Time Machine Deleted Everything

Discussion in 'macOS' started by outsidethebox, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. outsidethebox macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2008
    I got a 500GB Cavalry external HD for Christmas and had backed up most of my movies, music, and photos onto it. Just today Leopard asked me if I wanted to create a Time Machine backup on it, so I decided "why not?" After it was completed, I looked in the external HD for my old files and cannot find them whatsoever. Did time machine just delete pretty much everything I had?? Is there any way to get it back???
  2. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    You should have seen a warning message that indicated that the entire drive would be wiped first (at least I did when I first used TM).

    I don't think there is any way for you to go back now, but if it's worth anything for you in the future, you should create a partition first next time, and then assign TM to only one of the two partitions. :eek:

    Sorry for your loss. :(
  3. outsidethebox thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2008
    I don't remember getting any warning at all...I can't believe it's all gone now
  4. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    I'm not sure of the exact warning, but I believe it goes something like:

    'Time Machine will need to format this drive, and any data will be lost.'

    Then the options are either 1) Continue or 2) Choose another drive or something.
  5. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    well time machine (TM) will reformat the disk which you choose to make a backup to. so if you had already manually or used another method other than TM to backup all your music, photos etc. TM would have erased them before it started the big initial backup.

    so if you chose number 1) or something similar its no doubt that TM would have reformatted your drive.

    you can however store files on the external hard drive after after the big initial backup as the TM files are all stored in a single folder called "Backups.backupdb"

    sorry about you loss of files but you should have been aware that TM was going to reformat the drive. Apple has made it very easy to use and diagnose TM. if you werent sure whether or not your data was going to be erased or your conscience was telling you not to press that button, you should have asked here on the forums before you commenced with TM. just a little bit of advice.

    there is however a chance of getting your files back. stop using the external disk straight away as using TM will overwrite your music and photos etc and then use Data Rescue II or File Salvage to your files back.
  6. adjei7 macrumors member

    Nov 25, 2007
    Oh man, I feel for you. I too have had a major hard disk loss, that was a few years ago though. Since then I keep my really important stuff on an external hard disk, which is hardly ever connected to my computer unless really necessary. I know kind of defeats the purpose, but once bitten...

    Kind of ironic though, don't you think? Time Machine deleting your stuff. Anyway Richthomas is right. There is a slight chance you may get them back. It depends how badly you want them. With enough cash, you should be able to find some professional data recovery service, and there is some software you could buy too.

    Just out of curiosity, what type of format did the drive have before TM had its way with it. May be wrong, but if it already had MacOS extended or something like that, then it wouldn't have needed to format as TM can use that anyway. Was it standard macos, or even a window format by chance. It makes a difference when you try and recover.


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