Restoring select files from Time Machine?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by stanw, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. stanw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2007
    I want to restore files from Time Machine without restoring applications and Library files. Can I just open up my time machine backup folder on my external drive and manually drag files to my desktop for only those files that I need?
  2. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Aug 24, 2013
    Far from here
    The answer is : you should not (must not) do it that way.

    To restore a file from your Time Machine backup, be in the Finder, then click the Time Machine icon in the menu bar, then click "Enter Time Machine".

    Once in the "intergalactic" interface, browse to the date and the file you want.

    Select the file to restore, then :

    - click the "Restore" button (bottom left corner) to restore the file to its original place, or :

    - right click to choose were you want the file to be restored (desktop for instance).

    Apple has better English than I have :
  3. stanw thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2007
    Unfortunately, I did manually drag some files from my TM folder on the external drive before I read your message. Should I be concerned with my backups now? What problems might this cause?

  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    When you drag files from an external drive in OS X it just copies (not move) the files, so if you just dragged some files out you did not hurt the YM backup.

    The issue is sometimes what you are dragging out if not the actual file but hard links to the file. Read the section here on hard links. So sometimes you can drag out a file and just get the link and the file won't work. If the files you dragged out are working okay, you are fine.

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