Skip navigation
This discussion is archived

"Browse Other Time Machine Disks" not working properly

1967 Views 26 Replies Latest reply: Apr 10, 2013 8:51 AM by Pondini RSS
1 2 Previous Next
Zarquon42 Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 15, 2013 11:10 AM

I'm using a Time Capsule connected wirelessly, to which two computers are backed up via Time Machine. I'm trying to restore files using Jane, my current Mac, from Herbie, my old Mac. I mount the Time Machine drive in the Finder, double-click Herbie.sparsebundle, and choose "Browse Other Time Machine Disks." It goes into the Time Machine interface...and shows me the top level of my computer. Opening the "Backup of Herbie" mounted disk shows same thing I would see if I just browsed "Backup of Herbie" in the Finder; i.e. a bunch of dated folders that I can browse. Burrowing into those folders never shows that I can go backwards in time (although the right bar does in fact show the date of my earliest backup), nor will the "Restore" button highlight when I select an actual file.


In other words this function doesn't work at all for me. What's going wrong?

iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,595 points)

    What OS are you actually running? Initial profile showed Snow Leopard.. funny stuff happens with Mountain Lion.


    I am at a bit of a loss what you are trying to achieve. Backups are not designed as a method to find files and copy them from a different computer.


    If you want to do that, login and share files from the other computer and copy directly.


    You should only use TM backup from the computer that created it due to permissions issues.. but you can recover a whole backup.


    Read all the stuff in Pondini from 14-17 on various issues of restore from TM.


  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,595 points)

    You can access the backup.. and restore it.. it will restore just fine.. I use a USB drive plugged into the computer and restore the whole thing.. because you cannot get files out of libraries.. you have to restore the files to access them.. that means restoring whole libraries now with newer versions of iphoto or itunes etc.


    If you want a file from the other computer.. copy it across the network.. don't dig it out of the backup.

  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,595 points)

    If the other computer is logged into the sparsebundle at the time you try to get access to it, I think you might have issues.. The TM sparsebundle should be protected by TM when it is running and mounted.. Did you turn off the other computer when you did this.


    And if I am confused.. I am sorry.. As far as I can see the idea of using the backup of another computer to access its files.. is not the correct method of file sharing.

  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,595 points)

    Restore the whole backup to a USB drive plugged into your computer..


    Then wipe the TC. You can copy all the files you need from the USB drive.. and keep it until you are sure there is no need any longer for it.


    I think there are mutliple issues with TM.. across versions for example if the old computer used a different OS.


    And Mountain Lion does have issues handling TC.. if you reboot both things might suddenly start working again.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    Zarquon42 wrote:

    . . .

    When I try to browse another backup, my current backup pops onto the desktop,

    Yes, that's correct (if sometimes a bit misleading) -- the Today (Now) display always shows the current contents of the Mac you're running on -- not a backup.




    all I see is the top level of my computer, not the disk I'm trying to access (the backupof that disk shows up, but that's no help, because I can only browse it folder-wise (i.e. by the dated backup folders)

    Also correct.  Things in the sidebar of the Today (Now) Finder window weren't backed-up from that other Mac -- even if they have the same names as things on the current Mac, they're from a different Mac, so are treated as being entirely different (and the contents usually are different).


    If you don't select anything on the Today (Now) window, but instead click a backup in the TimeLine, that will show a Finder Window with a folder for each drive that was backed-up on that particular backup.  From there, you should be able to navigate to what you want to see.


    not Time Machine-wise,

    I'm not sure what you mean by that, but I suspect you mean you can't click things in the sidebar.  If so, that's correct, as explained above.



    and I can't restore anything via Time Machine view in any case).

    I'm assuming you mean via the normal Restore button at the lower-right of the screen?  If so, that's because the Restore button really means "Restore to the original location," but since the original location is a different Mac, and/or the folder structure is different, it can't.


    If so, try selecting something, and either right-clicking it or selecting the "gear" icon in the Finder window's toolbar, then selecting the Restore <Item> to... option, and select the desired location.

  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,595 points)


    If you want to restore to a different location, select the item(s), In your case all the top level folders.


    but instead of the Restore button, control-click (right-click) the item  That will produce a "contextual" menu something like this (the contents vary depending on what's selected, and whether you're on a backup, a Local snapshot, or the Today (Now) window:

    Select the "Restore <item> to ..." option. 

    You’ll then see a window to choose the desired location.  See Question #16 for details.


    If you’re restoring an entire data-only volume, select all the top-level folders.


    b. Many people do not update their profiles.. but I am really trying to help.. I am not trying to upset you or say anything wrong.. I do not read back every posting.. some comments are general.. if the two backups were made on different versions of TM there can be different issues.. take it as an attempt to aid not anger.

1 2 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.