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Common File Locations for both Mac and Windows Users

This is a list of the locations and file paths for the most common places you would find personal information. It is recommended that you back up your personal information on a regular basis. How to Backup Data

Determining Your Backup Device

Its important to ensure that you have enough space on your backup device to hold all of your information. To do so, you must know how much information is to be saved. 

Example: You are backing up your entire user account on a windows computer – your information is 10gb in size. If you only had 8gb of free space on your backup device, you would not be able to save all of you information.

Windows: Right-click on the desired file or folder and select "Properties". The amount of information will be displayed under "Size".

Mac OS X: Hold "control" and click on the desired folder or file location. Select "Get Info". The amount of information will be displayed under "Size".

General User Data/ Personal Data

General user data is anything that you have put on the computer, including desktop icons, pictures, downloads, documents, music, movies, etc. This is commonly referred to as personal data.   If you back up the file locations below, you will backup your personal data.  Note that university-owned computers generally redirect user data to central servers rather than load it on individual computers).

Windows: Open "Computer". Double click on your C: Drive. Here there will be folder entitled "Users". You can save all the users as a whole. Or, open this folder to find each individual user on the computer.

Mac OS X: Click on your desktop in any open space and verify that you see "Finder" to the right of your top left Apple symbol. You then click on the "Go" drop down and select "Computer". Here there will be folder entitled "Users". You can save all the users as a whole. Or, ppen this folder to find each individual user on the computer.

Word Processor and Office Documents

Windows: Follow the General User Data instructions above. Once there, click on your desired user and then click "Documents".

Mac OS X:  Click on your desktop in any open space and verify that you see "Finder" to the right of your top left Apple symbol. You then click on the "Go" drop down and select "Documents".  NOTE:  if you are saving documents from a user other than the one that you are logged in as, follow the instructions under General User Data above and select the "Documents" folder once you have selected the User folder you would like to back up from.

Itunes Library

Windows: Follow the General User Data instructions above. Under the desired user folder, click on "Music." There should be a folder entitled "Itunes Library".

Mac OS X: Follow the General User Data instructions above. Under the desired user folder, click on "Music." You will be backing up the folder "iTunes".

Outlook Contacts

Windows and Mac OS X: Microsoft has instructions on how to back up your Outlook contacts: Outlook Contacts Backup

 

Application Data

Applications such as mail clients and purchased third party software commonly do not save their files in your user accounts. It is important to reference these programs' specific guides for their default save locations.

Clearing Space?

A common reason to back up information is to free up much needed space on your hard drive for other applications and programs. If this is the case, ensure that you have properly backed up the information and right click and "Delete" the contents of these locations. Ensure that you go to your recycle bin and select "Empty Recycle Bin". Keep in mind that if you do not empty this bin, all of that data will still be utilizing space on your hard drive.