Move Time Machine Backup to new drive

lssmit02

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 25, 2004
395
34
Is it possible to move your existing full Time Machine backup to a new drive, so you don't have to create a new full backup? Specifically, I'd like to move a sparsebundle network backup from one drive to another.

Thanks
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,107
75
Solon, OH
I'm curious about this too, since I would like to transition to a different drive for Time Machine backups but wonder if it's possible to switch without losing your old Time Machine backups.
 
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micsaund

macrumors 6502
May 31, 2004
364
0
Colorado, USA
I'm curious about this too, since I would like to transition to a different drive for Time Machine backups but wonder if it's possible to switch without losing your old Time Machine backups.
It's just a wad of directories on the disk. Have you tried copying the Backups.backupdb to the new drive and changing TM to use that drive? It might be that simple (I don't know for sure - just guessing).
 
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lssmit02

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 25, 2004
395
34
It's just a wad of directories on the disk. Have you tried copying the Backups.backupdb to the new drive and changing TM to use that drive? It might be that simple (I don't know for sure - just guessing).
I know this sounds like the logical thing to try, but I'm worried about having to recreate the entire backup if it doesn't work, because the first one took so long to do.
 
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cowinabox302

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2006
38
0
I am curious about this too...has anyone tried this? I am getting a new drive today and have to switch so i'll let you know what happens
 
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lssmit02

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 25, 2004
395
34
I am curious about this too...has anyone tried this? I am getting a new drive today and have to switch so i'll let you know what happens
Thanks, looking forward to hearing how it works. If you have trouble, one thing you might try is to browse the copied backup using TM after you select the disk in system prefs. If you right-click on the TM icon in the dock, you'll see an option that says "Browse Other Time Machine disks..." (I don't know why it needs an ellipsis?). I have a feeling that this might alert TM to the fact that a backup is located on the drive. Just an idea.
 
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cowinabox302

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2006
38
0
just a thought...Should there be any editing of a preference file? Just change the location in the system preferences in addition to just moving it so the computer won't even know it changed?
 
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RumMunkey

macrumors 6502a
Nov 3, 2006
693
2
Canada
I''d say the logical thing to me would be to just simply open TM and change the drive (all available drives will show up in a list).

I assume if you do this your Mac would move the existing backup to the new location for you.

I'd try that before anything else.
 
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lssmit02

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 25, 2004
395
34
I''d say the logical thing to me would be to just simply open TM and change the drive (all available drives will show up in a list).

I assume if you do this your Mac would move the existing backup to the new location for you.

I'd try that before anything else.
Agreed. If TM doesn't automatically recognize the drive as having a TM backup on it, try my suggestion above.
 
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cowinabox302

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2006
38
0
but does the "browse other time machine" button actually change anything or just allow you to view a second backup?
 
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netnothing

macrumors 68040
Mar 13, 2007
3,674
304
NH
I read somewhere where a guy did a Carbon Copy Clone of this TM drive to a larger version and it worked fine.

Can't remember where I read that, but I'd say try at your own risk.

-Kevin
 
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cowinabox302

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2006
38
0
but that's what it says, "browse other time machine" not change it, that would be great, but there isn't one of those buttons
 
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lssmit02

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 25, 2004
395
34
The reason for my suggestion to browse the backup on the copied drive is that when one of my machines seemed to want to start from scratch with a new backup, I browsed the backup and TM "found" the backup again.

At the time I was backing up an iMac computer to a drive connected to my Mac Pro. I believe I had disconnected the drive physically from the Mac Pro, and then reconnected it. TM on the iMac lost the connection, and when I reconnected to the drive to the iMac over the network, TM on the iMac didn't see it as the backup drive anymore. That is, there was no reference to oldest, last or next backups at all, and it looked like it was going to create a new backup. Worried that I was going to have to recreate the full backup (a very slow process), I tried browsing the backup using TM. When I went back to the TM systems preferences panel on the iMac, the oldest, last and next backups had been restored, and it did the next backup as expected.
 
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crazzyeddie

macrumors 68030
Dec 7, 2002
2,790
0
Florida, USA
Any new info on this? I'm sure this will become a more common question once people figure out their backup drives are filling up more quickly than they thought.
 
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cowinabox302

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2006
38
0
I'm going to copy (all 110 something GB, ugh) tonight and should know tomorrow sometime, I'll let you know.
 
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saltyzoo

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2007
1,065
0
Just copy the backup directory to the new disk, open time machine preferences, and hit the "change disk" button and pick the new disk.
 
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cowinabox302

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2006
38
0
I'm stuck. I can't copy the backup files. First I tried with chronosync and it failed and I realized that it needs to be authenticated but even after authenticating it and copying it with the finder it still fails. Any ideas? Should I try in safe mode? (Note: TM was off during all this)
 
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cowinabox302

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2006
38
0
I've copied everything else on the drive though...can I only clone that folder? this is becoming more and more of a pain in the ass

Oh, nevermind, gimme a bit, I'll see if this works
 
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cowinabox302

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2006
38
0
Oh god...it's taken almost 3 hours to "build a list" of the stuff on my source (only the time machine stuff, about 100gb) and hasn't even started copying...

After waking up to see that it was still building a list after 11 HOURS I cancelled it. I'm losing hope and thinking of just starting over with TM on the new drive unless anyone's got any real clever ideas...
 
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iBecks

macrumors 6502
Nov 24, 2006
406
4
Nottingham, UK
If you are going to take the time copying over to another disk, why don't you just let Time Machine create a new full backup?
 
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cowinabox302

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2006
38
0
Well I think that's what I'm going to do now, but the idea was to see if you could move a time machine backup (all of them) from one hard drive to another, but that's looking harder and harder to do...
 
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crazzyeddie

macrumors 68030
Dec 7, 2002
2,790
0
Florida, USA
I really think a block-level copy will work... here is my reasoning:

1) The reason the file-level copy is taking so long is because Time Machine makes it look like you have many copies of each unchanged file, one for every backup. But its not actually backing up the file, its just linking to the old one (whats called a hard link).
CCC is trying to copy every single version of that file whether its changed or unchanged because it sees the hard link as the file, not a link. With a block-level copy, it doesn't care about files or link, it just copies the 1's and 0's to the new drive. SO this will be faster... as fast as you would think it would take the copy xGBs of data.

2) With the block copy, it will put everything back in its exact spot on the new drive, but your drive will be bigger!

3) Before you start the block copy, make sure you turn Time Machine OFF. It will try to backup in the middle of the clone and mess things up. In fact, have no apps running when you attempt it.

4) With a block copy you MUST tell CCC to erase the Target drive before cloning. This shouldn't be a problem as TM requires it own partition anyway.
 
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