Time Machine from one Mac to another without cloning

Discussion in 'macOS' started by tonyGriggs, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. tonyGriggs macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2009
    I'm pretty sure Migration Assistant won't work for this so I was hoping there was another method.

    I have an iMac that is currently using Time Machine for periodic backups. I've got a year's work of backups on the TM drive and there are various states of a major project on it.

    I'm moving from NZ back to the states and the most logical thing is to sell the iMac here before I go and get a new one upon arriving back in the states.

    Is there any way I can hook the TM drive up to the new machine and access the backups from our current iMac? I don't want to clone the new iMac to match the current one, or at least I don't think I do, so from what I've read Migration Assistant isn't going to work for me. And I was hoping there would be some way to view the various backup states of the current iMac on its replacement.

    If it matters, I've only been backing up user data, not system or application data, via TM on the current iMac.



  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    You can manually browse the TM HDD via Finder and manually copy older versions of a file or folder if you want.

    But most likely, the TM backup will not be readable via the Time Machine application on the new Mac, as the backup is tied to the specific machine.

    So manually browsing seems the only option.

    But you can also use MRoogle to find plenty of already existing threads, but only if you want.

  3. tonyGriggs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2009
    Thanks, spinnerlys. I had searched prior to posting but couldn't find a situation that matched mine. Didn't know about MRoogle, though.

    I wasn't aware that the TM drive could be searched via the Finder. Very good to know. If nothing else I definitely won't lose the data.

    Just thought of a TM cloning question, though. If I'm only backing up user data areas with TM, can I use Migration Assistant to just create a clone of the same area on the new machine? When I hear 'clone' I expect it to be a full system clone, but it just occurred to me it might be possible to just clone specific areas.

    Can Migration Assistant work that way for cloning?

  4. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    I think you can do what you want with TM.

    If you buy a new machine you can recreate your entire system on the new machine, and TM will continue to use the old backup file, giving you direct access.

    My example is this -- wife coffee'd her laptop. Bought a new iMac. Used migration assistant and TM to restore everything to the new computer. Only thing different is the new iApps and snow leopard that came on the machine. Otherwise fully restored, and it also had the old backups.

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