I've owned Macs for years now, still have a basic question about Time Machine

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by johnnnw, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. johnnnw macrumors 65816

    johnnnw

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    #1
    When you do a Time Machine backup, does it backup EVERYTHING?

    Can you get very specific what it doesn't backup?

    Say I was to buy a new Macbook and restore my current Time Machine backup, what wouldn't be on the new computer in the end?
     
  2. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #2
  3. johnnnw thread starter macrumors 65816

    johnnnw

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    #3
    Hey, thanks for the response. I actually use CCC currently :) I'm having crashing problems lately with a lot of programs so I'm thinking about starting fresh. I've cloned it back a couple times and fear maybe something got a litle messed up.

    I'm considering reinstalling Mavericks fresh, making a clone restore not possible for this situation.

    So a TM restore would allow me to install fresh but still provide an easy way of getting everything back. A little different than cloning.

    I was wondering what Time Machine doesn't back up so I know what to expect to need to transfer manually if I do a clean install.
     
  4. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #4
    Time Macine is like a snap shot of the User files, plugins, and Preferences of the Users along with Appilcations. Remember the first startup it asked if you want to restore from a Time Machine backup.

    A clone is like an exact backup that you can backup too. The only thing the clone won't have is System Cache. That is why the first time you boot from a clone it takes longer the first time.

    However it would be a slow boot up for a Time Machine backup, System Cache. The advantage of a clone is you can boot start from an internal hard drive crash.
     
  5. furcalchick macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    South Florida
    #5
    Time Machine restores and extra space

    I had to do a fresh install of 10.6 last night on my hard drive, then restoring on a Time Machine backup, however, I noticed that I have 15 GB extra space compared to right before the crash (I lost barely any data between crash and last TM backup). Last time I did a fresh install was about 2 years ago I think, if that helps. Is gaining that much extra space normal, or did the TM backup lose some data somewhere? Thanks for the help.
     
  6. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #6
    There are a lot of temporary files and caches that don't get backed up. If on a MBP then there may be local snapshots that are also not backed up.
     
  7. OcelotWreak macrumors member

    OcelotWreak

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    #7
    Recent recovery using Time Machine & Time Capsule

    I recently had my MacBook Pro's hard drive die on me. I have Time Machine doing hourly backups to my Time Capsule.

    I had the repair shop load a shiny new copy of Mavericks for me on the new drive. Booted it up the first time in Repair mode and requested the full restore option from my Time Capsule. (Don't forget the password needed to access your Time Machine backups!)

    The restore took ages but I rebooted with what I believed was a fully back to normal system (all User files, all Apps, etc.), albeit a new install of Mavericks.

    There were a few things to fix afterwards. Some App serial numbers had to be reentered to reenable a few Apps. I also had to resetup Spaces and a few customization features I had in Mavericks.

    There were two odd problems I had (and why I said I believed I was fully back to a normal system). These were:

    a) several sub-directories of my 25Gig Pictures directory were totally missing. I went back into Time Machine and found these subdirectories (they were being backed up) and restored them manually, but that was odd that they were not recovered by TM. No other User subdirectories were missing; and

    b) in the Mail app, some of my Mail folders where I file older messages were there but were empty. After splunking through the MyUserName/Library/Mail subdirectories, I found older copies of the folders I was looking for (in "Mail Lost+Found" that had megabytes of data) and used the Mail Import function in Mail to pull them all back into Mail and then manually move them from the Mail Import folder over to the folders where the messages belonged. Some mail messages were not found and totally disappeared. However, they were multi-years old and probably not of much real use anymore.

    So, the worst-case-full-restore-from-Time-Machine-backup scenario does indeed work, but I would caution you to check your entire User file system afterwards to make sure that everything actually came back. If not, try going a few days further back in your Time Machine backups. Find an older copy of the directory you are looking for and manually restore it. You might get lucky like I did. Mail? Meh - Mail is a 'troubled child' anyway - what did I expect? ;)
     
  8. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #8
    Look for a new folder sometimes named "Previous Files" or something along that line. Time Machine sometimes makes that folder to keep incompatible files that you can look through and then delete what you don't want.
     
  9. mike08b macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2014
    #9
    A Time Machine backup should back up everything. The first backup (and periodic future backups) will be full backups of your system. Most backups will be incremental, only backing up changes. However, you can use any of those backups to restore your entire computer...Time Machine will intelligently link those incremental backups to create the most recent copy it has of everything on your system.

    From my experiences, I have never had to re-enter serial numbers, nor have I had any customizations that did not carry over. The only time you might have to enter a serial number should be if the software ties itself to your device's serial number and you end up restoring to a different machine.
     
  10. furcalchick macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    South Florida
    #10
    Thanks for the help guys. Really loving the fresh clean system I have here, and glad it's not due to a loss of data, as everything is in it's place.
     

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