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Selective TimeMachine system restore

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by rayjay86, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    I have a 2011 MBA 13 that I bought in November 2011.

    Recently I've noticed that it just doesn't boot up as fast anymore and even opening the computer from sleep takes longer than it used to.

    I want to do a system restore from my time machine backup. When I did one yesterday I thought it would give me the option to either backup all my stuff or just documents, etc. but it didn't and my computer despite a backup is an identical replica of before, same slower wake-from-sleep times.

    If I do a complete back and start as a new system then download all the updates etc. and pull my documents, pictures, music (the only files I really care about) will I be able to write time machine data over top of my old drive or will I have to reformat and start again

    So will I be able to reformat everything --> put docs, pics, mp3s back to where they were --> run a time machine backup using the same drive with the old time machine data just being added to rather than a wiping the drive totally
  2. r0k
    macrumors 68040


    I would NEVER consider doing a wipe and restore without first doing a FRESH Time Machine backup. And by a fresh backup, I mean one on a new drive that runs from scratch, or wipe the old one and let it back up everything from scratch. I did this yesterday and got 195 GB of stuff backed up in an afternoon.

    Any backup that has been running for months must be considered at risk of corruption. You don't want to find out any of your stuff is gone from TM after you've already wiped and installed a fresh OS! :eek:
  3. macrumors regular

    Funny you mention that, as I type this I'm doing exactly that. Wiped the whole Time Machine backup drive and am doing a fresh backup.

    Whats the next step though? I want my user preferences such as safari bookmarks and keychain passwords to be there when I reformat everything. Apps like MS Word and Photoshop I can get again without issue and music etc, is just drag and drop (I think). Hopefully iTunes playlists etc. are preserved?
  4. macrumors demi-god


    If you do a true "clean install" nothing is going to be on there. You will need to manually copy over every file/setting you want on the new install.
  5. macrumors regular

    Ah weaselboy, coming to rescue me again :D

    So my question then is how do I know where all these little files are hiding? I am assuming they'll be registry-esque files but can't I just for example "restore" the safari app or something via time machine if I go into time machine and select restore or will that literlaly only restore the app and not the settings/preferences?

    I guess the only things I want for sure are: bookmarks, passwords...thats pretty much it I guess. Everything else I'll have to redo manually over the course of a few days
  6. r0k
    macrumors 68040


    If you "migrate" from a fresh recent TM backup, all that stuff should come back. You can point migration assistant to your recent TM backup during or after you install OS X.
  7. macrumors regular


    I got that on my MBA 13 2010.
    After closing the lid for a few hours, the log in takes some time to respond.
    This is something that will be bettered in some time I hope.
  8. macrumors demi-god


    There is nothing like the Windows Registry where you can just go to one place and find your settings. They vary by application. If you look in your user ~/Library folder you will see folders for many apps and in those folders are some settings. For example, in ~/Library/Safari you will find bookmarks.plist. In ~/Library/Keychain you will find login.keychain. You can copy those to a USB key or even email them to yourself then put them in the same place on the new install. (For the new keychain to work you will need to copy over the file then logout and back in for it to be recognized... make sure you use same login password as before)

    Yes... if you open Time Machine and click Safari it will just restore the app and not Safari settings.

    If you want to get every setting back like it was, each one has to be done manually and it is a lot of work. Particularly if one is not that familiar with OS X and its inner workings. :eek:

    This would restore everything, but completely defeats the purpose of a "clean install"... and corrupt/bad settings in the old install would get imported to the new install and you are right back where you started.

    A true clean install is a wipe of the drive and install of the OS followed my manually reinstalling every app and every setting.
  9. macrumors regular

    Alright so I've decided the only things I want to restore from the old system are:

    1. Email - I want my preferences, accounts, etc. to remain the same (which includes signatures, subfolders, etc.)

    1a. I'd like the downloads also to be restored, as in if I have any attachments that were there to be restored.

    2. Safari bookmarks

    3. Keychain (I would like all my wifi passwords, internet passwords etc. to be restored)

    4. Messages - I use iMessage on my computer quite a lot so I'd like to be there as well

    Everything else I can re-install. My photos, etc. will likely just load up when I import the iPhoto file and Aperture will just read off that.

    Since you guys know about this stuff could you direct me to how I go about doing this?

    TimeMachine has been updating a few times and so far there are about 5 new folders from 3 days ago with TM updates. Do I reboot, CMD+R at startup then do a fresh install of Lion, then what? My TimeMachine is updated with Mountain Lion (current OS). Do I install Lion, update to ML through the app store then do the time machine?

    Help...I'm obviously confused.

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