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keaton1929

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 24, 2023
6
0
Hello. I’m attempting to access photos and files from a Time Machine backup. However, once in the Time Machine window, I can navigate through all files and see thumbnails, but can’t restore any files at all because the “Restore” button is grayed out. I can’t screen shot anything to show, but am using 2020 iMac, 27”, Ventura 13.6. The backups, which all now seem to be useless were on a 2tb wd passport. I don’t understand why I can see thumbnails of files but cannot access them? I couldn’t find any actual answers outside of corrupted drives or formatting. None of that makes any sense to me, so any iseful info anyone could give on how to actually backup things from now on would be appreciated because this is ridiculous. I did exactly what I thought I was supposed to and may have lost a lot. I think the answer may be abandon Time Machine altogether and just backup manually. Unless there’s a simple solution that I’m missing, Time Machine is a useless gamble. Thanks.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,618
12,743
"I think the answer may be abandon Time Machine altogether and just backup manually. Unless there’s a simple solution that I’m missing, Time Machine is a useless gamble."

(sigh)

Another Fishrrman "there he goes again like a broken record" post:

Can't help with time machine, I've never used it and never will.
But you are one more user who has discovered that -- in a moment of need -- tm will let you down.

NEXT time...
... if you want "backup that just works", start using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

Both are FREE to download and try for 30 days.

Of the two, CCC is a little more complex (but with more features).
SD is remarkably easy to use and still "does the job". Cheaper registration, too.
 

keaton1929

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 24, 2023
6
0
Hello. I’m attempting to access photos and files from a Time Machine backup. However, once in the Time Machine window, I can navigate through all files and see thumbnails, but can’t restore any files at all because the “Restore” button is grayed out. I can’t screen shot anything to show, but am using 2020 iMac, 27”, Ventura 13.6. The backups, which all now seem to be useless were on a 2tb wd passport. I don’t understand why I can see thumbnails of files but cannot access them? I couldn’t find any actual answers outside of corrupted drives or formatting. None of that makes any sense to me, so any iseful info anyone could give on how to actually backup things from now on would be appreciated because this is ridiculous. I did exactly what I thought I was supposed to and may have lost a lot. I think the answer may be abandon Time Machine altogether and just backup manually. Unless there’s a simple solution that I’m missing, Time Machine is a useless gamble. Thanks.
*Update, sort of: I pulled out my older machine and was able to access the older backups that way. So there’s some step missing that doesn’t allow you to access backups from older machines/OS. Any info or feedback welcome. Thanks.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,618
12,743
"I pulled out my older machine and was able to access the older backups that way. So there’s some step missing that doesn’t allow you to access backups from older machines/OS. Any info or feedback welcome. Thanks."

OK, trying to assess the situation.

You have an older Mac, with data you'd like to access on a newer Mac (but the backup for the older one won't work on the newer one)...

Is this assessment correct?

If so, I have an answer that will work.
PRINT THIS OUT and follow every step.

What you'll need:
1. an external drive large enough to hold all the data on your OLD Mac
2. the app named "SuperDuper", which you can get by clicking this link:

What to do next:
You didn't tell us what version of the OS is running on the older Mac.
a. get the old Mac up and running
b. connect the external drive
c. open disk utility and erase the drive to HFS+ (Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format). If it's a newer version of the OS that needs APFS, use APFS instead.
d. when done, quit disk utility and open SuperDuper
e. SD is VERY easy to understand and use. Use SD to "clone" the internal drive of the OLD Mac to the external drive
f. SD will create "a clone" of the internal drive to the external. It will be mountable "in the finder" like any other drive you have.

And then...
1. take the cloned backup you just made on the old Mac, and connect it to the NEWER Mac.
2. Let the drive icon mount on the desktop, but DO NOT OPEN IT YET
3. Click ONE TIME on the drive icon to select it
4. Bring up the "get info" box (you can type command-i)
5. At the bottom of get info, click the lock and enter the password you use for the NEW Mac (not the old one)
6. Put a check into "ignore ownership on this volume" (sharing and permissions)
7. Close get info.

Now you can copy stuff from the external drive to the new Mac, and what you copy will "fall under the ownership" of your new account on the new Mac.

You could also use the cloned backup with setup assistant on a brand-new Mac for initial setup.

Good luck.
 

keaton1929

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 24, 2023
6
0
In the recommended 3-2-1 backup strategy TM should be just one of the backups due to its tendency to fail.
Luckily I do this with important files, but I was looking for a specific photo that was in an older library. Oh well. I did find it, just had to open TM on an old machine. I guess if you back up on old machine or OS, you can’t open that specific backup on a newer one. Anyway…
 

keaton1929

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 24, 2023
6
0
"I think the answer may be abandon Time Machine altogether and just backup manually. Unless there’s a simple solution that I’m missing, Time Machine is a useless gamble."

(sigh)

Another Fishrrman "there he goes again like a broken record" post:

Can't help with time machine, I've never used it and never will.
But you are one more user who has discovered that -- in a moment of need -- tm will let you down.

NEXT time...
... if you want "backup that just works", start using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

Both are FREE to download and try for 30 days.

Of the two, CCC is a little more complex (but with more features).
SD is remarkably easy to use and still "does the job". Cheaper registration, too.
Thanks for the info! Also, sorry, the older machine was running Catalina, high as it would go.
 

niteflyr

macrumors 65816
Nov 29, 2011
1,043
216
Southern Cal
*Update, sort of: I pulled out my older machine and was able to access the older backups that way. So there’s some step missing that doesn’t allow you to access backups from older machines/OS. Any info or feedback welcome. Thanks.

 
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