Resolved Can I do a differential restore from Time Machine?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nim6us, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. nim6us macrumors member


    Nov 20, 2012
    I've got a user who has a file structure that lists numerous companies, each company then has it's own folder and inside each folder there is a file called "Notes.docx". That means each company has a generic file called notes:

    Companies Folder
    Company 1 Folder
    Company 2 Folder
    Company 3 Folder

    I've already made him aware this is a bad idea as it makes identifying specific notes files difficult, however that's not the problem.

    The problem is he has hundreds of company folders, and it appears numerous notes files are randomly missing. I don't understand what would cause some of them to be deleted but not all of them, but that's where we stand. To further complicate the issue he hasn't had a Time Machine backup done since 3 months ago, so simply rolling the MBP back is not an option. Currently what he's doing is as he finds a company that's missing the notes file he logs into Time Machine and does a single file restore.

    Obviously the way he's doing it now is not very efficient and will take a significant amount of time. What I'm looking for is an option that would do a differential compare on his company folders and any that are missing the notes file, pull the previous version down from the Time Capsule. Is this possible? I'm also open to any other suggestions, thanks all!
  2. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    AFAIK what he's doing is the only way.

    As far as his file structure, do keep pestering him, that's not a good way to go about it.
  3. nim6us thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 20, 2012
    I shopped this question around to a few other message boards and got a response that was exactly the solution I needed. Posting it below should it be of any help to someone in the future.


    1. Recover the entire directory .. presumably all the company folders are in documents folder or some such on his computer.

    You can go into TM and recover the directory to a different location.

    2. Copy the recovered directory over the original. Be smart of course use a copy command from terminal like rsync. Just look up the rsync command.. you don't need to be eggs spurt ... but being smart of course.. don't do this without a trial on copy of his directory with all the business files first to make sure it doesn't mess up. I just googled for rsync command to do file update from source to target.

    rsync -h -v -r -P -t source target

    This transfers only new files, and files already existing but modified:

    The parameters in detail:

    • -h: human readable numbers
    • -v: verbose
    • -r: recurse into directories
    • -P: --partial (keep partially transferred files) +
      --progress (show progress during transfer)
    • -t: preserve modification times

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