Taking a snapshot
To take a snapshot, drag-and-drop items (files/folders) onto the Folder Snapshot Utility dock icon.
Advanced users may also wish to avail the ‘Take Snapshot’ option in the Finder’s ‘right-click’ menu. This can be enabled or disabled in Folder Snapshot Utility’s preferences window.
To restore data, launch Folder Snapshot Utility and choose ‘Show Snapshots’ from the ‘Snapshots’ menu at the very top of the screen. This open the Snapshot Inspector which shows a navigable overview of all successful snapshots. It is organised as a ‘column view’, so clicking on a item in the first column will let you ‘drill down’ and navigate the hierarchy of files and folders until you find the item you are looking for.
When you take a snapshot of an item, it is stored internally (including its full path) with a ‘.snapshots’ extension. For instance, my home folder might appear as “Macintosh HD/Users/Dave.snapshots”. Within the .snapshots directory you will find date-time-stamped directories for each snapshot you have taken of this item. Navigate further to browse within the snapshot. Once you are within a specific snapshot, the option to ‘restore’ the highlighted item is enabled.
When you press ‘restore’, the selected item will be restored to a temporary holding area. When the restore process is finished, this temporary holding area will be revealed in the Finder — it is now up to you how you handle the restored item. You can move it back to its original location, perhaps rename it, or move it somewhere else; it’s up to you.
The temporary holding area also contains a shortcut to the item’s original location, to facilitate restoration. However, if the original location is no longer available (perhaps it is on a removable disk!) then this shortcut will not be present.
As the name suggests, the temporary holding area is occasionally cleared. When you decide to restore an item, you should move it from the temporary holding area promptly. The holding area is cleared whenever the next restore operation is undertaken, and possibly also when the application undertakes housekeeping at startup and shutdown.