Time Machine conundrum, urgent help needed

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by Dekema2, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. Dekema2 macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

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    Jul 27, 2012
    Location:
    WNY or Utica
    #1
    I posted a topic similar to this nearly a year ago, but things change...

    I have a 1 TB external hard drive with a Time Machine backup of my Mac mini I sold a year ago. It has pictures I have nowhere else, documents, files, etc., and I am struggling to think of a way to "unarchive" all of this in a way, so that it's easy for me to just get into and get what I need.

    At the same time, I want to use this external hard drive to back up my current El Capitan 2014 MBP and move 8 GB of pictures off of my 32 GB iPhone 5s.

    Does anyone know how I can solve this issue? Your help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    why can't you restore your documents from the Mac Mini to your MBP that you now have? Having only one copy of your data that you cannot lose is a risky proposition.
     
  3. Dekema2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

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    Jul 27, 2012
    Location:
    WNY or Utica
    #3
    I sold the Mac Mini.
     
  4. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #4
    Copy the files somewhere else. Done. A time machine backup is just a series of folders with filesystem snapshots. You can open it in Finder and just copy all the files you need. Even more, you can delete all the folders except the most recent one if you are not interested in the file history.
     
  5. Dekema2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

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    WNY or Utica
    #5
    This sounds like a plan, but how can I get to my iPhoto library?
     
  6. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #6
    Copy it :) I don't remember the exact location, but you should be able to find in google. It is probably either somewhere in your user Library (backup_folder/Users/yourname/Library) or similar.
     
  7. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a

    dianeoforegon

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    In a Finder window, select the external drive with your Time Machine backup. Drill down to the Pictures folder. Drag the iPhoto Library to your Desktop.

    In Column view....

    Backups.backupdb > Your Mac's Name > Select date that photos existed > Macintosh HD > Users > Your User > Pictures > iPhoto Library

    Hold down Option key when launching either iPhoto or Photos to select the recovered Library.
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    OP:

    If you had chosen to back up by creating a fully bootable cloned drive using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper, you wouldn't be here now asking what to do.

    EVERYTHING would be there on the drive, in "plain old finder format", ready to be copied as desired.

    I realize this doesn't help with the drive you have-in-hand now, but something to think about insofar as backing up your NEW Mac is concerned...
     
  9. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #9
    Time Machine already offers you all that. The only difference to SuperDuper is that Time Machine backups are not bootable (which is a very questionable advantage to begin with). Then again, SuperDuper can't make versioned copies.
     
  10. Riwam macrumors 6502a

    Riwam

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    Basel, Switzerland
    #10
    *****
    I must agree with Fishrrman.
    It won't presently help the thread starter but I found out that having a bootable clone drive is very handy. :)
    I make them on a regular basis from my only internal drive with just the OS (system and user account) and the applications.
    It has proven to save me from many difficult situations, much easier to handle than Time Machine backups, although I certainly respect Time Machine and use it as well.
    However when upgrading to El Capitan, my Time Machine drive refused to "see" all the previews (Yosemite) backups, while with bootable clone drives I have no problem to go back and forth between different OS. :)
    Ed
     
  11. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 31, 2015
    #11
    I am curious how it is a questionable advantage to be able to boot from backup?
    Having the ability to boot Mac from external drive is in my opinion very important and one of the reasons I ditched Time Machine (other more important reason is that it simply wasn't reliable enough for my purposes unlike SuperDuper). I might consider using it again if Apple improves it greatly.

    Another important point is that Time Machine backup structure is very complicated compared to clone which may cause problems, further details in Pondini.

    I agree with Fishrrman and Riwan, OP might want to consider cloning in addition to Time Machine, with important data relying on one backup is a bad idea.
     
  12. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #12
    Two comments.

    1. For some reason, people seem to assume that using the Time Machine app or Migration Assistant is a necessity to work with TM backups. This is wrong. I never use them. As pointed out in previous posts, TM Backup is simply a series of copies of your filesystem. Its essentially the same as your bootable backup, sans bootable. Nobody prevents you from simply taking and copying files back from a TM backup. Again, no difference to a filesystem clone here.

    2. Bootable backups sounds good in theory, but they are of limited utility in practice. With modern macs, you can't really swap the drive back. Additionally, you need to be very careful when booting a cloned drive with a mac that lacks the necessary firmware upgrades. Using SuperDuper backups with replacement machines is a source of difficult to track issues.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 12, 2016 ---
    See my previous post.


    Its not complicated at all. The only thing that concerns a user is the interface. And that is a list of folders which contain FS snapshots. No difference to a clone. Sure, the way HFS+ handles hard links is tricky. You might need to recreate a TM backup once in a while. Not a big issue — you are supposed to have redundant backups anyway.

    Definitely. Cloning is great for episodic backups (e.g. weekly). But TM is superior if you want to increase the probability that your data can be recovered (versioning, possibility of network backup).
     
  13. NoBoMac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    #13
    I can't test this, since I don't have a second TM drive, but, should be able to plug in the Mini TM drive, then Option-click the TM icon in the menu bar (or: Option-right-click the TM icon on the Launch Bar) and select "Browse other other backup disks...". That should allow you to easily browse the old TM drive and restore what you want to the new Mac. Should be able to restore the Mini's files to a different location, just to be safe and not overwrite possibly more current files with same name(s).
     
  14. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #14
    Yes... exactly. When you find a file/folder you want to restore, just right click on it and you will see an option to restore it to another location (other than the original). What I prefer it making a folder on the Desktop then manually restore things to there, then afterwards you can drag and drop it where you want easily.
     
  15. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    #15
    I wonder why Apple requires firmware upgrades for bootable backups to be usable in newer Macs?

    That is assuming Time Machine works as it should. Time Machine has given me too many problems in Yosemite and El Capitan. I tested the drives in DiskWarrior and it found no problems. I reported the issues to Apple and according to engineers one issue is likely in the USB3 drivers and other is in the Time Machine itself which led to data corruption in the backup.

    I'm not saying that Time Machine isn't a great idea. It is. Problem is that in my experience it simply isn't reliable enough.
     
  16. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #16
    What I mean is a situation where say, your clone was done for version 10.X.Y, and then you want to boot it on a computer that hasn't been updated for that version yet. The 10.X.Y might have smuggled in some firmware updates which the computer now lacks.

    Ok, that indeed doesn't sound good. It has been quire reliable for me so far (I use it to backup over a dozen of work machines over network and it hasn't failed once), but to be on the safe side I am also using multiple TM servers at the same time. And of course, really important data are backed up using other means as well.
     

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