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MacTechTrainer, Sr. Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 1700
Experience:  Apple Certified Desktop & Portables Technician, A+, Cross-Platform (Mac/PC) Tech - for over 14 Years
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All of the addresses and directories in my Apple Address book

Customer Question

All of the addresses and directories in my Apple Address book just disappeared. Help! I have a backup external harddrive, and they're gone from there as well.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
Hello, and thank for seeking technical assistance for your Mac .I am Sr. Mac Support Specialist, TD at your service.

If possible, would you mind providing me :

• What version of Mac OS X you are using? (i.e. "Mac OS X 10.5.6" or "Mac OS X 10.4.11" etc -
If unsure how to verify what version of Mac OS X you have- do this:Click on Apple Menu icon - Upper left corner of your screen and select "About this Mac from the menu- The little window that pops up will reveal what version you have)

• If I may ask, when was the last time you were able to access your AddressBook did you run any recent downloads or installations of software on your Mac?

Your answers to the questions I have submitted, will allow me to work with more detailed information, in order to effectively answer your question. Thanks!


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
10.4.11 is the OS

I accessed the address book earlier today.

I've been downloading all of my CD's into iTunes.

I have to leave for a meeting. Sorry. I've never used this service before. I should have waited until tomorrow. I'll be home in about 2-3 hours.
Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
That's ok.

Let me see if I can help:

To restore: In Address Book, choose Revert to Address Book Backup from the AddressBook File menu. In the resulting dialog, locate your backup file (it ends with a .abbu extension), select it, and click Open.
*If you locate the .abbu file extension, your contacts should restore back into your Address book.

However, if you do not see the .abbu extension using these steps, let me know and I will reply back you once you return within 2- 3 hours for further assistance.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
When I go to Revert to Address Book Backup from the AddressBook File menu, I don't get any dialog and can't find anything that wends with a .abbu extension. When I got to that, I get a pop down window that has a menu list down the left side that has the following list:

Macintosh HD

The Backup is for my external hard drive. There's another menu listed below the above on the left side that has :


And others.

Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
Hello thanks for your detailed reply.

The .abbu file extension = Address Book Back Up

To help you locate your .abbu file which looks like the icon below,

One of the best ways to search for your backup file is using Spotlight
which in Mac OS X 10.4.11 is the little Magnifying glass icon located in the upper
right corner of your Apple menu bar

Here is a link also explaining how to search using Spotlight
Using Spotlight

As you see in the screenshot below, I have simply placed the .abbu extension in and right away, Spotlight found that I have a backup copy for Address Book in my Documents folder.


Now if you would, connect your external hard drive to your Mac (if you have not done so already) and repeat the same process using Spotlight.

Spotlight will look throughout your Macintosh volume as well as your external drive for any file remotely close to an .abbu file and will post its results in a drop down window.

If Spotlight does not yield any results, just like the example I posted above for you,
then there may be a possibility that there may be no Address Book backup files to retrieve.

I hope this is not the case, so I will be really looking to receive your update and see what you find. Thanks for your patience and I await you reply.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I put abbu in the spotlight bar and searched both my hard drive and the external hard drive. No address book showed up. Many files are listed in documents and mail, but no address book.

Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for the update.

Unfortunately, all signs point to your address book backup possibily being deleted.
Because if you search for any file extension like .abbu, if it is there, there is no way,
even if you left the "." off of the extension, that Spotlight would not find it.

The best recommendation I can make is this software tool for Macs called File Salvage. It has help me to recover many important files and libraries and I hope this may be a option you consider, just as an option to consider. The software is a real good tool and fairly easy to setup and use.

File Salvage 6.1.5

This is at best what I can offer you at this time. As I pointed out earlier, if the .abbu file(s) are not located on your internal Mac OS hard drive or your external hard drive, considering the importance of your address book contacts, this software utility, is a much better option, than no option at all.

If you have more questions please feel free to reply as I am always glad to assist.
Thank you again for your patience!

Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
Hello again.

Just following up to see if there have been any breakthroughs for you in your attempt to locate the .abbu files for your Address Book, or if you have had an opportunity to look into the File Salvage option I provided you in my previous post.

Please let me know, if I can be of further assistance for you.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Unfortunately, I've no luck in retrieving the files, so I've been recreating my address book and directories, and this time I'll back them up to something other than an external hard drive.

Thanks for your trying.
Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
Hi and glad to see your reply.

I have no doubt now that your .abbu file(s) for Address book have been deleted somehow, but I would not recommend you leave the external hard drive out the picture as you recreate your new Address book directories.

I only stress this, because you can actually do both. What I mean is, back up the new .abbu files to both your hard drive and your external hard drive.

To do this, all you need to know is where the new .abbu files will be stored on your internal hard drive and simply copy and paste the .abbu file into your external hard drive for extra back up.

You can also go through Address Book >File >Export menu to also save your .abbu file to be archived on the internal or your external hard drive.


• You would then select Address Book Archive


•• And a small Finder window will appear providing you the option to choose where you want to save your .abbu (Address Book backup file) to - and that can be your internal or external hard drive.
To go even further, if you are still concerned about using your external hard drive:

I have an excellent online storage service, that you can consider (and even try for free to test for 15 days) called Carbonite.

This service enables you to upload your files from your Mac, to your own online storage account.

I have a few links here to provide you some of the features and benefits of this service, just for your review.

How Carbonite works
Carbonite for Macs (technical details)

I have worked to provide as many options for you to help you for present and future tense, but I do not tire from entertaining more questions from you regarding this issue you have been diligent in working on for your Address Book. So if you there is more you need to know, just reply and say the word. Thanks again for your patience!