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VitoBotta

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I want to keep two separate backups locally (for remote backup I use Backblaze and I also have most data stored in Nextcloud), one with TimeMachine to a NAS and one with Carbon Copy Cloner to a USB drive (I just purchased version 7). My understanding is that a backup taken with Carbon Copy Cloner can also be used as the source with Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant. The piece of information I couldn't find is whether I can restore from a previous backup, or whether it works only with the very latest backup. So the question is, can I select which backup to restore from, and if yes, how? Thanks
 

eldho

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Aug 16, 2011
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You can certainly restore from a previous backup but of course you would be losing any more recent work unless you add that separately.

All in all, your previous backup would be your latest if you hadn't done a more recent one so it would surely be okay.
 
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VitoBotta

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You can certainly restore from a previous backup but of course you would be losing any more recent work unless you add that separately.

All in all, your previous backup would be your latest if you hadn't done a more recent one so it would surely be okay.
But how do I select the previous backup when using Setup or Migration Assistant? I tried with Migration Assistant and couldn't figure this out. It only showed the CCC backup as available as source but I couldn't select an older backup.
 

eldho

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Aug 16, 2011
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If you have snapshots on your CCC backup then you can chose a snapshot to revert to that state - and thus going back to how your system was at the time of that snapshot. Each snapshot holds the information necessary to revert back to how things were then. I do not know if you can select a snapshot directly with Migration Assistant. This might be an option once you have selected CCC as your source. If not you could ask Bombich directly if this is possible - they are good at answering questions.
 

VitoBotta

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If you have snapshots on your CCC backup then you can chose a snapshot to revert to that state - and thus going back to how your system was at the time of that snapshot. Each snapshot holds the information necessary to revert back to how things were then. I do not know if you can select a snapshot directly with Migration Assistant. This might be an option once you have selected CCC as your source. If not you could ask Bombich directly if this is possible - they are good at answering questions.
I sent them an email and will update the thread with their answer for future reference. Thanks!
 

Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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I don't use "snapshots" with CCC. I want nothing to do with them.

I want my backup to represent the state of my drive or volume at the moment it was backed up.
Nothing more. Nothing less.

Works for me.
I realize others may have different needs.
 

VitoBotta

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I don't use "snapshots" with CCC. I want nothing to do with them.

I want my backup to represent the state of my drive or volume at the moment it was backed up.
Nothing more. Nothing less.

Works for me.
I realize others may have different needs.

So you only keep the very latest version of your files? What if you need to restore an old version for some reason?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
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"So you only keep the very latest version of your files? What if you need to restore an old version for some reason?"

I don't need to do that.
 

eldho

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2011
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"So you only keep the very latest version of your files? What if you need to restore an old version for some reason?"

I don't need to do that.
That is not the point of this thread which is what the OP wants to be able to do - for obvious reasons if something has gone wrong. It so happens that I do not keep snapshots either because I use time machine for that purpose but I support the OP in wanting to be able to do what he wants.
 

Brian33

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Apr 30, 2008
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The piece of information I couldn't find is whether I can restore from a previous backup, or whether it works only with the very latest backup.

But how do I select the previous backup when using Setup or Migration Assistant?

[You should probably be using the words "backup snapshot" when referring to a previous backup.]

I use CCC6 with snapshots on my backup volume, so I would really be interested in any answer you get regarding using Migration Assistant and/or Setup Assistant with an older backup snapshot.

I *think* it would work like this: Reinstall macOS. Login and use Disk Utility to mount the desired backup snapshot (I think DU can do this? I'm not on the proper Mac at the moment to test). Then run Migration Assistant and tell it to use the newly mounted volume as its source. If DU can't mount the backup snapshots, I do know that CCC can (but then you'd have to install CCC before you could do the migration).

Pretty sure that would work but I haven't tried it (yet).

Might even work with Setup Assistant: within Recovery, mount the desired snapshot (with DU or Terminal), then reinstall macOS and (hopefully) when SA prompts for a backup volume it will still be mounted and available as a source.
 

VitoBotta

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Dec 2, 2020
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[You should probably be using the words "backup snapshot" when referring to a previous backup.]

I use CCC6 with snapshots on my backup volume, so I would really be interested in any answer you get regarding using Migration Assistant and/or Setup Assistant with an older backup snapshot.

I *think* it would work like this: Reinstall macOS. Login and use Disk Utility to mount the desired backup snapshot (I think DU can do this? I'm not on the proper Mac at the moment to test). Then run Migration Assistant and tell it to use the newly mounted volume as its source. If DU can't mount the backup snapshots, I do know that CCC can (but then you'd have to install CCC before you could do the migration).

Pretty sure that would work but I haven't tried it (yet).

Might even work with Setup Assistant: within Recovery, mount the desired snapshot (with DU or Terminal), then reinstall macOS and (hopefully) when SA prompts for a backup volume it will still be mounted and available as a source.
Sounds like the procedure you describe might work actually.

In the meantime I received a response from the CCC support that clearly shows that person didn't read my question properly, as they referred me to a page that shows how to restore individual files from a previous snapshot using CCC directly....

I hate when you contact support for some service or app and they don't spend more than a few seconds trying to understand what the actual question is about.
 
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Brian33

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Sounds like the procedure you describe might work actually.
Unfortunately, it seems I was wrong.

I think your question is a very important one. It bothers me that I don't know to restore a recent macOS system to its working state as of a week ago (for example). So I tried my proposal (the procedure can be quit before any actual data is transferred). Note I am still running Monterey (12.7.5).
--------------------------------
Mounting the CCC snapshot is easy in Disk Utility -- no problem there (use View-->Show APFS Snapshots, select the desired snapshot, right-click and select Mount). The snapshot gets a volume name like "your-volname@snap-104098" and you can see it in '/Volumes'.

I started Migration Assistant. It warns that all apps will quit, asks for your (admin) password, asks "How do you want to transfer your information?", and I selected "From a Mac, TM backup, or Startup disk."

The next screen shows appropriate disks: my CCC backup volume was there, but the previously-mounted snapshot was not in the list. Boo. :-(

There is a clickable link, "Other Server", in which you can put a URL like 'afp://some-server', but that doesn't help any. I selected my CCC backup volume, and it dutifully sizes the Apps and user accounts that I can transfer, but of course that would restore only the most-recent CCC backup, not an older one like we're trying to do.

I clicked the "Back" button, and was left at the login screen. From this (and the missing snapshot, and logic), I conclude that MA logged out of my account, and at that time (probably) the snapshot was ejected.
---------------------------------
As far as I know, using Migration Assistant with a Time Machine backup volume also does not let you pick a date/time in the past, instead it just transfers from the most-recent backup. (Someone please tell me I'm wrong?) IMHO this is a major flaw in both TM and CCC backup schemes using MA to restore (if I'm correct). Sure, either system will allow you to restore individual files and folders from older backups, but what if you don't know what files should be restored to make your system operational like it was, for example, a week ago? EDIT: I guess using CCC to restore (and not MA) is the answer?

So far, I have not figured out a way to use MA with a backup volume snapshot. I suspect there is some way. Maybe there is a way to revert the backup volume to match a specific snapshot (but even if there is, you'd presumably lose some snapshots). Another possibility might be to mount the snapshot on a remote Mac, share it, and access it via the "Other server" button over SMB. But that's pretty inconvenient. Or copying the entire desired snapshot to another suitable drive (ugh).
 

VitoBotta

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 2, 2020
833
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Espoo, Finland
Unfortunately, it seems I was wrong.

I think your question is a very important one. It bothers me that I don't know to restore a recent macOS system to its working state as of a week ago (for example). So I tried my proposal (the procedure can be quit before any actual data is transferred). Note I am still running Monterey (12.7.5).
--------------------------------
Mounting the CCC snapshot is easy in Disk Utility -- no problem there (use View-->Show APFS Snapshots, select the desired snapshot, right-click and select Mount). The snapshot gets a volume name like "your-volname@snap-104098" and you can see it in '/Volumes'.

I started Migration Assistant. It warns that all apps will quit, asks for your (admin) password, asks "How do you want to transfer your information?", and I selected "From a Mac, TM backup, or Startup disk."

The next screen shows appropriate disks: my CCC backup volume was there, but the previously-mounted snapshot was not in the list. Boo. :-(

There is a clickable link, "Other Server", in which you can put a URL like 'afp://some-server', but that doesn't help any. I selected my CCC backup volume, and it dutifully sizes the Apps and user accounts that I can transfer, but of course that would restore only the most-recent CCC backup, not an older one like we're trying to do.

I clicked the "Back" button, and was left at the login screen. From this (and the missing snapshot, and logic), I conclude that MA logged out of my account, and at that time (probably) the snapshot was ejected.
---------------------------------
As far as I know, using Migration Assistant with a Time Machine backup volume also does not let you pick a date/time in the past, instead it just transfers from the most-recent backup. (Someone please tell me I'm wrong?) IMHO this is a major flaw in both TM and CCC backup schemes using MA to restore (if I'm correct). Sure, either system will allow you to restore individual files and folders from older backups, but what if you don't know what files should be restored to make your system operational like it was, for example, a week ago? EDIT: I guess using CCC to restore (and not MA) is the answer?

So far, I have not figured out a way to use MA with a backup volume snapshot. I suspect there is some way. Maybe there is a way to revert the backup volume to match a specific snapshot (but even if there is, you'd presumably lose some snapshots). Another possibility might be to mount the snapshot on a remote Mac, share it, and access it via the "Other server" button over SMB. But that's pretty inconvenient. Or copying the entire desired snapshot to another suitable drive (ugh).


In the meantime I had another reply from Rob from CCC support and he pointed me to this page https://support.bombich.com/hc/en-u...restore-from-your-backup#restore_then_install

I haven't tried it yet but seems like you first need to restore the previous backup to a volume, and then reinstall macOS on that volume. It's a bit cumbersome and it basically means that you need to partition the drive if you are restoring to an internal drive so it's a bit annoying. I don't have another mac to try this now unfortunately.

It's unfortunate because the reason I bought CCC was to be able to do restore a previous backup, so that in the future I could revert to a previous version of macOS if I am not happy with an upgrade, which is impossible with TimeMachine.
 
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eldho

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2011
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It's unfortunate because the reason I bought CCC was to be able to do restore a previous backup, so that in the future I could revert to a previous version of macOS if I am not happy with an upgrade, which is impossible with TimeMachine.
I am surprised at this as I had thought that you could restore to a previous snap shot in that or any other situation, using CCC to do so. The approach I use is to have a couple of spare SSDs which I save my backups to, and if something goes wrong I can restore my system to what has been saved to one of those SSDs.
 

gilby101

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Mar 17, 2010
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But how do I select the previous backup when using Setup or Migration Assistant? I tried with Migration Assistant and couldn't figure this out. It only showed the CCC backup as available as source but I couldn't select an older backup.
My understanding is that a backup taken with Carbon Copy Cloner can also be used as the source with Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant. The piece of information I couldn't find is whether I can restore from a previous backup, or whether it works only with the very latest backup.
I am pretty sure that you can select any backup snapshot when restoring a system and using Migration Assistant when reinstalling the same version of macOS. With both TM and CCC. Of course, it does require that you have configured your CCC backup to create the required snapshots. TM does it automatically. Personally I prefer to rely on TM for my system volume and use CCC tasks for other volumes and disks. Must admit, I have not tested a full restore for a few years.

Ask here https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/carbon-copy-cloner-6-7-users-thread.2302964/ to get a definitive answer.
 

VitoBotta

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I am pretty sure that you can select any backup snapshot when restoring a system and using Migration Assistant when reinstalling the same version of macOS. With both TM and CCC. Of course, it does require that you have configured your CCC backup to create the required snapshots. TM does it automatically. Personally I prefer to rely on TM for my system volume and use CCC tasks for other volumes and disks. Must admit, I have not tested a full restore for a few years.

Ask here https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/carbon-copy-cloner-6-7-users-thread.2302964/ to get a definitive answer.

What are the exact steps you are suggesting?
 

Brian33

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Apr 30, 2008
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I am pretty sure that you can select any backup snapshot when restoring a system and using Migration Assistant when reinstalling the same version of macOS. With both TM and CCC.
I've tried that (see my post #12) and MA will not allow me to choose a snapshot from the CCC backup volume. It only allows me to choose the "current state" of that volume (i.e., the most recent backup made to that volume).

Very unfortunate. I think using MA (or SA) for this task is not going to work.

I don't think MA will allow you to pick an older snapshot on a TM backup volume, either. If anyone has done this in a recent macOS (Big Sur or later), I'd love to hear about it.
 
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Brian33

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In the meantime I had another reply from Rob from CCC support and he pointed me to this page https://support.bombich.com/hc/en-u...restore-from-your-backup#restore_then_install

I haven't tried it yet but seems like you first need to restore the previous backup to a volume, and then reinstall macOS on that volume. It's a bit cumbersome and it basically means that you need to partition the drive if you are restoring to an internal drive so it's a bit annoying. I don't have another mac to try this now unfortunately.

This seems to be the answer I was looking for. The link describes how one can use a CCC restore task (not MA) to restore your system to the state of an older backup snapshot. It looks like it would work, though it is a bit cumbersome. It involves creating a new volume within your current boot container, running CCC to restore the CCC snapshot (without system files) to the new volume, then installing macOS onto that new volume, and finally deleting your original boot volume.

Note that you don't have to partition anything (in the sense of a GPT partition). APFS allows you to easily create the new volume within the existing APFS container.

Having enough space on the target device might very well be an issue, though. I'm still disappointed that this seems to be the best way to achieve my goal (restore the entire system to the state it was in during an older backup snapshot.

Working around Migration Assistant restrictions​


There are a handful of cases where Migration Assistant will not accept a volume as a source for migrating content. For example, if you have a volume that is formatted as case-sensitive, Migration Assistant will not allow you to migrate content from that volume to a case-insensitive-formatted startup disk. Likewise, if any user account resources are missing from the volume (e.g. because they were excluded from the backup, or because they are damaged), Migration Assistant will not accept it as a source. CCC can help with these cases.
  1. If you're currently proceeding through the first-boot Setup Assistant, decline the migration offer and instead proceed to create a new user account.
  2. Open Disk Utility
  3. Choose "Show all devices" from the View menu
  4. Select the startup disk (any volume associated with the startup disk, or its parent container)
  5. Click the "+" button in the toolbar to add a new volume. Name it "Macintosh", or something like that (something that you can live with long-term).
  6. Open CCC and configure a new task to restore your backup to the "Macintosh" volume (You may also restore an older version of your backup)
  7. When the task has completed, install macOS onto the "Macintosh" volume
  8. When the macOS installation is complete, go back to Disk Utility and delete the "Macintosh HD" volume group to free up the space that it's using.
 

VitoBotta

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Dec 2, 2020
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This seems to be the answer I was looking for. The link describes how one can use a CCC restore task (not MA) to restore your system to the state of an older backup snapshot. It looks like it would work, though it is a bit cumbersome. It involves creating a new volume within your current boot container, running CCC to restore the CCC snapshot (without system files) to the new volume, then installing macOS onto that new volume, and finally deleting your original boot volume.

Note that you don't have to partition anything (in the sense of a GPT partition). APFS allows you to easily create the new volume within the existing APFS container.

Having enough space on the target device might very well be an issue, though. I'm still disappointed that this seems to be the best way to achieve my goal (restore the entire system to the state it was in during an older backup snapshot.

I had no idea that you can create new volumes in APFS without partitioning the disk! This is pretty awesome actually. But yeah the free disk space may be a problem if your data fills up most of the disk and you want to restore a previous backup to the same disk in another volume. I guess in that case we could use the "Erase all contents and settings" feature in macOS to reset the main volume so it frees most of the disk space, then restore the snapshot to another volume, then reinstall macOS on that volume as that page describes. But once reinstalled macOS on the other volume, does it become bootable automatically from that volume? So I can just delete the old/temporary one soon after?
 

Brian33

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I guess in that case we could use the "Erase all contents and settings" feature in macOS to reset the main volume so it frees most of the disk space, then restore the snapshot to another volume, then reinstall macOS on that volume as that page describes.
Yes, I think that would work, but you'd have to install CCC (and probably your CCC license) onto the "reset" main volume, in order to restore the snapshot to the other (new) volume.

But once reinstalled macOS on the other volume, does it become bootable automatically from that volume? So I can just delete the old/temporary one soon after?
Yes, I believe the new volume would be bootable. I'm still on Intel/Monterey, so I'd either hold Alt while booting to choose which system to boot, or (probably better), boot either system and go to "System Preferences-->Startup Disk" and ensure the new volume was selected as the default boot volume. (Ventura and later have changed to System Settings so things are in a different location.)

Then test that. Only after verifying that the new volume is bootable, delete the old (original) boot volume.

*CCC's instructions say to delete the original volume group, which would include a System volume and some other hidden volumes. I assume, and I think I'm correct, that installing macOS to the new volume actually creates a volume group with all necessary hidden volumes.
 

VitoBotta

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Yes, I think that would work, but you'd have to install CCC (and probably your CCC license) onto the "reset" main volume, in order to restore the snapshot to the other (new) volume.


Yes, I believe the new volume would be bootable. I'm still on Intel/Monterey, so I'd either hold Alt while booting to choose which system to boot, or (probably better), boot either system and go to "System Preferences-->Startup Disk" and ensure the new volume was selected as the default boot volume. (Ventura and later have changed to System Settings so things are in a different location.)

Then test that. Only after verifying that the new volume is bootable, delete the old (original) boot volume.

*CCC's instructions say to delete the original volume group, which would include a System volume and some other hidden volumes. I assume, and I think I'm correct, that installing macOS to the new volume actually creates a volume group with all necessary hidden volumes.
Do you have a chance to test this procedure if you have more than one mac? I only have my work mac so I can't really risk unfortunately otherwise I would give it a go.
 

Brian33

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Heh heh -- I'm considering testing the procedure. I have two Macs in the house running Monterey, both 2015 models (and a headless mini running Mojave). Although, by my understanding, it seems pretty safe, I'm a little worried about messing up any of them, ha ha!

It looks like I even have enough spare internal storage to avoid having to reset or delete anything. Alternatively, I've thought that the procedure should work using an external drive (restoring the "old" snapshot and installing macOS onto the external). It should be a good demonstration that the procedure works, with less risk of messing up my internal storage.

So, like I said, I'm thinking about it. I'm usually not one to rush in and make big changes without mulling it over for awhile... :)
 

VitoBotta

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Heh heh -- I'm considering testing the procedure. I have two Macs in the house running Monterey, both 2015 models (and a headless mini running Mojave). Although, by my understanding, it seems pretty safe, I'm a little worried about messing up any of them, ha ha!

It looks like I even have enough spare internal storage to avoid having to reset or delete anything. Alternatively, I've thought that the procedure should work using an external drive (restoring the "old" snapshot and installing macOS onto the external). It should be a good demonstration that the procedure works, with less risk of messing up my internal storage.

So, like I said, I'm thinking about it. I'm usually not one to rush in and make big changes without mulling it over for awhile... :)

If you can that would be awesome, if you can't I understand of course :)
 

Ben J.

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Aug 29, 2019
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I might have missed someting earlier in the thread, but here's my take on it. I'm using CCC6.

I've never seen anything to indicate that Migration Assistant can restore from a snapshot. MA needs a " - Data" volume with user accounts on it.

Snapshots are snapshots. Whether they're created by CCC, Timemachine, or a Terminal command. They're part of APFS. And they will all show up in Disk Utilities. That means you can select a snapshot in DU and choose to restore it to an already existing " - Data" volume. You'll get all the user accounts, of course, but you can delete unwanted users later. (You'll have to use DU from restore partition, or another boot disk, of course.)

My prime CCC backup drive is bootable, so I would boot from there and use CCC to restore from snapshot to the desired " - Data" volume. (A very nice thing with doing it this way is that CCC will just restore the files that are changed or deleted since the snapshots, so, often it takes justseconds.)

Another useful thing I think many are not aware of is that you can browse the contents of a snapshot in CCC just by double-clicking it. This way you can restore single files or more just by dragging them to the desktop or wherever. Also works in DU.
 
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