Time Machine Restore Across Multiple Drives

Discussion in 'macOS' started by iMacKiller, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. iMacKiller macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2013

    I have a late 2009 27" iMac with a failing 1TB Seagate hard drive. The machine is out of warranty and not eligible for the recall. I have the drive backed up on TM. Currently running Snow Leopard. My plan for fixing it is to replace the internal drive with a SSD and move all data to an external drive. The current drive has about 500GB worth of stuff on it, which is greater than the new internal drive I plan on installing can hold. My question is, can I manually select what parts of the TM backup go where, ie. system files/apps go on the SSD and documents, iPhoto/iTunes libraries, etc... go to the external drive? Or am I going to have to restore everything to a large external drive, reinstall OS X, then thrift the parts I don't need from the external drive.

    My hope is the current drive will last long enough for me to export my libraries, etc... to the external drive and avoid the TM backup. The number of applications I use is fairly limited so a complete reload would not be that big an ordeal.

    Any advice in the best approach to take here would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    A TM "restore" is all or nothing. What you could do is just install the OS then use Migration Assistant to pull in your apps and data from the TM backup. When you do that, you can uncheck things you do not want to import... like maybe the Music folder if that is a biggie.

    Make sure you do the Migration Assistant import when prompted right at the end of the OS install, because if you do it after making your user account it makes a mess.

    Then when it is all done you can manually move the Music folder (in my example) from the TM disk to an external drive afterwards.
  3. eduardrw, Aug 23, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013

    eduardrw macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2013

    My suggestion would be to replace the HDD with a "compatible" spinning HDD.
    Then use a data doubler from OWC to replace the DVD with a smaller SSD.
    This way you avoid the Fan spin up problem if the HDD is not Apple compatible (read up at OWC and the forum here)
    I have done it this way on my late 2009 iMac. Used a 240GB SSD - still have about 80GB left. Photos and music are on the 1TB disk.

    I suggest to do an additional backup/clone (carbon copy cloner, Super duper, Chronosync) to a second external disk (You should always have 2 backups - TM + one). Then do a fresh instal and copy all of your data etc from that disk. It will run much better without all that crud accumulated over time.

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