Instructions for transferring Foldit data

Started by bkoep

bkoep Staff Lv 1

Transferring Foldit data

These are instructions for transferring your Foldit data from one installation to another (on a Mac). Your Foldit data includes things like:

  • the recipes in your Cookbook
  • old Science puzzles in the Puzzle Menu
  • shared and auto-saved solutions from old puzzles
  • certain user settings.

You should rarely need to reinstall Foldit, since most software updates are handled automatically when you log in to play Foldit online. But if your Foldit installation becomes corrupted, or if you want to play Foldit on a new computer, you may want to download and install a fresh version of Foldit from

You may also need to reinstall Foldit for special updates that cannot be handled automatically—for example, switching from a 32-bit to a 64-bit version of Foldit. Until November 2019, we distributed a 32-bit version of Foldit for Mac, but macOS 10.15 (Catalina) ended support for 32-bit applications and we switched to a 64-bit version of Foldit. If you installed Foldit for Mac before November 2019, then you will need to reinstall the 64-bit version of Foldit when you upgrade to macOS 10.15.

Follow the steps below to transfer your Foldit data from an old version of Foldit into a fresh install of Foldit (on a Mac).

1. Rename old Foldit

We recommend renaming your old Foldit installation. This isn't strictly necessary, but helps to keep everything straight, and ensures that the old Foldit doesn't interfere with the new installation.

In Finder, navigate to the location of the old Foldit installation (probably in Applications). Right-click on Foldit and select Rename to rename it to something else, like "Foldit-old".

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2. Install new Foldit

Download Foldit for Mac from Once the download has finished, double-click Foldit-macos_x64.dmg to open the installer. Complete the installation by dragging the Foldit icon to Applications or another location on your disk.

3. Access data in old Foldit

In Finder, right-click on your old version of Foldit and select Show Package Contents. Then navigate to Contents/Resources/ to locate your Foldit data. You should see some files with the extension .ir_puzzle for all of the Foldit puzzles you've played.

4. Move data to new Foldit

In a separate Finder window, locate the Contents/Resources/ directory in the new version of Foldit, the same way as above. Click and drag files from the old Resources/ to the new Resources/ to transfer your Foldit data:

  • 000... files: old Foldit puzzles from the Puzzle Menu
  • all.macro: recipes in your cookbook
  • options.txt: user settings (like preferred View options)
  • puzzle_... files: shared solutions
  • puzzles/ directory: autosaved solutions



5. Play Foldit!

Try running your new installation of Foldit and double-check that everything was transferred successfully to the game!

Because of Apple's security settings, your computer may warn you that Foldit is from an "unidentified developer" and refuse to run the game. You can get around the warning by right-clicking on Foldit and selecting Open.

Once you're sure that all of your data was transferred, you may want to delete the old version of Foldit to save disk space.

LociOiling Lv 1

Foldit can accumulate lots of files over time, in the form of saved solutions (ir_solution files) and other clutter.

I keep one Foldit installation that I use to save the best or most interesting results from each puzzle. This "archive" Foldit just grows, but has only a limited number of ir_solution files. (On Windows, each "installation" of Foldit is contained in a single directory or folder.)

To actually play the game, I use separate installations, and once in a while, I start each one from scratch, copying only certain files. Unlike bkoep's method, I don't copy anything from puzzles directory or any of the saved solutions.

It's best to do this between puzzles, otherwise make sure to upload your solutions, so you can download them again.

Files copied

I copy over the following files from old to new:


As bkoep mentions, the file all.macro contains all your recipes, and it's probably the most important. Copying it is easy, starting from scratch is a chore.

The most people have only one ir_user file, which contains your userid and (optionally) password. It's easy to recreate, but copying it saves a little time. (Your numeric user id appears before the .ir_user qualifier.)

The file options.txt has most of your settings. You can always reset them in View Options, General Options, and maybe some other spots, but again, just copying the file saves time and aggravation. Also, options.txt contains the Update Group setting - main or devprev - which can't be changed in the client.

The file theme.txt normally doesn't change, but for some clients, I've tweaked it to get a bright white background on screenshots, so it's on my list.

The file hotkey.txt has your hotkey settings. I've never changed mine, but I'm including it for completeness.

Normally there's just a single foldit.ico file, containing the Foldit ribbon icon. I've customized mine, which helps me tell one client from another.

The file mlog is used to keep track of things like whether you clicked your consent to the "play offline" terms and conditions. It's a small binary file, only 52 bytes on Windows, and it's not clear what other information it contains. The mlog file appears to have a digital signature.

Detailed method

I use Windows, and have multiple installations or clients, each in a separate directory, Foldit1, Foldit2, Foldit3, and so on. I put them all under c:\Foldit, so there's actually c:\Foldit\Foldit1, c:\Foldit\Foldit2, and c:\Foldit\Foldit3 in my setup.

In bkoep's Mac example above, there's a "resources" level where the files live. This level doesn't exist in Windows. For example, the cookbook for client 1 is in c:\Foldit\Foldit1\all.macro, so no "resources" level is needed to get there.

My method is similar to bkoep's, just a slightly different order, and again is specific to Windows.

First, I do a fresh download and install, putting in c:\Foldit\Foldit_Nov_2019 or the equivalent. Then using Windows Explorer, I copy Foldit_Nov_2019 using drag and drop, dropping to c:\Foldit. (I use right click and drag, then select "Copy here" from the context menu.) Each time, I end up with "Foldit_Nov_2010 - Copy", which I rename to "Foldit1_new" or the equivalent.

I use Beyond Compare to copy the files shown above from Foldit1 to Foldit1_new. Beyond Compare gives a side-by-side comparison of two directories, and lets me save options which include the list of file names as shown.

Without Beyond Compare or the equivalent, you can always use Windows Explorer. I'd suggest opening two Windows Explorers, one for old and one for new. You can use the search function to isolate the old files you want to copy.

I also copy the current release of main or devprev from old (but current) to new. See Manual Update on the wiki for a how-to. A manual update speeds things up by skipping the download the first time you start a newly installed client. Once again, Beyond Compare makes this easy, but you do need a compare session with no file filters for it to work.

After copying the files, it's back to Windows Explorer, where I rename Foldit1 to Foldit1_old, and then Foldit1_new to Foldit1 (and so on for each client). I start Foldit using desktop icons (shortcuts), and these don't change.

See Foldit file and directory structure on the wiki for more.

This method of copying seems to capture most of the settings I care about. You may also notice there is a .ir_ach file that starts with your user number, similar to the .ir_user file. This "achievements" file seems to get updated automatically as you play online, so you don't need to copy it.

Once I'm done, I have c:\Foldit\Foldit1_old and other retired installs. I keep these around for a bit just in case I missed something, but then they're archived. (I've never retrieved anything from the archives, so probably "deleted" would be a good synonym for "archived".)

(Update: tracked the offline T&C setting to the mlog file.)