Can I use a Time Machine Backup from my iMac on my MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MSC71, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. MSC71 macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2008
    Its a really long story. Right now I have a Macbook Pro with a formatted HD. I was able to get everything off it I needed by putting the HD in a external case and connecting to my iMac. Before I tried downloading El Captain through recovery mode and it failed every time. I tried installing the OS from a Snow Leopard Disc I had and that failed. Then I tried with the OSX disc that came with the MBP when I bought it several years ago new and that failed. My Time Machine backup for my MBP is gone as I had to do a restore from backup and after that it told me I needed to create a new backup and it would delete the old ones. Well it deleted the old ones and the new backup failed. It was a HD problem. Luckily I saved the important stuff.

    I really just need to get any of the OS versions installed so I can boot the computer up and then from there download the upgrades from there. My iMac is too old and will not let me download El Captain.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    You would normally hold CMD+ALT+R on startup to boot into Internet Recovery and install the original OS that came with your MacBook Pro, providing it shipped with Lion or later. However as you said it came with a Snow Leopard disk, that's not likely…

    If you have an existing Time Machine backup, you can plug that in via USB, hold Alt on startup, and it'll take you to an OS X Utilities page. From there you can format your new HDD through Disk Utility and then select 'Reinstall OS X' to install a fresh copy of the OS (whichever version is on the TM backup).

    Just be aware that when restoring from TM backup, you will not be able to restore an earlier OS that came with your Mac. Similarly, you will not be able to install a later OS supported on your machine.

    If your iMac is a newer version, you can take a hard-drive and plug it in via USB SATA. Then hold CMD+R on startup to boot into OS X Utilities. Format the external disk in Disk Utility, and install OS X to the external drive. Then fit that drive into your MBP and you'll have an OS on it.

    If I haven't answered your question, or if none of the above is applicable, please could you detail which models (year, size, spec) of Macs you have?
  3. MSC71 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2008
    I tried the CMND + ALT + R and it would try and download and fail numerous times. I tried repairing the disc and it had an error so that is when I took out the HD and put it in a external case and was able to transfer what I needed to the iMac. I then wiped the HD through recovery and did a check disc and repair disc and the errors were gone. I also tried using the original disc that came with the MBP and no luck. Also tried a Snow Leopard disc too.

    So now I have a macbook with a formatted HD on it and can't get anything to install on it. Right now I have the macbook connected to the time capsule directly and trying a restore from my iMac backup. Its working so far but I suspect it will crash or not work in the end based on what you said.

    All this started from my MBP crashing and not being able to do any backups on time machine.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 17, 2016 ---
    Came back to check on computer and it was off so that failed. Now I have MacBook with formatted HD and can't install anything. Is it possible the HD is the issue since it was giving errors when I tried to repair it? Even though it is not giving errors after formatting it?
    --- Post Merged, Aug 17, 2016 ---
    Swapped in a different HD. Same error:. "Mac OS could not be installed on this computer. Installer could not copy the necessary support files".
  4. MSC71 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2008
    I remembered I had my original hard drive from when it started acting up. I loaded that into the computer and went into recovery that way and trying now to reinstall OSX to an external drive. Hopefully that works and I can then put the external drive in the Mac and start from there.

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