Use existing Time Machine backup with new computer

Discussion in 'macOS' started by mmcxiiad, May 24, 2010.

  1. mmcxiiad macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2002
    I just got my replacement macbook pro, and copied all my data over to it. When I went to set up Time Machine, I noticed that by default, it wants to create a new backup sparse bundle. Is there any way to either use the prior one or merge the old and new ones together?


    I find it crazy that getting a new computer means losing 18 months worth of backups. I called Applecare about this, and their responce was create a new backup and then if you need to you can connect to the old backup in a read only mode. The guy on the phone made it out like this is the best way to do it, new computer - new history of backups.

    Why is this better? I mean, the time machine file i was using was 550GB of data. My home folder is 400GB of data. So that means to backup anything new (which for arguments sake, we'll say is 15GB) I also have to backup the other 385GB. So now instead of the total backup size being 565GB it is 950gb - 385GB double backed up. This seems like a very amateurish method of implementation, as if the easiest way to program the backups was new computer new backup. The path of least resistance is not the method of best backup solution.
  2. ziggyonice macrumors 68020


    Mar 12, 2006
    Rural America
    I believe you can do this, if you're running Snow Leopard.

    Apple has a document that explains how to do this, among other things regarding Time Machine.
  3. mmcxiiad thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2002
    I am running snow leopard, but I don't see on that KB document where it says that you can continue to use an existing TM backup with a new computer.
  4. duky macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2007
    North Carolina
    Why did you not just restore from your backup rather than individually copy files over. If you go ahead and redo it and restore from the backup it should just continue with those older backups as far as I'm aware. At least that is always how it has worked for me.
  5. mmcxiiad thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2002
    I just tried restoring my laptop from the last backup. When I do and try to backup with time machine, it still wants to create a new backup sparse bundle for the new computer.

    I don't get why it restores like it is the same computer, but once you do, then you can't keep using the same backup.
  6. JohnRN macrumors member


    Mar 31, 2010
    Atlanta, GA

    I'm wondering the same thing. Just bought a refurb i7 and will be doing migration assistant from old iMac to new iMac. I want to use the same sparse bundle that's already been created. Anyone else have any ideas??

    I read the apple support document, it didn't say anything about how to do it.
  7. hubbins macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2010
    Hi guys,

    Did any of you find a solution to this problem? I also restored via time capsule and it now wants to create a new backup rather than connecting to the existing data. Thanks.
  8. wackymacky macrumors 68000


    Sep 20, 2007
    38°39′20″N 27°13′10″W
    Am I understanding you correctly that you have a sparse-bundle TM from computer A and want to just continuing adding to it from computer B?

    It won't work because as well as all the document files it also contains all the system settings etc enclosed within it and there will be conflict though out these.

    Had the new computer been set up from restoring from the sparse bundle these would have been resolved.

    You’re best to ether to restore and start again, or just create a new backup.
  9. iL15hts macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    This is really annoying. I'm searching for the solution for this too.
  10. Donor33 macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2013
    I'm about to undergo this process. This is how Apple describes it. Sounds simple enough to me. I'm crossing my fingers that it works just as well as it's been described.

    Migrating a Time Machine backup to a new Mac

    When you buy a new Mac, you can transfer all of your applications, files, settings, and other information from a Time Machine backup you've already made.

    You will be asked if you want to transfer files when you start up your new Mac for the first time. Or, you can use the Migration Assistant (located in Applications/Utilities).

    After Migration Assistant completes the transfer and you select your existing Time Machine backup drive, you will be prompted with "Inherit Backup History". Once selected you will be able to continue to use your existing Time Machine backup on your new Mac.
  11. MacTribe macrumors member


    Dec 26, 2010
    I've had mixed experiences with this, more often then not I don't get a prompt from Time Capsule / Time Machine to inherit. I've found the best solution is migrate the existing backups from TC to an external hard drive and start again. Not practical, but sometimes its the only option..

    Good luck though.
  12. rikscha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2010
    The inherit function works very randomly. I am sure I could continue to backup to my old time machine backup when I setup my mac a year ago. Last week I tried to do the same thing and it wants to delete the old backups and start over.. It is very annoying.
  13. MacTribe macrumors member


    Dec 26, 2010
    Yep, sounds pretty normal. I suggest creating a second / new time machine backup on another disk for a few weeks, clearing your old backups and starting afresh. Its annoying, but thats time machine for you..
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "I find it crazy that getting a new computer means losing 18 months worth of backups"

    If you had used CarbonCopyCloner (or SuperDuper) to create a bootable backup in POFF (plain old finder format), you would lose nothing. NOTHING (shouting for emphasis).

    I have files dating from 1986 (originally created on an Apple //c) in my archives that I have instantly accessible to me on the 2012 Mac Mini I'm using to type this. Files that are approaching THIRTY YEARS old, but still "right here" and that I can check when necessary.

    That's because I've learned how to backup and how to archive.

    Time Machine isn't going to cut it.
    You need something better.

    Again, my advice is to get CCC or SD and use either to create your clones and do your backups.

    Either will serve you better in "moments of need"...
  15. MacTribe macrumors member


    Dec 26, 2010
    Time machine is actually pretty sensitive.. Poorly designed for anything large or for changing machines. I wasn't aware CCC did versioning?

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