Time Machine; backing up a back up?

Discussion in 'macOS Mojave (10.14)' started by Trhodezy, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Trhodezy macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2010
    Hey all,

    I hope this is the right place to pop this question as I feel it's quite OS centric.

    So I've been backing up my iMac on an external hard drive via Time Machine. I'm now going to solely use the new iPad Pro and replace my iMac (my workload is now minimal; some photo editing, flyer designs that's about it).

    So I've started the final backup of the iMac ready to be reset, packaged up and sold. I was thinking of selling the hard drive too as it was only used for back ups. Now the question is, is it possible (if anyone even knows) to cloud back up a Time Machine backup (redundant off-site backup)?

    i.e. Can I drag the most current backup folder to BackBlaze B2/DropBox etc and upload it for offsite backup?

    The theory is, should I ever move back to a Mac, I can download the time machine backup and pick through the files and/or do a full restore of the iMac?

    Just something that popped into my head really and wondered if anyone knew anything about it, or in fact have done it? Just curious more than anything.
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    My opinion only.

    If you're going to sell the iMac, but still want "a copy" of what was on the hard drive before you let it go, do this:

    Download CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper (Both are FREE to download and use for 30 days, so "my way" costs you nothing out-of-pocket).

    Use either of the above to create a cloned backup of your drive, just before you let it go.

    That cloned backup will be finder-mountable on any Mac, and will be an exact copy of the internal drive at the time you cloned it.

    I suggest that the drive be formatted to HFS+ (Mac OS extended with journaling enabled), instead of APFS.
    An HFS+ drive is readable on ANY Mac.
    If the drive is APFS, it can only be read by Macs running High Sierra or later (possibly Low Sierra, as well).
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    That won't work. Time Machine uses what are called hard links so all those versions of files you see on that backup drive are not really copies of files, but links to older, existing versions of the files. No online backup is going to support those hard links that I know of.

    What you could do it use Disk Utility to make a DMG image file of the drive, then upload that to an online storage.
  4. Trhodezy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2010
    Thank you both so much for your answers. I'm going to give them a go, I looked into your examples and they seem to both work either way so again, thank you again!

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3 November 8, 2018