How to retrieve files from Lima's drive to my computer

This article aims to give you insights on accessing your files when plugging in your Lima drive directly to your computer. It’s particularly useful if you want to get some files off the drive on a computer on which you can't install Lima.

We’re currently working on a feature that will be added to your Lima Preferences to allow an export from the Lima’s HDD to your computer.

While this feature is not available yet, we have an experimental package for Windows downloadable here and a CLI command tool available on Mac OSX.


1. Download our experimental package.

2. Eject your USB drive from your Lima. To do so, please click here. Once your hard drive is disconnected, plug it into your desktop computer.

3. Extract the archive containing the export tool (it will not run from inside a compressed archive).

4. Run lima-export.cmd. If you get a window telling you that the publisher is untrusted, click "Run".

5. Under "Lima drive", select the USB drive. This is not the drive called "Lima" (usually L:), but rather something like D:. It should contain a directory called ".lima".

6. Under "Destination directory", select an empty directory anywhere on a drive with enough room for the files that will be exported.

7. Under "Lima password", enter the password you use to log into the Lima application.

8. Click "Go". You may optionally see a window asking you to select a date. You probably want to keep the default choice here, unless you want to export data from old installs of Lima on the same disk (for instance if your account was reset).

9. You should see a progress bar now. After at most a few minutes, it will start to fill progressively. Wait until it is full, and the "Cancel" button will change into "Done!", at which point you just have to click on it to close the window.

If the export stops unexpectedly, look into the "data" directory for files ending in .log and send them to the Lima support team.


1. Eject your USB drive from your Lima. To do so, please click here. Once your hard drive is disconnected, plug it into your desktop computer.

2. Download the file here.

3. Go to your "Downloads" in Finder and double-click on the file to extract the archive.

4. Open Spotlight (click on the magnifying glass on the top-right or press cmd + space). Type "terminal". Press ENTER.

5. Type "cd" followed by a space in the terminal.

6. Drag and drop the extracted folder which appeared at step 3 in the terminal. You should now see "cd" followed by the path of the folder. Press ENTER.

7. You need a folder where the files in your Lima will be placed. You can create a folder wherever you want. If you do not know where you want to create this folder, you might create it on your Desktop. To do so, open a Finder, click on "Desktop", go to "File" and click on "New Folder".

8. A new folder is created, you might want to rename it from "untitled folder" to something more appropriate, like "My extracted Lima files".

9. Now, go back to the terminal and write "./lima-export" followed by a space.

10. In your Finder, click on your computer's name where you can see your internal hard-drive "Macintosh HD" and your Lima hard-drive you connected at step 1. Drag the Lima hard-drive and drop it in the terminal.

11. Now, still in your Finder, drag the new folder you created at step 7 and drop it in the terminal.


12. In the terminal, press ENTER. The export tool is starting.

13. If you have installed Lima several times with the same disk, you may be asked to select a date. You probably want to enter "1" here, unless you want to export data from old installs of Lima (for instance if your account was reset).

14. You will then be asked for a password. Enter the password you use to log into the Lima application. Characters will not appear as you type them. Then press ENTER.

15. The tool should now stop to export your files. It will update you with how many files and megabytes of data have been exported. Let it run until it prints "Export complete". Your files should now be available in the directory you created at step 7.

No luck? 

- Make sure you selected the external hard drive and not the .lima folder directly (point 5 for Windows)

- If this does not work, please try on a Mac if you were on a Windows PC and vice versa.

Still no luck? Shoot us an email and attach the export logs. You will find the .log files in the "data" directory on Windows, and the lima-export.log file on your desktop on Mac.



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