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Too bad Time Machine doesn't create a parallel folder structure for user defined folders for user files as opposed to system files that wouldn't make any sense to try and retrieve from a PC anyway.
Since so much is linked together (apps, support stuff in /Library, and user data), I suspect that would be of pretty limited use, and be a fairly large complication.
And it's hard to expect Apple to go out of their way to help PC users any more than Microsoft helps us Apple folk.
This would also be useful for someone moving files back and forth between a work PC and home Mac (because they prefer creating visuals on the Mac, for example) and didn't want to invest in a second hard drive.
As long as you don't want to store originals there, just make a second partition on the TM drive. Format it MS-DOS (FAT) or ExFATso both the Mac and PC can read it natively.
How was that an admission that it is useless? You sound like a very angry person who wants to hate Mac. As for not being able to find answers easily, my very reliable iMac just died (after I left the window open and rain came in), and it took me less than one minute on Google, then following the steps as outlined in the very first reply, only 1 hour & 33 minutes after your post, For Free !!!!
Gratitude, patience, manners, respect. Shoot me down, I don't care. Someone has to stand up for what's right!
From this little black duck, thankyou to Pondini. Your free assistance and guidance is certainly appreciated, I'm guessing by far more than you realize.
As a matter of fact you're right. I'm a cranky old man. I complain a lot and Pondini has done a great job over the years explaining how Time Machine works. I was wrong in my impulsive assessment and admitted it in subsequent posts.
And now that we're all thru that lovey-dovey stuff you can thank people like me for consumer goods that work and for corporations that try to support their customers. All kinds of consumer standards were put in place due to hard-to-please customers like me. If the world was full of happy, forgivingpeople we'd still be using Windows 95, eating tainted meat and driving dangerous cars.
So here's my current problem. I backed up a macbook on time machine and had dropbox files on it. I cleaned the machine and gave it to my granddaughter, inadvertently deleting the dropbox files. The next day I "recovered" most of the files on dropbox.com, but now it's 3 months later and some folders are there but are empty of files. Dropbox doesn't recover after 30 days.
I used your instructions for retrieving files on the previous mac from my new macbook pro using time machine. I see the hard drive back ups, and I see dropbox but I can't figure out how to get those files! Any ideas? Here's what I see. Thanks!