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Thread: Auto Generated Application List

  1. #1

    Member Since
    Jan 25, 2010
    Auto Generated Application List
    I recently had the catastrophic hard drive failure on my laptop. I now have a huge external drive that I use for TimeMachine on my Desktop and my Laptop. In order to save space backing up I want to exclude the applications folder and simply have a text file generated that will list all of the installed apps (and version-if possible). Then I would have this text file backed up instead of the xxGB sized applications folder.

    Would this be easiest if done in a shell script, apple script, maybe automator can help?

    Has anyone else done this? Any ideas?


  2. #2

    clayneal's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 27, 2009
    Lincoln Nebraska
    A question ? If you dont include your apps folder in the backup will you have any apps backed-up ? I may be wrong but you will not be saving hdd space as TM just keeps adding back ups till disk is full then starts deleting the oldest to continue. I am sure someone will come along to shoot me down or confirm but If it were me i would let time machine do its job.

    Just my thoughts

  3. #3

    Member Since
    Jan 25, 2010
    Correct, I'd have no Apps folder backed up. The apps really aren't my priority as far as retaining data since I have all of the media to install (sure it'll take more time to recover if the unthinkable happens again) but with a 1.5 TB backup and a desktop with 1TB and a laptop with 250GB, I'm sure it'll get full fast. No need to have the apps folder add more waste.

  4. #4

    nabl's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 13, 2007
    United States of America
    This is actually quite simple using System Profiler. Run this command from Terminal:
    system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType > ~/Desktop/Applications.txt
    This will output every single application on your computer to a file on the Desktop called Applications.txt. To refine it to just the applications in your Applications folder, try something like this:
    system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType | grep "Location: /Applications" -B 7 > ~/Desktop/Applications.txt
    It will output a generally nice list of applications. You could even refine that further to include other folders, such as ~/Applications. Also, you can change the path to output it wherever you like, including on your backup disk somewhere.

    Throw that as a do shell script in an AppleScript, set it to run on a schedule with iCal, and you'll be good to go. Here are instructions that I gave in another thread on how to assign an application to a scheduled iCal event. Just replace making an Automator script with making an AppleScript (or even do make it in Automator with a Run Applescript action), and schedule it regularly for how often you want the file to be updated.

  5. #5

    Member Since
    Jan 25, 2010
    Perfect! Never thought to use System obvious now.

    Thanks again!

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