all the user data onto the newly installed OS / drive?  I see loads of folders inside folders inside folders in the picture folders of the old machine's data.  Can I just copy all that back and it will re-read all that?  Or is there a config file somewhere that tells the picture apps where to look, etc.
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strungConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Trying to fix a Mac using a PC is a bad idea. See my comments to the other thread about trying to repair the Mac first. If that doesn't work, we will start the back up and restore from scratch, from the Mac.

Also, it would be helpful to know what model Mac Book Pro you have. You can find out from the serial number:  http://www.powerbookmedic.com/identify-mac-serial.php
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
layers of an onion : (

The model number is A1278 - macbook pro from 2008 (the friend says its from 2012 and the hard drive - toshiba - has a nov 2012 production date.

entering the serial number comes up with MacBook Pro 13.3" - Mid 2012, with that A1278 model number also!?

I don't know if I'm trying to fix the mac from the PC... more getting the data off of the mac.

curious about the  'start the back up and restore from scratch, from the Mac.'
strungConnect With a Mentor Commented:
All Macs using OS 10.7 or newer have the drive partitioned in two. There is a large partition for the OS and data and a very much smaller "Recovery Partition" which has a very basic OS and tools for backing  up and restoring data as well as re-installing the OS.

The proper way to back up and restore on a Mac is to boot into the Recovery Partition by holding down Command-R. Then connect an external USB drive and use Disk Utility to format it at Apple Extended Format (Journalled).

Once that is done, you can use the Restore function to clone the main partition of the internal drive to the external drive. Then use Disk Utility to reformat the main partition and use the Restore function to clone back from the external.

Alternatively, after cloning the original and erasing the main partition on the internal, you can use the option in the Recovery Partition to put a fresh OS on the internal drive. After it is installed, the computer will reboot and ask you if you want to copy settings, applications and data back from the external. This will give you a cleaner install that simply cloning back and forth as it will repair the OS at the same time.

The third alternative, if the internal drive is failing, is to follow the instructions above to restore to an external USB drive. That will make a bootable drive. Then simply physically swap the drives so that the new external drive becomes your internal.
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strungConnect With a Mentor Commented:
By the way, after you create the bootable external, you should double-check to make sure it is bootable before doing anything else. Reboot while holding down the Option (Alt) key. This will bring up the boot-picker and give you the option from booting from the USB drive. Choose that option and make sure it boots. (It will be much slower than booting from the internal drive.)

Also, instructions for replacing the drive are here:

serialbandConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Well, since you've already move the user's folders and files to a PC, you've likely lost the user's permission's settings.  There is a way to fix that.

  1. Create a new user account with the same name on the restored Mac.
  2. Copy the folder back.  It doesn't matter how, since the permissions are messed up.  I would still use robocopy or rsync on the command line if it's very large, so that you can restart it without having to copy everything again, if it gets interrupted.  However, you can mount the Windows share and just drag and drop.
  3. Once all file are copied back, open Terminal.App
  4. On the Terminal command line you would use the chown command

The username and the user's home folder name generally matches by default, although you can change it in unix.
Use the full path
chown -R username /Users/username
Use the home folder expansion
chown -R username ~username

Once you make sure the user owns all the files and folders within the user's home folder, you'll need to make sure the user can read and write all the files.

When you do a recursive permission change it's better to do an add.
chmod -R u+r,w ~username

You'll now have to add execute permissions to all folders so that the user can open them and view the contents

Find all directories or folders within username and add the execute bit.
find ~username -type d -exec chmod u+x {} \;

My examples for chmod only add the bits to the user portion of the permission list and that works for most users.  There is a group section and an others section, but that's not necessary on a single user system.
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys.  While I would love to do this to get more familiar with Mac, I just don't have the time.  I'm suggesting they take the mac to a store that the apple store recommended  to do this quicker than I could do and likely more successfully : )

I'm kinda amazed at their pricing - $120 for the 500GB hard drive (a bit high?).  But to install the OS on the new drive and get the data over to it, they are saying they will charge $95.  This is a 'real' business with a storefront / likely paying rent, not someone working out of their house.

I know with windows, it takes a while to reinstall the OS, apply correct drivers, apply updates, then move the data.  Yeah, most of that time you can be doing other things.  But is the OS X install a smoother / quicker process?

click here, work on something else 10 minutes, click something else, work on something else for 1 hour 'cause you forgot to check on the computer, click 2 things, come back in 20 minutes and it's still working, go do something for 30 minutes, click on another thing, etc.  it's tedious in my view.
The fact is, Mac users will spend money.  Apple will charge that much because people will pay it.  They did already when buying a Mac, a Mid to Mid-high end system.  Most Windows users buy low end systems, that's why, back when there were more brick & mortar compter chain stores, they charged half that for the recovery service you mentioned.  The users that buy mid to very high end Windows PC tend to know more about their own system and will generally do it themselves, or will have systems administrators do it for them.

I don't even know if those first tier Apple Store "Geniuses" would know enough of the unix details to fix your problem.  They'd at least have to go to the 2nd tier for this.  1st tier, both Windows and Mac, is all about point and click and won't necessarily know command line sufficiently.

OS X recovery can be quite a bit simpler than Windows and won't require as much prompt interruption in between the long processes.  Windows has actually partially fixed that as well, but they still have one long setup cycle.  A full reinstall of OS X onto SSDs should only take 15-30 minutes for a reinstall, since most people don't come close to filling up their system disk.  If you have a full 500 GB SSD, it would take up to an hour to copy that data back on a fast connection that will support the full SSD throughput.  A Spinning disk will take an hour to reinstall the OS, and a few hours to copy 500 GB.  

I'll send you along the link to the legend as the reason for why they charge that much.  There are several variations of that legend, but they all have the same basic premise.
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
thanks.  my point is $95 is a screamingly good deal in my view.  I didn't really say that clearly.
oh.  I've never paid someone else for computer service, so I'm not sure what other people count as a good deal.
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