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In the /etc folder of my system (OS X 10.8.2) I see a bunch of files named with the "~orig" suffix (e.g hosts~orig, passwd~orig, etc). What are these?

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Probably backups made by some program. Did you edit these manually or do you have something installed that modifies them automatically? – Gerry Feb 14 '13 at 13:07

Those are the leftovers of OS upgrade.

The OS X upgrade saves previous configurations that's going to be changed.

The date of ~orig file should correspond with the OS upgrade.

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