9 Replies Latest reply: Mar 31, 2012 3:21 PM by allenfromnederland
allenfromnederland Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I want to verify if Migration Assistant will restore a backup from NAS drive to a new computer.   I just got a WD My Book Live Duo NAS drive which supports Time Machine backups for Lion (and Snow Leopard).   Unlike backups in Snow Leopard and the WD My Book World Edition (white light), the new NAS drive creates a sparsebundle the first time a backup is initiated.  When I open Time Machine, a single volume for my backup appears.   I have 3 Macbooks backing up to this drive but when I open Time Machine on any computer, only the backup created for that computer is shown.  This raised a question for me that if my computer dies, how do I restore the backup from the NAS drive to the new computer?  Is this what Migration Assistant will do?  What are the limitations?  Does the new computer have to have the same IP address as the old computer?  Can I select what gets restored? 

 

Thanks


MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • 1. Re: restore timemachine backup to new computer from NAS drive
    allenfromnederland Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Noticed something about the sparsebundle created by the my book live duo.   All of then have the associated machine names attached to them, but no IP address or or anything else that i can identify unless its in the underlying files.  So maybe  the backups are associated with the machine name.   Comments?

  • 2. Re: restore timemachine backup to new computer from NAS drive
    Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    You have about three different questions:

     

    Normally, Time Machine only shows the backups for the Mac it's on -- the ones specified in the Time Machine Preferences window.  To see other backups for the same Mac, or backups for other Macs, use the Browse... option, per Time Machine - Frequently Asked Question #17.

     

    That only pertains to the "Star Wars" display, though.  When you use either Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant to set up a new Mac from an old one's backups, they'll all appear so you can choose the one you want.  A full system restore also shows them all, if you can connect.  See below.

     

    Each sparse bundle is indeed associated with a particular Mac.  The name is just for us mere mortals;  there are control files in the sparse bundle containing the Mac's Ethernet MAC address and/or Hardware UUID (depending on the version of OSX that created the sparse bundle).  Right-click the sparse bundle in the Finder and select Show Package Contents. Obviously, do not touch them.

     

    Finally (whew!), you may or may not be able to do a full system restore from a 3rd-party NAS.  The main reason is, that's done while booted from the Recovery HD (Install disc on earlier versions of OSX), but there's often no way to enter the info the NAS needs to allow access without OSX running.  That varies from NAS to NAS.  Also, some NASs don't store things where the full restore Installer expects them, so you need to mount the sparse bundle first, which also isn't easy without OSX running.  See what the WD folks have to say on the subject.

     

    The workaround is to erase your internal HD, install OSX (probably via download for Lion), set up a temporary user account, contact the NAS, and use Migration Assistant to transfer your apps, user accounts and data.  That results in an extra user account, and the ones transferred often lose access to the backups.  There is a workaround for that, too.  See the pink box in  Problems after using Migration Assistant for an explanation, and #4 in the green box for the workaround.

     

    Can you tell I'm not wild about 3rd-party NASs for Time Machine? 

  • 3. Re: restore timemachine backup to new computer from NAS drive
    allenfromnederland Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi.  Thanks for this info.  Unfortunately with the WD drive, the sparsebundle isnt normally viewable until a backup is started or TM is entered.  With ssh, the sparsebundles are on a drive thats not normally mounted using the devicename thats broadcast.  However, mounting the drive with its ip address shows all of the volumes on the drive including the one named TimeMachine that automatically contains all of the sparsebundles.  Do you know how to decode the files in the package contents, I suspect that the info.* files are the critical ones?   I looked inside them and see two items with the label <integer> but they don't look like the ip, or ether address obtained from ifconfig.   WD support has been less than helpful and deferred to this being an apple support issue.  I retorted that since the drive supports time machine backups, presumably they must have tested it for restoration of files if the computer crashes.   I haven't lookeed at Migration Assistant to see if it sees all the backups on the drive.   I don't know how much control I'll have once I open it and I don't want to start a restore unless I have to.

     

    The last issue that I had with WD was that the My Book World Edition stopped working with Time Machine from Lion.  I went round and round with them for about 2 dozen emails tellint me to do this and do that.  Nothing worked.  I finally got a call from a level 2 support guy who knew all about the issue and said that its not supported on that drive and they are not updating the firmware on it.  He said that the My Book Live Duo does support TM on Lion and offered to give me a refund for my old drive.   Not too bad a deal.

     

    Anyway thanks for your help and if you can tell me what the info.* files contain I'll be a very happy camper. 

     

    Cheers

  • 4. Re: restore timemachine backup to new computer from NAS drive
    Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    allenfromnederland wrote:

     

    Hi.  Thanks for this info.  Unfortunately with the WD drive, the sparsebundle isnt normally viewable until a backup is started or TM is entered.  With ssh, the sparsebundles are on a drive thats not normally mounted using the devicename thats broadcast.  However, mounting the drive with its ip address shows all of the volumes on the drive including the one named TimeMachine that automatically contains all of the sparsebundles.

    That's very non-standard. I'll be astonished if either the full restore or Setup Assistant can see them.   If you can figure out how to find and mount them via Terminal, then you'll be able to do a full system restore (to the original Mac, not a new one).  Note that you can start that process non-destructively; nothing gets erased until the final confirmation.

     

    Do you know how to decode the files in the package contents, I suspect that the info.* files are the critical ones?

    No, the ones you want are the two shown here:

     

    Screen Shot 2012-03-29 at 10.02.47 PM.png

    They're identical XML files with the Host UUID and/or Ethernet MAC address, and a couple of other things.  You should be able to open them with TextEdit, or PrefSetter.

     

    The Info files are also identical XML files, with info about the sparse bundle itself -- band size, type, a key (?), and dictionary version.

     

    (At least, when created by Time Machine.  If WD creates them, there's no telling).

     

    WD support has been less than helpful and deferred to this being an apple support issue.  I retorted that since the drive supports time machine backups, presumably they must have tested it for restoration of files if the computer crashes. 

    Doesn't seem like it.  I've tried to help several folks with them (and other NASs), and they all say the same thing about WD support.

     

     

    I haven't lookeed at Migration Assistant to see if it sees all the backups on the drive.  I don't know how much control I'll have once I open it and I don't want to start a restore unless I have to.

    Try it.  As with the full restore, nothing will actually happen until the final confirmation (when you click Continue after the Select Items to Migrate window).  See Using Migration Assistant on Lion.

     

    I strongly suspect it won't see anything until you either open the folder containing the sparse bundles, or manually mount one or more of them.

  • 5. Re: restore timemachine backup to new computer from NAS drive
    allenfromnederland Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I peeked inside .MachineID.plist and found the UUID for the machine.  Thanks for the tip.

  • 6. Re: restore timemachine backup to new computer from NAS drive
    Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    Cool.

     

    Any luck seeing whether a full restore or Migration Assistant will work?  That could help other folks later on.

  • 7. Re: restore timemachine backup to new computer from NAS drive
    allenfromnederland Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Entering Time Machine, I could see all the backups that had been made and I would suspect that a restore could be made from there.  Migration Assistant was only able to see one of the 3 sparsebundles that exist on the drive, namely the one made by this machine. 

     

    If I mounted the drive using its IP address and opened the volume "Backups", I could see all three spasebundles and could mount them with the DiskImageMounter app.  This the Backups.backupdb directory was then visible and under it all the the backup folders by date were visible.  In each, the directory "Macintosh HD" could be opened and all the directories under it could be viewed and I suppose copied. 

     

    One question:  in case of a crash and the need to restore to a new computer, can the UUID in the backup be changed to the UUID of the new computer for TM to work?

     

    Thanks

     

    Allen

  • 8. Re: restore timemachine backup to new computer from NAS drive
    Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    allenfromnederland wrote:

     

    Entering Time Machine, I could see all the backups that had been made and I would suspect that a restore could be made from there.  Migration Assistant was only able to see one of the 3 sparsebundles that exist on the drive, namely the one made by this machine. 

    That's odd (but then, the combination of a NAS and TM tends to be a bit odd ).  If Migration Assistant can see one, it should see all of them (unlike the "Star Wars" display, that normally only shows the one selected as the backups for the Mac it's running on).

     

     

    If I mounted the drive using its IP address and opened the volume "Backups", I could see all three spasebundles and could mount them with the DiskImageMounter app.  This the Backups.backupdb directory was then visible and under it all the the backup folders by date were visible.  In each, the directory "Macintosh HD" could be opened and all the directories under it could be viewed and I suppose copied.

    You really don't want to copy from backups except as a very desperate last resort.  The actual backups carry very restrictive ACLs to protect them from being altered in your backups.  TM doesn't restore them, of course, but a copy will.

     

     

    One question:  in case of a crash and the need to restore to a new computer, can the UUID in the backup be changed to the UUID of the new computer for TM to work?

    No.  You should never do a full restore to a different Mac than the one that made the backups.  That's what Setup Assistant and Migration Assistant are for.   Whether that would work to make Migration Assistant see them, I don't know.  Scary.

  • 9. Re: restore timemachine backup to new computer from NAS drive
    allenfromnederland Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your comments about this issue.    I never intended or thought about making a full restore to a new computer from TM or even from Backupdb.   What I was mostly interested in was the ability to recover c and java source and data files for projects that I'm working on as well as recovering calendar and phone data.  Those would be the most important.   I was simply stating what I was able to find in my  explorations of the files on the NAS drive.   I haven't tried to mount a sparsebundle from a different machine to see if TM recognizes it.  I suppose that would be the next step.

     

    Thanks again.