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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:38 AM   #1
macrumors regular
Join Date: May 2007
A different backup query

Hi All,
I've moved from a 2010 iMac to a late 2012 iMac. I want to make sure I have all my data before selling the old one. I've copied over my iPhoto library and iTunes library, and I'm pretty sure that I don't need any other data stored on the Mac itself.

Just in case though, I've run a Time Machine backup of the 2010 Mac. If I subsequently discover I am missing a document etc, is it as easy as plugging the TimeMachine disk into the new mac and finding the file?

I've never used TimeMachine before, beyond snapshotting a whole mac and using that to migrate to a new mac during install. I have no idea if you can do selective file restores to a Mac you've not backed up from - although that would seem like a sensible bit of functionality.

Is there a better way to ensure I've got a proper backup of the original Mac before reinstalling and selling on?
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:54 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2012
First of all, a general word of advice. You should be running a regular backup of your files anyway, if you don't want to lose them. Hard disks can break down at any time without warning, or computers can be stolen, etc, etc. TM makes it effortless: just plug-in an external drive and let it make incremental backups every hour.
If you're not using TM, then I hope you're using something else.

That having been said, the answer to your question is: "yes". TM makes a complete copy of your drive, (excluding any folders you've told it to ignore), and you should be able to browse through that copy in the Finder on your new machine.
However: there are couple of things to watch out for.

Firstly, I'm not sure what will happen to your old backup if you start using that external drive for Time Machine on your new computer.

Secondly, there may be issues of access, if the computer doesn't see your old user account as being "the same user" as the user on your new system. But it's straightforward to turn off permissions on external drives (In Get Info).

When you first start your new Mac, the Setup Assistant will ask you if you want to transfer data from a TM backup, and you can then choose what you want to transfer over from that.

Alternatively, there is software like SuperDuper and CarbonCopyCloner to create a duplicate of your entire disk onto the external.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 05:34 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2007
Thanks BenWiggy,
All of my important information should be stored on a RAID-Z2 array separate from my iMac. I even rsync the iTunes and iPhoto stuff there. It's more a case of if I've made a note in a text file of a config setting I needed to change.

I am also not planning on using the same disk to TimeMachine my new iMac. I'm actually considering upgrading the RAID array to 6x3TB disks and creating a big iSCSI target to do TimeMachine on to. This would be purely for the moment where during the reinstall of my old iMac I suddenly think: "ARRRGH I needed that file!"

I guess it might make sense to do a SuperDuper / CCC copy too just in case.

Out of interest what do people use to backup to the cloud? I was thinking of setting up an S3 instance and using rsync for stuff which is irreplaceable (pics of the kids, info for the VAT man etc) just in case a meteorite hits my house or whatever. I've also heard SpiderOak mentioned.
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