4 Replies Latest reply: Apr 24, 2011 2:27 PM by vjejjala
vjejjala Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I recently reinstalled the OS (10.6.7) on a 4.5 year old MacBook Pro and restored my data from backup. Having done so, Time Machine then copied the contents of the hard drive back to the backup disk. There is plenty of space, so this isn't a problem. The difficulty is that I can no longer access older archival copies of my data.


The vertical column with the dates in Time Machine recognizes that the backups exist. Time Machine takes me to directories marked:


but incorrectly claims that they are empty. I cannot access the directories marked:


at all. When I look at the content of the disk directly, the inaccessible directories have a filled red circle with a horizontal white line in the middle. From the command line when I try to change to one of the inaccessible directories, it says, for example:

> cd Mail/

Mail/: Permission denied.

> chown -R main Mail

chown: Mail: Permission denied

chown: Mail: Operation not permitted

The directory structure is the same as it was previously since the data on the hard drive were restored from the Time Machine to begin with.


Are there suggestions for how to access the archival data on the Time Machine backup drive?


Thanks for your help.



  • Tuti Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)

    You must use the sudo command before:


    sudo chmown -R <USER> <DIRECTORY>


    It must ask for your password (I guest you have administrative rights in your computer).

  • vjejjala Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I tried that. It doesn't work.


    The command I quoted was given from the root account.



  • Hardijs Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)

    repair permissions (say disk warrior will do a better job in this case)

    then start from the install dvd, under utility menu - select "reset password"

    in the reset password utility - select system volume in question and press "reset acl"

  • vjejjala Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The reset password option doesn't give me access to the Time Machine disk.


    As far as I can tell, the data is still on the Time Machine drive. I can move a directory from the Time Machine backup to the hard drive on the Mac and change disk permissions and then access the files. However, on the actual Time Machine drive, I cannot see the contents of directories that have permissions:


    Nor can I change the permissions.


    I have done a disk repair and the backup disk seems to be okay.


    Any suggestions for how to access archival Time Machine data from dates prior to the system restore?


    Thanks for the assistance.