I'll get a replacement Mac soon, so I'll have to restore from a backup. Apart from the home directory and the applications, does Time Machine also backup the usually hidden Unix folders like /etc, /usr and so on?

I've got a few programs and config files in there and I'd like my new Mac to be in exactly the same state as the current one, in terms of software. Can I rely on Time Machine to backup/restore everything without exception, or would I have to use something like Carbon Copy Cloner instead?

1 Answer 1


As long as you haven't excluded something manually from the backup it will backup everything, except some cache and log files. I do also have custom programs in /opt, /usr/bin,... and everything still worked after restoring the system from my Time Machine backup.

There is a good collection of Time Machine FAQ on the web you may like to consult.

  • I agree with this answer. I don't remember the details, but I think there are a few files that Carbon Copy Cloner by default omits when you clone, saying that Apple recommends it that way. (Things that will be automatically created as soon as you access the new disk.) Probably Time Machine omits these as well.
    – GEdgar
    Mar 23, 2013 at 16:30

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