How to restore lost Hazel rules in macOS

Posted on Feb 7, 2019

I noticed recently that downloaded PDFs of online statements (bank, utilities, etc.) didn’t get renamed and shuffle off to their proper folders automatically, and assumed it meant that my Hazel rules had started to rot because vendors had changed their billing statement layouts. Nope. At some point over the last month, all of my Hazel rules disappeared. Luckily, my Backblaze backup from January 10 still had the rules in it. I used these instructions to get everything back:

from <…> (and I added some formatting, and spelled out the user directory paths better):

If you need to restore your Hazel settings and rules from a backup, use this procedure:

  • Quit System Preferences.
  • Launch Activity Monitor and find HazelHelper. Quit HazelHelper.
  • Find cfprefsd. Quit any occurrences that you can (some may be for other accounts and you can’t kill them).
    • Restore the following:
      • In your ~/Library/Application Support folder, the Hazel folder.
      • In your ~/Library/Preferences folder, the files starting with com.noodlesoft.
    • Reboot.

The corollary is to manually backup your Hazel rules (using “Export All Rules” in the gear/settings dropdown) somewhere safe once you have them working like you like them. Backblaze doesn’t save files forever, so you can’t count on there being a good version there.