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Backing Up Your Data

Although keeping a secure and updated operating system is important, it’s perhaps less so than maintaining an archive of your important applications and data. Several manufacturers offer software to assist with backing up data. For extremely critical data of limited size, however, I recommend using the Mac OS X CD-burning capabilities discussed in Hour 2, “Using the Finder and Dock.”

The UNIX users out there are probably scratching their heads, asking, “What about utilities such as tar?” Although tar is a perfectly good solution for Mac OS X installations based on the UNIX File System (UFS), or UNIX and Cocoa applications based on HFS+, it’s not suitable for Classic or Carbon applications. Their dependency on the HFS+ resource fork severely limits what software can be used to back them up.


Many Mac OS files are really made up of two files: the resource fork and the data fork. The resource fork contains images, window layouts, and so on, whereas the data fork contains the “meat” of the file. Unfortunately, these two forks are inseparable, and both must be present for the file to work properly. Most UNIX utilities see only the data fork, and if it’s used to work with these types of Mac files, it creates corrupt versions of the files.



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