Recovering Lost Site Definitions

by James Cook on July 6, 2009

More Dreamweaver Recovery Tips: Recover Dreamweaver Template | Recover Dreamweaver Passwords

Updated: Dreamweaver CS5 and Windows Site Definition Recovery info added.

My iMac recently froze up and, when I – eventually – recovered from the forced shut down and restart, I discovered my Dreamweaver preferences had been reset to the default settings and, even worse,


I have my site definitions backed up (most of them anyway) but the option of importing them one by one didn’t really appeal to me. Besides, I have Time Machine installed so I reasoned that, if I could figured out where Dreamweaver stores its site definitions, I could restore them all from the backup.

Well, it took a bit of research but I was able to make it work. Should you wind up in the same situation, here’s how to do it.

Sorry but these instructions are Mac OS X and Dreamweaver CS3, CS4 or CS5 only for info on how to recover site definitions on a PC see Recovering Dreamweaver Site Definitions on Windows

Dreamweaver CS5.5 Mac stores site definitions in the file:

Macintosh HD:Users:<username>:Library:Application Support:Adobe:Common:11.5:Sites:Site Prefs

Dreamweaver CS5 Mac stores site definitions in the file:

Macintosh HD:Users:<username>:Library:Application Support:Adobe:Common:11:Sites:Site Prefs

Dreamweaver CS4 Mac stores site definitions in the file:

Macintosh HD:Users:<username>:Library:Application Support:Adobe:Common:10:Sites:Site Prefs

For CS3 the file is: Macintosh HD:Users:<username>:Library:Application Support:Adobe:Common:9:Sites:Site Prefs

Substitute your user name for <username> and, if you have renamed your computer’s hard drive, sub your drive’s name for Macintosh HD. The colons separate folder names.

Using Time Machine, restoring the site definitions was a simple matter of selecting the file, activating Time Machine, scrolling back a day or two and selecting Restore to replace the current (empty) Site Prefs file with the previous version.

Note: Make sure that you have Dreamweaver closed when you restore the Site Prefs file or the restored file will end up empty as well.

As I said, I also lost my customizations to Dreamweaver’s preferences. I was able to restore them in the same way. Dreamweaver’s preference settings are stored in the file:

Macintosh HD:Users:<username>:Library:Preferences:Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 Prefs

Of course, it’s Dreamweaver CS3 Prefs for users of Dreamweaver CS3.

If you don’t have Time Machine installed, you can also replace the Site Prefs and Dreamweaver CS4 Prefs files using a recent back up (you do have a recent back up don’t you?).

And, if you haven’t found yourself in this situation, be thankful and consider making a backup of your Site Prefs and Dreamweaver CS4 Prefs files and storing them somewhere handy.

As always, feel free to email me with your questions, comments and suggestions. And please follow me on Twitter (DWcourse) for additional Dreamweaver news and tips.

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