Thunderbird Profile Location

Profile with mail settings and stuff is in C:\Windows.old\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\.default\

%AppData% resolves to the Roaming directory, not the Local one. This is even if the email folders have been stored elsewhere.

See https://support.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/kb/profiles#w_restoring-a-profile-backup

Useful information about passwords
http://kb.mozillazine.org/Setting_and_changing_email_passwords

Moving Mozilla Thunderbird to a New Computer

Thunderbird’s email account settings are all stored in the user’s profile folder. To get the whole setup back, just copy the profile folder from the old machine to the new one.

For me, my email storage location still had the same path, so there was no issue with the actual emails themselves.

For information about moving profile, see https://support.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/kb/profiles

Upgrading a MacBook with an SSD

SSD Macbook

 

Having bought a new solid state drive (SSD), I needed somewhere to use it. Mountain Lion runs terribly slow on a 2009 MacBook Pro, so I decided to upgrade its hard drive to an SSD. I had originally planned to use it for a new desktop, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon and it seemed like such a waste to leave a perfectly good SSD lying around.

The hard drive replacement was quite easy. Just unscrew everything and replace the drive. Some other websites should provide much better instructions. The main thing to note is that the hard drive support posts use a funny star shaped screw. I still have my friend’s toolkit from the last drive replacement so this wasn’t a problem.

Prior research had led me to the Recovery Disk Assistant, a bootable recovery USB stick. Plugging that in and starting the Mac starts a recovery utility. Start by adding a partition and formatting the disk using the disk utility.

Next, install the OS. The utility prompts for an AppleID. Use the account used to purchase Mountain Lion. The installer will now download the whole OS from the App Store. This requires an Internet connection, which can be configured from the recovery utility. Go do other stuff while it downloads and installs the OS.

At the end of the process, it will prompt for a location to restore user data from. One of the options is to use a hard drive. I plugged in the hard drive I had just replaced as an external USB drive. The installer automatically detected the applications and user data and offered the option of restoring it. I just let it do its thing and at the end of the process, the data recovery was complete without me having to manually dig up the application install disks or recreating the user accounts. It just worked!

The Mac now starts up in less than 10 seconds. Applications start much faster and Mountain Lion is finally acceptably quick.

I’m really amazed by the ease which I could reinstall the OS and restore the data after changing out the hard drive. The performance increase is very nice too. However, it’s a little disappointing that Mountain Lion needs an SSD to not feel sluggish.

 

Reinstalling Mountain Lion

Upgrading from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion has proven to be a lousy experience. The computer was much slower and the spinning wheel icon kept coming up. Endless frustration.

Before giving up on Mountain Lion, I decided to give it another chance by doing a fresh install. As with all fresh installs, start by backing up your stuff. I simply opened Finder and copied everything in each user’s Home folder over.

OS X has something called OS X recovery which allows recovery without any installation media. To access this, restart the Mac and hold down cmd + R until it boots into OS X utilities. From there, it is possible to erase the disk and select the option to install Mountain Lion.

The utility will ask for the Apple ID and password used to buy Mountain Lion, then proceed to download the whole thing before installing it. Just let it sit there and finish the whole process. It’s quite painless.

After Mountain Lion installed I copied the data back and reinstalled applications from their install discs. There was a bit of a problem with iPhoto at first when it refused to open the backed up libraries. It complained that the library was created with a newer version of iPhoto. Doing a software update solved the problem.

However, some old emails were lost. the ~/Library folder is hidden in Mountain Lion and thus was never copied when I first backed up the data. Mac OS stores mail somewhere in the Library folder in the user’s home directory. Oh well the perils of hiding “complicated” things from the user.

iTunes Library

After installing iTunes on a fresh install of Windows, the music library was empty! Apple has a support article explaining how to get it back. I had a copy of the XML file and could use it to recreate the Library according to the instructions.

Choose File > Library > Import Playlist.
Navigate to the “iTunes Library.xml” file on the Desktop and click Open.

I also had to manually change the location of “My Music” folder in Windows as my music files are on another disk partition.

Picasa Database

Picasa stores its database in C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Google
The database is in the Picasa2 and Picasa2Albums folders. To restore the database on a fresh install of Picasa, just copy the database over and replace the empty one.

It was useful that Windows 8 kept the previous Windows files in a Windows.old folder as I had forgotten to backup the Picasa database separately. That has since been rectified by adding a new operation to SyncToy.