How to copy files from time machine,

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by timemachinesucks, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. timemachinesucks macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2016
    Hi there,

    So I used time machine (never again after I solve this) and I want to move all of my music from my time machine back ups in to a seperate folder called music. I want to do this as it looks disgusting, untidy and incredibly inconvenient when to locate my digital copies of music, I must go to Itunes and click show in finder.

    I tried to copy (click and drag) my files to a new folder I made called 'music' on the SAME external hard disk. When I try to do this, it says 'you cannot modify or change back up files'; or words to that effect.

    There must be a way I can change this so I can simply just click and drag all my old back up files to a new folder so I can consolidate them neatly.

    Surely...when developing a machine such as a MacBook Pro, with all the engineers and tech heads conceiving of such complex technology, they thought it might be a good idea to have simple, rudimentary control of ones OWN files.

    Please help. Thank you for your time.

    Macbook Pro,
    Latest OSX
    Sharing permissions enabled/full write enabled
    --- Post Merged, Dec 15, 2016 ---
    dw, just figured out you can 'Copy'. silly me.

    time machine still sucks.
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Do you have time machine enabled while your trying to do this?? If so try turning it off.
  3. StevePaselli macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2016
    --- Post Merged, Dec 15, 2016 ---
    I suppose you know of iTunes, and the fact that every time you import something into your iTunes library it is effectively duplicated into it, so that if you trash your original files you still can find them into the iTunes library.

    I don't understand why you want copy music files off your TM backup disk: if it's a backup, than means the original files are on your main HD. There's no need to touch the backup disk; need a copy of a music file? Open iTunes, then drag the file on the desktop; when you're done with it (like, emailed it to mom) you can even throw that away since it will still be in your iTunes library AND on the TM disk.


    If you REALLY need to copy all of your iTunes music library off your TM disk and onto your main HD, just open an application called Time Machine, optionally go "back in time" to the moment you prefer, and restore from there. Whatever it is that you are restoring, you'll have a new copy of your data from, say, X days ago.

    I have an advice: do not mess with a TM disk. Connect a new HFS+Journaled disk, answer "Yes" to the question "Do you want to use it as a TM disk?", then Let it do his dirty job, forget about it, and access that HD only thru TM (the application).
    TM sucks only for technical/philosophical reasons ("'s just a bunch of hardlinks...") but IT WORKS REALLY WELL until the user can FORGET of that TM backup disk. All data loss events I saw that was apparently related to TM were in effect caused by goofy user modifications to the TM structure ("backupsdb"... DO NOT TOUCH THAT!).

    I hope some of this advice is helpful to you; if not, well, I tried.
    Excuse my strange english, I'm from Italy.
    Lately, Apple has become "strange": it's easy (if you know how you are supposed to do it).

  4. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    While I agree that modifying Time Machine backup is a bad idea I strongly disagree with this:

    More like "it works until it doesn't", usually in a dialog which says backup cannot be repaired and you have to start over. Or you find out that Time Machine didn't backup some of the files it was supposed to backup.

    Maximum amount of Time Machine works is in my experience 3 years, furthermore the lack of user feedback means it will usually inform you of the problem far too late (in other words AFTER it has deleted/ not backed up the important files).

    I'm not saying OP can't use Time Machine, its just that I can't recommend relaying on it and only using it as an adjunct to some other backup software...
  5. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2015
    on the land line mr. smith.
    TM is not designed to be used as way to copy files. While it is possible to dig files out of TM manually, you are swimming up stream. Use the TM application to restore the the location of your choice.

    Like many backup tools, TM is essentially a database (albeit a simple one) that keeps track of versions of files, and restores the latest/newest by default, yet give you a way to dig back through older versions by date. All of this is handled via the TM application.

    TM has limitations and quirks to be sure. But before you kick it to the curb, be aware that most enterprise backup tools behave in a similar way: you use the application to navigate a large database of files, you don't (can't) go through them manually and select what you want.

    For a tool that does copy native files in way that you can search, view, move and open manually, you would want to look at file syncing and cloning options. CCC, SuperDuper, and Get Backup come to mind, but there are many more.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 15, 2016 ---
    As for moving files manually, as I recall, you can grab copy them from the TM source volume (read only) and copy them to a different volume.

Share This Page