Migration Assistant - recovering data from a sparse bundle

Discussion in 'macOS' started by MacbookPhil, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. MacbookPhil, Nov 20, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012

    MacbookPhil macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
    My 2011 13" Macbook Pro (running Snow Leopard) has been accidentally damaged to the point where it won't boot up. I'll get it repaired but needed a replacement that day so I went to the nearest Apple Store and bought a new machine running Mountain Lion.

    I ran Migration Assistant and it's done a good job of moving apps and accounts but no data in iCal, Mail, iTunes, etc.

    I took the hard drive out of the old machine and copied the sparse bundle onto the new machine. The thing is the old machine was encrypted with Snow Leopard's Filevault. I can mount the sparse bundle drive on my new Macbook by typing the password.

    This gives me access to my old files but when I rerun Migration Assistant it cannot see the sparse bundle drive so won't give me the option of restoring from it, even though the drive is mounted. Is that because it's encrypted?

    Just to clarify, the sparse bundle is from the old machine encrypted by filevault. It is NOT a Time Machine backup. I do have a Time Machine backup but I'm on vacation so won't have access to it for 2 weeks.

    I've Googled for several hours but cannot find the answer. Does anyone know the answer of how I can get Migration Assistant to see the sparse bundle once I've typed in the password and mounted the drive?
  2. MacbookPhil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
    Wow my first post and it stumped the collective knowledge of MacRumours. It seems moving from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion isn't that easy.

    After a week of usage I think Snow Leopard is a better operating system too. Mountain Lion's snooze feature in Calendar, for example, is a jaw-dropping gaffe. It seems it's not possible to move back to Snow Leopard which is a shame.
  3. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Migration Assistant is not designed to work with a FileVault sparse bundle, so it's not going to work and there's likely nothing you can do to get it to work. What you can do is simply move the contents of the sparse bundle into a folder in /Users with the account name you want, then create a user in System Preferences that has that same exact username (should have no spaces or capitalization for the short name or Account Name, though the Full Name of course can be anything). System Preferences will toss up an alert that a folder with that name already exists and ask if you want to use it, and if you say yes, it will go ahead and set up all the permissions with that user properly.

  4. rhoydotp macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2006
    LOL ... well, you said it yourself, you googled but didn't find the answer. maybe nobody have ever thought about what your are doing. just a thought ;)

    i also just started using Mountain Lion and I have a Snow Leopard running on my older machine. My initial thought is the same as yours, Snow Leopard is just way better. However, it wasn't like that for SL right away so I'm assuming (hoping) ML will get into a point where it's as good or even better than SL. Although I must say, with the way things are being done on ML, I kinda put my hopes down for now
  5. MacbookPhil, Nov 30, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012

    MacbookPhil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
    Mal - thanks I'm going to give that a try.

    Rhoydotp - I can't be the only person to have tried this. Apple are pretty lousy in this area. They give you the functionality to encrypt your user then miss out that user in time machine backups or restorations from sparsebundles. In both cases there is no notification of this so someone who didn't know better might have been using Time Machine for years thinking their files were backed up only to find them missing when they needed to restore.

    That isn't the case for me but there's probably lots of people out there in that boat.

    Anyway I've manually restored most of my stuff but I'll try Mal's suggestion for the rest.

    Apple should shape up in this area and stop wasting their time trying to make OSX look like a giant iPhone.

    As for the Calendar problem, how that could have got past testing is unbelievable. I'm probably going to end up buying a third party Calendar app.
  6. MacbookPhil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
    I've just installed Mozilla Lightning in order to get a working snooze function. It sure doesn't look as good as Apple's Calendar but at least it works. I'll stick with Mozilla.

    How does Thunderbird compare with Apple Mail? I might try that too as I'm not impressed with Mountain Lion and the IOS direction in general.

    6 years ago I was still on Windows and bit by bit I moved away from Microsoft by switching from their apps to third party ones. It's funny that now I'm beginning to do that with Apple. I never thought I would.

    OSX is great but Apple need to get back on the case with their quality control.

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