Mac OS X

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Apple Inc.'s Macintosh OS X (pronounced "OS Ten") is the operating system distributed with Apple computers. It includes heavily used several programs by default, including Apple Mail, a web browser called Safari, and an Apple Address Book, and iCal.

EFI boot

The firmware is responsible for initializing the hardware and performing a POST (Power-On Self Test).

The default boot volume is stored in NVRAM and can be configured through the "Startup Disk" preference pane or the nvram command line utility [1]. E.g. to print all of the firmware variables.

nvram -p

Additional boot arguments can be provided via the "boot-args" value [2].

Mac OS X extends EFI with a read-only HFS+ driver. According to [3] HFS+ volume header fields are used to point to a "blessed file" to be loaded as an EFI application. Though it is not clear which header field the source is referring to but likely related to the "bless" utility [4].

The firmware starts the Mac OS X boot loader (boot.efi). The bootloader displays a dark grey Apple logo on the screen and loads the Darwin kernel from disk, as well as the essential driver extensions.

The bootloader can be eithe a MZ-PE/COFF or EFI fat binary type executables and is commonly stored in:


The behavior of the bootloader can be configured in the [5] which can be found in:


Disk image types

Mac OS X has support for various disk image types build-in, some of which are:

Burn Folder

Mac OS X Burn Folder:


This folder normally contains alias files (similar to LNK files under Windows). Which should have the following signature.

00000000  62 6f 6f 6b 00 00 00 00  6d 61 72 6b 00 00 00 00  |book....mark....|

These alias files contain additional date and time values.

Also check the following files for references to deleted .fpbf paths:


Actual burning of optical media is logged in:


HFS/HFS+ date and time values

In HFS+ date and time values are stored in an unsigned 32-bit integer containing the number of seconds since January 1, 1904 at 00:00:00 (midnight) UTC (GMT). This is slightly different from HFS where the date and time value are stored using the local time. The maximum representable date is February 6, 2040 at 06:28:15 UTC (GMT). The date values do not account for leap seconds. They do include a leap day in every year that is evenly divisible by four. This is sufficient given that the range of representable dates does not contain 1900 or 2100, neither of which have leap days. Also see: Technical Note TN1150 - HFS Plus Volume Format

Converting HFS/HFS+ date and time values with Python:

import datetime

print datetime.datetime( 1904, 1, 1 ) + datetime.timedelta( seconds=0xCBDAF25B )

Launch Agents



Per user:


These directories contain Property list (plist) files.

Launch Daemons



These directories contain Property list (plist) files.

Startup Items


Crash Reporter

/Library/Application Support/CrashReporter

Contains text files named .crash, .diag, .spin

Diagnostic Reports


Internet Plug-Ins


/Library/Internet Plug-Ins

Per user:

/Users/$USERNAME/Library/Internet Plug-Ins

Quarantine event database

See [6]

Snow Leopard and earlier

SELECT datetime(LSQuarantineTimeStamp + 978307200, "unixepoch") as LSQuarantineTimeStamp, LSQuarantineAgentName, LSQuarantineOriginURLString, LSQuarantineDataURLString from LSQuarantineEvent;

Lion and later



This file is similar to the hibernation file on Windows.


Also see: [7]

Last shutdown logs


Package Files (.PKG)

Package Files (.PKG) are XAR archives [8] that contain a cpio archive and metadata [9].

Also see


External Links


Apple Examiner






Quarantine event database

Unified logging