How exactly can Time Machine help me?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mikebike125, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. Mikebike125 macrumors 6502


    Mar 25, 2007
    My situation is this. I have a 2008 (or 09) MBP that may be starting to fail on me. I have a TM back up of everything but I am not sure how the TM backup works. My wife is a teacher and she has all her files for school on it so it is a critical machine to us.

    We also have a fairly new iMac and I am wondering if we can access files off the MPB backup on the iMac. Is there any way to access the files off the backup other than completely restoring the backup onto a new machine? Also if we buy a new MBP and restore the old backup onto it, will it overwrite the new laptops OS put the older MPB's OS in place of the new one or will it just put non OS files onto the new MBP?

    I am just very confused on how it all works. I would like to be able to access the files until we are able to afford a new MB. Can someone explain this all to me?

  2. killawat macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2014
    Here are some instructions for opening TM on a different Mac:

    1. Browse to the network drive in Finder
    2. Double-click on the sparse bundle file for the computer you want to access.
    3. Click on the "Time Machine Backups" disk image in Finder (added to the left-hand pane by step 2 above).
    4. Open the backups.backupsdb folder inside this disk image.
    5. Continue as per previous comments.

    But instead of this, I recommend getting something like Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) or SuperDuper to clone your drive to a separate external disk. Not only do you have a bootable copy, but you don't have to mess around with TM at all and can access the files as you expect on the new/different Mac.
  3. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Yes. Plug in the Time Machine backup. It'll literally show up like an external hard-drive. Couldn't be simpler. You don't need to write the backup to a new machine.

    You may have issues writing to certain folders on the backup drive, but you'll definitely be able to see all of the data.

    Restoring a Time Machine backup will restore everything, including the OS. Restoring an older OS to a new computer is thoroughly, thoroughly unrecommended.

    A workaround would be to use Migration Assistant when you've set up your new computer, to copy data/applications back from the Time Machine backup. Otherwise you can just drag-and-drop the data you want.
  4. Mikebike125 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 25, 2007
    Thanks. First I've got to say you guys on this site are the most helpful out of any site I have ever been to. I will try this and see if I can see the folders. Right now we have the TM backup done wirelessly because we are using a Time Capsule.

    When you say to "plug in the Time Machine Backup" does that mean I need to plug in an actual cable or can I do this wirelessly?

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3 March 24, 2017