Restoring Time Machine with an External Hard drive failure

Discussion in 'macOS' started by GerryC, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. GerryC macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2018
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #1
    Recently my iMac would not start up and I ended up having to reinstall OSX essentially making it a "new computer."

    I did this believing that my WD My passport hard drive which I was using solely for Time Machine would be able to restore it to the "old computer".

    Unfortunately, this drive has failed (It is not mounted and does not show on Finder) and so I used Stellar Phoenix Recovery to recover the files.

    My question is, if I transfer these recovered files to a new external hard drive, would a system restore be possible please?
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    "Unfortunately, this drive has failed (It is not mounted and does not show on Finder) and so I used Stellar Phoenix Recovery to recover the files.
    My question is, if I transfer these recovered files to a new external hard drive, would a system restore be possible please?"


    It's good that you got some (or all) of the files back.
    But...
    Do the recovered files have their proper file names?
    When the files were recovered, were they recovered into their previous folder/file hierarchy?

    Often with file recovery, some file names are lost, and often previous folder/file hierarchies are lost, as well.
    This would make a TM restore difficult.

    However, it's still possible to restore the files "manually".
    This will be A LOT MORE WORK.
    But it can be done.
    Just be happy that you still HAVE the files.

    In the future, I would NOT rely on Time Machine.
    You see what "relying" on it did for you this time.

    Instead, try a cloning backup app like CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
    Much better!
     
  3. GerryC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2018
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #3
    --- Post Merged, Jun 15, 2018 ---
    Thanks so much for your response. I’m fairly naive in most tech stuff so I wonder if I might ask a couple of follow up questions please?

    Let’s say that the recovery software did grab everything and in its proper order, and I have saved everything (it was broken down into 9 volumes) on a new external hard drive, how then would I perform a system restore?

    Alternatively, if this was not possible, and I had to move things manually, how would I know what was what and how and where would I move them?

    Best, Gerry
    --- Post Merged, Jun 15, 2018 ---
     
  4. treekram, Jun 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018

    treekram macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #4
    It would seem to me that your problems are due to HDD failure and not using Time Machine vs. another software to backup your computer. It would seem to me that assistance with your current situation vs. admonitions and advice as to what to do in the future is more appropriate at this point.

    Looking at one of my Time Machine backups (for Sierra, if you have High Sierra with APFS, please mention this), the structure seems to be:

    Backups.backupdb
    -- [computer name]
    ---- [YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSS]
    ------ [Volume name]
    -------- [typical list of files]
    ---- Latest


    where text in between the brackets describes what you should see and two dashes represents a directory/folder level. So a possible directory structure would look like:

    Backups.backupdb
    -- MyComputer
    ---- 2018-06-15-120000
    ------ Macintosh HD
    -------- filename ...


    "Latest" is just a link to the latest backup, it is not a directory with separate files.

    So if you look at your latest backup and further drill down the directories, under [Volume Name]/Users/[your user name], you should find your home folder.

    It's likely that during file recovery, the files got jumbled. If you can put it back together in something like the directory structure listed above, you can try and see if your drive is recognized. However, besides the normal files, there are hidden files that Time Machine uses and unless these are properly put back where they belong, I think it's unlikely that the Time Machine will work properly. A top-level typical list of files (just below the [Volume name] in the directory structure above would be something like (for Sierra):

    Applications
    Library
    Network
    System
    Users
    Volumes
    bin
    cores
    etc
    private
    sbin
    tmp
    usr
    var

    If you don't see a listing like this in your recovered files, I would think it's unlikely you're going to have a good chance of being able to use it as a Time Machine restore. At that point, you should just look for critical data that you need and see if it can be recovered. At this point, you shouldn't be using your original backup HDD. If you find you can't retrieve usable files, you might want to try contacting a data recovery service.

    EDIT: If you want to copy individual files from what you were able to recover, there's more to it that just copying the file. Post if you need information on this.
     
  5. treekram macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #5
    Something else to check out - if you installed software from WD that came with your drive, that software wouldn't be installed if you did a restore in Recovery Mode. Do you know if you installed software from WD?
     

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4 June 14, 2018