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macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 30, 2013
I do a weekly TM backup.
Had to do a full restore onto a blank HD from a full backup (no folders excluded). I backed up just before the restore. And I found out that many very important files and folders from Documents were months-old versions. Thank heavens I had also copied those onto an external drive, just in case.
Also tons of settings and various small things were gone. Many programs came with the 'opening for the first time' BS warnings, and my iPhone had to be re-authorized, wasting fourth out of five computers that Big Brother allows.
Oh and a big bunch of songs in iTunes are still on hard drive, but iTunes says can't find them, so would have to reconnect them one by one. Think Different indeed.

Did this happen to anybody? Any idea why?
Any free (or at least under $10) programs out there that can do a 101% reliable backup, with every single file and plist and setting and dot that had changed actually updated?
I guess one way to do this would be to do a fresh complete TM backup every week, but with few hundred GB, that's a painful alternative to the 10GB it usually does.

Many thanks,
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macrumors 68040
Mar 3, 2008
I turned off (network) Time Machine because I got so disgusted with it. Over the network it just plain blows chunks. TM to a local USB, FW or TB drive works fine but over the network it is not reliable. When I'm migrating to a new Mac/HDD or SSD, what I do is start a fresh from scratch TM backup to a FW drive. I then allow it to finish which can take a day or more. I then migrate to the new MAC/HDD or SSD from the fresh TM backup I just made and so far I haven't noticed anything missing.

I use Crashplan for backup. It has saved me on two occasions where TM over the network had produced a corrupted (unsuitable for restore) backup. It costs well over $10 but you get what you pay for. Another alternative is Carbon Copy Cloner which can make a bootable backup. Again more than $10. Consider this. You are processing information on an over $1000 Mac on either a HDD or SSD that costs well over $100 and you are looking for a $10 solution to backup your data which is arguably worth more than 10 times what you paid for that equipment (recovery services typically charge 10 times the replacement cost of media to find and restore data on crashed drives).


macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 30, 2013
I know. $1000 machine that can't even copy a few files. But whatcha gonna do!
I keep finding more places that didn't get copied.


macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2008
West Suburban Boston Ma
Umm I tried Time Machine once or twice, but gave up on it. I now use SuperDuper (some prefer CCC) and make bootable backups on external HDDs and rotate the HDDs. I had to recover once when my wife's mini's internal HDD got messed up. I had a backup from 2 days ago, so simply wiped the internal HDD then booted the SuperDisk clone and re-wrote the internal HDD. all was well


macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
Some folks do OK with Time Machine when they need to recover something.
Others have problems with it, sometimes severe problems.

I happen to prefer having "bootable cloned backups" that I update regularly.

Perhaps the best compromise is to utilize BOTH methods in your backup strategy.

If you're concerned about "minute-by-minute" backups, keep TM alive.
If you are satisfied with "once-a-day" backups, use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper...
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macrumors 68020
Jan 18, 2008
Hawaii, USA
I use SuperDuper! ($27.95) for full-system, infrequent backups. I don't know enough about CarbonCopyCloner to say how the two differ, but SuperDuper has some nice features to make backing up easier. You can make bootable backups, and to save on time, you can also "refresh" backups (all files are checked, and if a file is already in the backup, it won't be copied again; this can cut down on backup time dramatically).

I've used Time Machine to restore and migrate between systems, and I've never had issues with it. Out of curiosity, why are you only backing up to it once a week? It's designed to be there pretty much whenever your computer is on. If you had files missing from a backup then there are three possibilities that I can think of:

1) The backup wasn't complete. Time Machine behavior can get weird if you're using it very infrequently, so I suspect this is what happened. You probably needed to have it run through two backup cycles to get everything.

2) You have Time Machine set to exclude backups from a certain folder.

3) A program that you're using is automatically excluding its documents from Time Machine backups. I only know of virtualization software (Parallels and VMWare Fusion) doing this with their virtual machine files, but there may be others that do something similar.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2010
I have restored time machine backups on hundreds of macs and never once had that problem. Probably, your file system was corrupt beforehand. Time machine is awesome, the amount of time it's saved me and my fiends and family makes the Mac worth it's money just for the one feature. Takes weeks to get windows back where it was after a reinstall.

Clearly the OP accidentally selected an old backup when given the chose of what backup to restore from.
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