Time Machine query - Data from old 24" iMac to new 13" rMB Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by feckonastick, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. feckonastick macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2008
    Background first with questions later :)

    I've an early 2008 24" iMac which may have finally given up on me. I've got it booked in this weekend with an Apple Genius to diagnose what the problem is but if it isn't going to be financially viable to repair I'm thinking of replacing it with a new machine.

    My iMac currently has just over 400GB of data stored on the hard drive and backed up via Time Machine using an Airport Extreme with a 1TB USB drive connected (so saved as a sparse bundle). My wife also has a Macbook that backs up to the same usb drive.

    I'm toying with the idea of replacing the iMac with a new Retina Macbook Pro, in particular the 2.4Ghz/8GB/256GB SSD, but I'm uncertain how Time Machine will work when it comes to trying to retrieve my data, particularly where I would have less internal storage on the new machine.

    I'm on a limited budget for a replacement machine and would rather spend my budget upgrading the memory on the new Macbook to 16GB at purchase rather than upgrading the SSD hard drive from 256GB to 512GB. My thinking is that it's better to do this to and increase external storage over time as prices of external drives keep decreasing.

    If I was to purchase the Macbook, I'd also like to change my current storage/backup ways as I don't think my current setup is really ideal, so was thinking of using a NAS drive - 2 x 1TB discs; one to backup and one to store my movies, songs and pics.

    So finally my questions lol

    Can anyone tell me is it possible for me to retrieve my data bearing in mind the reduction in internal drive space on the new machine (even if connected to a NAS drive) and that the backup is currently saved as a sparse bundle?

    Can I open a sparse bundle file and pull my music, photos and movies from it?

    Or am I screwed? lol
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    You'd need to manually "restore" your data directly to the NAS. That is manually mount the sparse image, go to the latest backup shortcut and then drag/drop the folders to your NAS image.

    It won't be the most efficient process, because you're going by way of wifi (or ethernet) from the Time Machine volume to your computer then to your NAS but at least you can get the data there. I'd recommend small batches of folders/files in case something occurs in the middle of the copy
  3. feckonastick thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2008
    Thank you.

    Makes sense.

    Fingers crossed I can get it to work :)
  4. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    I concur with maflynn -- it should work fine using Finder to mount the sparsebundle and copy directories. I've done that with my (old) Time Capsule.

    I seem to remember from the last time I used Migration Assistant (to upgrade from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion) that it would total up the space required for each category of info that could be migrated (e.g., apps, settings, documents). So I assume it's smart enough to prevent you from trying to copy more than the destination volume can hold. You could still use it to migrate settings and users, for example.

    I'm curious: what went wrong with your iMac? (I've got the same machine with some DIY upgrades and so far it's holding out well -- keeping my fingers crossed!)
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    A big consideration in how you proceed at this point depends on WHERE you kept things on the iMac. Did you tend to keep everything within your home folder? Or, did you keep "large files" (such as movies, etc.) outside of the home folder?

    If your home folder is "swollen" with stuff, that could be the problem that chokes things up when doing a "normal migration" using Migration Assistant.

    When I got the MacBook, I'd set up a new account for myself, WITHOUT migrating any data/apps.

    Then, I'd use Migration Assistant to "selectively migrate" my old applications over. At this point, I'd quit MA, and "look around", evaluating if everything brought over was worth keeping. If there are some older apps you no longer need, throw those out. Then, check how much space is left.

    Something to be aware of regarding the home folder.
    You CANNOT simply "copy over" the folders inside the home folder that are named "desktop", "documents", "downloads", "mail", "movies", "music", "pictures", etc.

    HOWEVER -- you CAN copy all the items that are INSIDE these folders. (folders and files).
    So -- it's possible to "selectively reconstruct" the contents of such folders.

    If you do this, you will want to proceed slowly, checking, re-checking, and then checking again as you move things over. It's going to take some additional time, but it will "thin out" the old stuff and get you "pared down" from the old drive...
  6. feckonastick thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2008
    Thanks Brian

    My iMac has an Invidia 8080GS graphics card which I believe has given plenty of other people grief in the past. The graphics card went 10 months ago and I got it replaced by Apple.

    A few days ago my iMac started to get very warm and start hanging on a daily basis. To be honest I should have seen this as a sign that something was coming but then heard something almost popping in the unit and it died. It now starts to load in safe mode but the progress bar would stick around 10% and after 60 secs or so it would just switch itself off.

    I tried connecting it in Target Disk Mode via Firewire to an old iMac G4 that I have but it wouldn't mount the hard drive. I could see the hard drive in Disk Utility but it couldn't repair it.

    I hope it's the graphics card again, but now becoming increasingly worried it's the hard drive. I wouldn't even mind if it was the logic board as I just want my data.

    To be perfectly honest I've yet to test Time Machine retrieving data in my current wireless setup so worried to say the least and Sunday is the earliest appointment I could get with a Genius, so I'm feeling rather tense :(


    Unfortunately everything is in the Home folder, kept in their respective folders; Music in the Music folder, Photos in the Photos Folder etc.

    Are you aware of a step by step guide anywhere that might help me get this right first time?

    This is something I should have tested out whilst things all still worked and kicking myself now. I'll def live and learn :)
  7. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)

    Ah, I see you have the top-of-the-line Early 2008 iMac with the faster 3.06 GHz processor and the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS graphics card. All the other Early 2008 iMacs used an ATI card, either the Radeon HD 2400 XT or the Radeon HD 2600 PRO (like mine). I asked you because there can be a "screen freezing" problem with these ATI cards/drivers that can be fixed by replacing some system files, and I thought perhaps I could help you. Unfortunately your problem is definitely different.

    I suppose Apple replaced your NVIDIA graphics card with another of the same model? I'm no expert but I still think there's hope that your current problem is caused by the new graphics card. I think I remember reading that a working graphics card is required for these machines to boot properly. Since Apple replaced the card, hopefully there's a warranty on the repair and maybe they'll replace it again for free?

    If you give up on repair, remember that the drive might be OK; have it removed and you may be able to mount it with an external enclosure or a SATA drive dock.

    I see you said your wife has a MacBook -- you should be able to use Finder to mount and explore the iMac's Time Machine backups on the Airport Extreme's disk, just to verify that they're up to date. That may relieve some anxiety.

    Hope all goes well.
  8. feckonastick thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2008
    I just want to pop in and thank you guys for your help :)

    It turns out my iMac hard drive finally failed. The Apple store replaced it for me (I won't grumble about the price lol :( ) and when I got it home and updated I connected my backup drive directly to it and was able to restore off everything off the sparsebundle that I'd needed. Big relief!

    I've been thinking over the past few days that with my iMac repaired I might as well just wait now for a month or two and hope there will be a small specs bump with a 512GB drive falling within my budget.
  9. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    Thanks for the update -- it's nice to hear how things turned out. Hope you get no more troubles from the iMac. Aside from some graphics problems, I think these 24" iMacs are good machines.

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