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Time Machine restore to a new hard drive

9216 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Aug 19, 2013 4:57 AM by Pondini RSS
kebmofan Calculating status...
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Aug 15, 2013 12:53 PM

I have replaced my hard drive on my MacBook Pro and need to know if I treat the computer as "new" to restore using Time Machine from a WD Mybook backup drive.  The new drive has 10.6.8 installed .

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Aug 16, 2013 5:07 AM (in response to kebmofan)

    kebmofan wrote:

    . . .

    need to know if I treat the computer as "new"

    Not quite sure what you mean by that, but when you do a full restore from TM backups, you just select the destination.  See Time Machine - Frequently Asked Question #14 for details.  That will erase the destination and restore everyhing: OSX, apps, user accounts, data, settings, etc., from the backups.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Aug 16, 2013 9:49 AM (in response to kebmofan)

    kebmofan wrote:


    My daughter is using our 4 year old MacBook Pro. The hard drive died and she had a new, larger drive installed at school.  They did install the software that typically comes on a new Mac.  She wants me to restore a backup made last year (she now knows to do a backup more often!) to the new drive.  Time Machine does not seem to recognize the old backup on the external drive. 

    If you mean, the TM browser (the "Star Wars" display) doesn't see the backups normally, that's correct.  It normally shows only backups made from the disk it's running on. 


    You can see backups for a disk that's no longer connected, per #E3 in  Time Machine - Troubleshooting.  Unless you only want a few selected things, though, that's probably not what you want to do, and may have some problems and complications.


    It does offer to option of restoring to a new computer.

    Again, I don't know what that means.  Did a window something like this come up:




    If so, that's either Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant (similar "works" with somewhat different windows, plus differences between versions of OSX).  That's probably not what you want, either.



    Usually, the best, most reliable course is to do a "full system restore" from the most recent backup.  That will put everything back just the way it was.  See Time Machine - Frequently Asked Question #14 for details. Of course, if the oldest backup is a year old, everything done since then is lost.


    As noted there, you start from your Snow Leopard Install disc, not the internal HD, so you'll need to find that (or get a replacement).  If the repair shop installed Lion or Mountain Lion, that will be replaced with Snow Leopard.  That's what you want -- if she didn't purchase Lion or Mountain Lion, there will be problems, as Apple won't have a record of it being on that Mac.  See the second point below.



    Or, you can use Migration Assistant. That should work, but there may be a couple of problems:


    • The transferred user account may lose permission to the older backups.  See the pink box in Problems after using Migration Assistant for an explanation.  One of the workarounds in the green box (probably #4) should avoid it.


    • If the repair shop installed Lion or Mountain Lion on a Mac that only had Snow Leopard before, there will be other problems.  Apple won't have a record of the new OS being on that Mac:  you aren't licensed to run it, and won't be able to reinstall it if necessary, and may not be able to install or update some apps from the AppStore,.  And the only way to get it is from the AppStore.



    If you do use Migration Assistant and have problems, please be very specific about what you did, what went wrong, the exact message(s) if any, so we know how to advise you.


    Here are detailed info and instructions for the Snow Leopard version of Migration Assistant: Using Migration Assistant on Snow Leopard or Leopard.  Lion and Mountain Lion are similar, but there are differences:  Using Migration Assistant on Mountain Lion or Lion

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Aug 17, 2013 2:06 PM (in response to kebmofan)

    kebmofan wrote:

    . . .

    Is it safe to assume that even though the backed up drive was smaller than the new one currently on board, that Time Machine will be able to restore the old setup without somehow fouling up the new larger drive?

    Yup.  Total drive size doesn't matter, just the amount of available space.  And if she does a full restore, the disk is erased first.



    I am not sure my daughter had not upgraded the OS.  She is not sure either.  Therefore I doubt it, but if I use the original install disk, would that be a problem if she had backed up a newer version.

    If she does the full system restore, no.  That first erases the disk, then restores everything, including OSX, from the backups, even if it's a prior version of OSX.  (Handy when an update goes South.)


    But if she uses Setup/Migration Assistant, that won't let her go "backwards" from one major version to an earlier one (such as Lion to Snow Leopard).  In that case, the thing to do is upgrade to the later version first, then do the migration.


    An earlier minor version (such as 10.6.3 to 10.6.8) works, although there might be a glitch or two if a later version of an app has a different file/folder structure, but that's pretty rare).


    Hopefully she will learn from this and be more diligent going forward!

    Yeah, most of us learn the hard way, don't we?



    You're quite welcome.


    Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Aug 19, 2013 4:57 AM (in response to kebmofan)

    kebmofan wrote:


    Pondini, thanks so much.  The Time Machine backup was the way to go.  Even though the backup was a year old, my daughter is thrilled. 



    But absolutely the first report I've seen of anybody being happy, much less thrilled, to lose a years' stuff!


    I think I will buy a Time Capsule for her and her sister.


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