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Restore files to MacBook after formatting

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Last Modified: 2020-04-09
I have formatted my MacBook Pro, but before that, I copied all the files inside my MacBook Pro HDD to external hard drive.

When I was doing that I found 2 drives. The First Drive is Mac - Data and the Second Drive is Mac. both of them contained the same files, just the first ( Mac - Data ) is 190 GB and the second ( Mac ) is 12 GB and I copied only Mac - Data since I can see all the files inside it and I'm sure its main drive I needed contains the files and folders.

I don't know what are the differences.
Now I formatted the MacBook Pro and I want to restore all the files, apps, settings, files location, etc as before the formatting. Is there any way I can do it without having to do all of this manually?

Can I use Time Machine to do the restore from my external drive? I did not use Time Machine to create a backup, I just copied and pasted files to an external drive.

I want everything back as before, is there any possible way ?
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Simple Geek from the '70s
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You should have asked before formatting.  Macs have easy user methods of backup and restore.

How did you copy off the data from the data drive?  It really depends on how you copied that data.  What sort of data is it? Is it user data?  Does it include Applications?

I'm not sure what you mean by the 2nd drive that you didn't copy.  12 GB is not a lot of data.
WissamSenior Network Engineer
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Essam BanafeaDesigner

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@David : No I didn't use Time Machine, I thought there are some apps will do the restore and organize everything back as before formatting.
Thanks anyway for replying, :)
Essam BanafeaDesigner

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@Serialband : Thanks for replying, I contacted Apple support via Chat, and the person who answered me told me that it might be software problem and I must format it. Later on I contact one of my friend he suggested me to do bootable usb and connect it to my MacBook Pro and I will find the Drives containing the files and folders if nothing happened to it. I found the folders and copied it and then formatted my MacBook Pro. I was wondering why support guy didn't tell me this solution !!

I copied the files thru copy and paste, user data includes Apps, files, designs, movies, pics and etc ..

I wish I had pic of what means ( Mac - Data ) and ( Mac ) Drives. I don't know how to explain it seriously.
Essam BanafeaDesigner

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@Wissam : Thanks a lot mate, that what I have done. I copied the folder and I kept it in external drive I will restore the files I need manually.

I was just wondering is there specific files I can restore them to bring back all the settings, for example ( languages, trackpad settings, hot corners and others can't mention them now ).


WissamSenior Network Engineer
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Hi Essam,
if i was in your shoes, I wouldn’t do that, even with MAC os stability, you wouldn’t want to restore the clutter, I personally format my MAC every two years and only preserve my personal files... other settings i prefer to redo to safeguard from other non required configurations and files (more storage, and healthier Faster performance)
Essam BanafeaDesigner

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@Wissam : Hi Wissam,
Thanks, I actually did that. I did everything manually again.

Appreciate your time replying :)
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I don't format the Mac, unless I'm done with it.  There's really no need to unless you have a virus or messed up something.

3 thinks to do for a Mac to "fix" most issues, including apparent slowness.
  1. Reset the SMC
  2. Reset the PRAM
  3. Reinstall OS X, without erasing the disk

The first 2 on the list are quick and easy to do, and fixes much of the apparent  issues people appear to observe.  These go back to the days of the Mac classic.

The 3rd one will take 30 minutes with SSDs and restores all system files, in case any become corrupt.  Apps, user settings, and user data will be unaffected, but it's always best to make a backup.  If Windows would do that very same thing, I wouldn't have to reinstall Windows every few years.  This is a reinstall of just the OS to fix bit rot of system files.

If you do those, you really don't have to wipe the disk.  You only ever have to backup user data and Apps on a Mac.
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