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ATPM 10.10
October 2004




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The Candy Apple

by Ellyn Ritterskamp,

In Which a Loss Comes With a Gain

I finally did it. I finally got myself up to OS X. The upgrade itself was painless, except for two losses. I did not know how to save our address books and stored e-mail messages, and I did not know I needed to save our bookmarks. That part I could have done if I’d known I needed to; I’d seen a way to save all of them in one file as HTML. The e-mail messages, I still don’t know how I would have saved. I just thought the newer versions of the software would find that information, or I could import it. But it’s gone. Or maybe I’m just not smart enough to figure out how to see it.

I have not lost hope that all that stuff is still on the drive, somewhere, if I just knew how to look for it. I copied my System Folder to a second drive, plus the Documents folder, but I bet the Documents folder should have included some stuff besides the stuff I copied. I bet there was a Microsoft User Data folder I should have copied and didn’t. But I think it’s still on the main drive, perhaps written over with new information by now, though.

I will be very sad if those stored e-mail messages are lost forever. I had a moment of realization that they were probably gone, and it surprised me how wrenching it was. I have four years of letters to and from friends, and I used to re-read them sometimes. It reminded me of how two friendships evolved, and still are evolving. I was desolate for a day or two while we tried to find those files.

Then I realized that those friends are still in my heart, and the words we said are not as important as that fact.

The e-mails about hotel reservations and plane tickets, I can reconstruct by returning to those Web sites. As for the receipts from online book and clothing orders, if I wait long enough, the items will be delivered—and I would have tossed those e-mails anyway. The messages I wrote to my friends, and they to me, I will mourn for a few more days. Then I will get over it and remember that our connections are not based on only words.

As for the bookmark situation, I’ve approached it like I did when I used to move every year or so in my early 20s. Back then I would use every move as a chance to get rid of a third of my stuff. Clothes got donated, furniture pared down. I never trimmed my book collection, though. It is still out of control. But I didn’t start letting it get that way until I finally stopped moving. Once I started recreating a list of the bookmarks I’d saved, I realized there were two sorts: those I visited regularly and those I was saving for a specific endeavor. It was a chance to shorten the list.

The sites I visit regularly were pretty easy to re-mark. The others, study sites for a game show, I can gradually rebuild if I want to. With many of them, I’d already printed out the important information, so there is no need to re-bookmark them. If I have occasion to wander into a US Presidents site, I’ll save it, but I’m not upset about losing all those sites. It was a good time to trim that list. I’m not so good with clutter anyway.

I still have a slim hope that my e-mail messages are hidden somewhere. I asked a work friend who knows far more about Mac stuff than I do to look at it, and he couldn’t find anything. I was cussing the upgrade process and complaining that I thought Apple made everything so easy. He pointed out that the trouble is not with Apple but with Microsoft, as both pieces of software I was using were made by them. That shut me up.

I suppose this tale could serve as a warning to those who have yet to upgrade. Figure out how to save your stuff before you do it. I would have cut and pasted each individual message if that had been the only way. It would have been worth it. I have gotten past most of the first two stages of grief: denial and anger. There is no one to bargain with, so I am skipping stage three. Depression went with anger, so now I guess I am working my way through acceptance. The first big step was acknowledging that I had lost something important to me. If I had not done that, I would still be banging my head against the wall, trying to recover my files.

We lose stuff. It happens. This is one of those rare events that, 10 years from now, I may actually remember. Mostly, though, the stuff we get worked up about isn’t that big a deal. It’s good to be able to move on. Fresh starts are good.

I really do like the OS. It’s likability doesn’t yet outweigh my loss, but it will after some time has passed.


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Reader Comments (10)

Kevin J. Weise · October 1, 2004 - 16:39 EST #1
Too bad you didn't give any details as to how you performed your Mac OS X install, or what version of Mac OS 9 (it was 9, wasn't it?) you were using. The installer for Mac OS X should have left everything on the drive, provided you did not choose to reformat the drive as part of the install. This means you should be able not only to find the files on the disk, but boot back into Mac OS 9 to start using things as before. In addition, if you weren't using Mac OS 9.2, you should still be able to go get a copy and upgrade that OS installation as well. If I remember correctly, Mac OS X requires Mac OS 9.2 to run Classic mode. (It would also be worthwhile to do a software update to Mac OS 9.2.2, with CarbonLib & QuickTime updated too).
anonymous · October 1, 2004 - 17:09 EST #2
Four years of emails that precious and no backups? Let this be a reminder to all of your readers to do three things as often as possible:

1. backup
2. backup
3. backup
Stefan Oetter · October 1, 2004 - 17:25 EST #3
If you were using outlook express, your email was stored in the microsoft user data folder
OS X Mail will import all of our old emails
there is a script in the Library-Scripts-Mail folder taht would have imported all of your email addresses
Ellyn Ritterskamp (ATPM Staff) · October 1, 2004 - 20:17 EST #4
I did back up the System Folder and other stuff onto a second hard drive. I think I have the files but just do not know how to access them. The Microstf User Data angle did not help.

The first hard drive, OS X made me reformat. It had 3 GB of stuff on it before, and said it needed 3 more GB for the OS. It now has 6 GB of stuff on there, which makes me think me original stuff is still there, too. I just don't know how to find it.

I appreciate everyone's suggestions. I hope someone will give me the Magic Hint, and I will find my stuff and get another column out of the experience.
Steve Philips · October 2, 2004 - 11:02 EST #5
I'm sure you thought of this but it's not noted. Didn't your friends save the email correspondance you had with them?
Allen Watson · October 2, 2004 - 12:02 EST #6
If you have searched the drive or drives, located the Microsoft User Data folder, and you have no folder within it called "Identities" (Outlook Express) or "Office 2001 Identities" if you were using that on OS 9, then you've lost your data. It sounds to me as though, when informed that you needed to reformat your hard drive, you should have backed up everything at that point. If you did not, and reformatted, anything that was there is gone now.

Check out the Entourage Help pages for more detailed info:
anonymous · October 5, 2004 - 21:31 EST #7
Your favorites in OS 9 are here;
system folder:preference folder:explorer folder
Just drag and drop in here in OS X;

The identity files for Outlook Express are usually installed in the following location:
HD:Documents:Microsoft User Data:Identities
Here are the steps to locate the identity, if it is not in the default location:
From the File menu, click Find.

In the dialog box that appears, type the name of the identity or the word "database" (without the quotes) that you want to back up, and then press the RETURN key to start the search.
In the lower portion of the Find dialog box, double-click the folder with the identity name to bring up a window with the following items:
Database Cache
Mailing Lists
NOTE: These are the files that contain the data of the identity.


If you find these OE files, you should be able to recreate the Microsoft User Data folder as shown above, copy the files in there, and import them into Apple Mail. Good Luck!
ananomyous · October 30, 2004 - 19:29 EST #8
Im sorry that those messages are lost forever. But it's alright. Yes your friends ARE still in your heart Dont worry =^.^=
Stephen Taylor · March 1, 2005 - 21:29 EST #9
So, now that its March 2005, what ended up happening?? Did you finally recover the files or not? I hope all went well for you. And yes, your friends are yours no matter what but I understand having that happen, too, with my email once upon a time.
Ellyn Ritterskamp (ATPM Staff) · March 1, 2005 - 22:23 EST #10
Stephen, I did not recover the files, but I got over being upset. Part of that process was writing about the loss, and remembering that things are not as important as people.

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