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Retrieve time machine file on another computer

17621 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: Oct 3, 2013 7:28 AM by Rangeley RSS
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stufromhalifax Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jun 20, 2012 3:03 PM

My Imac bit the dust after a month and I'm left with a couple of files I'd like to keep working on using an older computer running Leopard. But when I start Time Machine from the Leopard computer, it can't see my files. My user name is different, but that's not supposed to matter. Shouldn't I be able to find the file somehow? It's not happening.

 

The program is about as confusing as this website.

 

Help appreciated

Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    Time Machine normally only shows the backups for the Mac it's running on.

     

    To see the backups for a different Mac, you'll need the Browse... option, per Time Machine - Frequently Asked Question #17.

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

    stufromhalifax wrote:

     

    Thanks for your reply. You've just admitted that Time Machine is useless if your computer breaks, which is the reason people keep backups in the first place.

    Baloney. It is not "useless" for Time Machine to default to only showing the backups for the Mac it's running on; it makes sense, especially if you're backing-up multiple Macs to the same Time Capsule, for example.

     

    That's what the Browse... option is for  (but I'd be the first to agree that Apple should make that more obvious).

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

    To see the backups for a different Mac, you'll need the Browse... option, per Time Machine - Frequently Asked Question #17.

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

    You couldn't find "How can I see my backups, or the backups for a different Mac?" in 15 seconds?

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

    Odd -- I get lots of compliments about how clear it is.

     

    What would you suggest?

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

    stufromhalifax wrote:

    . . .

    The Mac help files are as well designed as any and with their short paragraphs and detailed breakdowns into topics and subtopics, you ge the feeling you can find answers in a hurry.

    But you didn't find what you wanted there, did you? 

     

     

    I'd suggest a column of links on the left which brings up topics on the right. The links could contain major categories with sub categories and sub-sub categories. This would reveal the organization of your whole website and make it easy for people to read the material they want, not just the answer, but the topic area as well.

    They do.  The main index ("Home" in the nav bar at the top and bottom of each page):  http://pondini.org/OSX/Home.html

     

    Several of those are links to sub-indexes, such as Time Machine - Frequently Asked Questions

      (basically a list of links) and Time Machine - Troubleshooting (a list of categories and links).

     

     

    Your website isn't searchable, which is one of the first things I look for when I'm trying to get help for something.

    iWeb doesn't support a search feature. 

     

     

    And you could break up your type more. Take a tip from the For Dummies books. You can't read three words without some kind of graphic. I read a lot of books but three paragraphs on a computer screen is unbearable.

    But you like the Mac help files?  Isn't that what they are?

     

    Not to mention your last post.  Five paragraphs all in the same typeface, no emphasis, no graphics. 

     

    On most of my pages, there are lots of graphics and colored boxes. FAQ #17, the one you were complaining about, doesn't have more than 3 paragraphs without a colored box, colored paragraph, or screenshot until the green and blue boxes.  And the blue one has things set off with bullet points and/or boldface type, where appropriate.

     

    Forgive me, but I suspect your 15-second attention span is the larger problem.

  • gianni2009 Calculating status...

    Can I retrieve files from a PC that were backed up on an external drive with Time Machine? For example, my Mac crashes, but I have a PC in the house and I need to quickly retrieve a doc. Can I access the files from a regular folder structure like I would with any normal external drive that was not used in a Time Machine backup fashion?

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 14, 2013 2:28 PM (in response to gianni2009)

    gianni2009 wrote:

     

    Can I retrieve files from a PC that were backed up on an external drive with Time Machine? For example, my Mac crashes, but I have a PC in the house and I need to quickly retrieve a doc. Can I access the files from a regular folder structure like I would with any normal external drive that was not used in a Time Machine backup fashion?

    No.  PCs can't read Time Machine backups properly, even if you install an app that will let it read a "normal" OSX volume.  The reason is, the OSX file system supports "hard links" (sort of like extra-fancy aliases) at both the file and directory level.  That's what TM uses to make small incremental backups look like full ones without taking up massive amounts of space.  Essentially, the backups of files or folders that don't change between backups actually "belong" to two or more backup folders at the same time.

     

    PCs can only deal with the ones at the file level, so they're mystified by the backups.

     

    You'll need to borrow a Mac. 

     

     

    EDIT: However, since it's always prudent to keep "secondary" backups, if you make them with one of the "cloning" apps, they can be read by PCs.  They may not have any history like TM, unless you use the "archive" feature some allow.  Even if you do, it won't be easy to find the older versions.  See Time Machine - Frequently Asked Question #27 for details and some suggestions.

     

    Message was edited by: Pondini

  • gianni2009 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the quick reply. I figured as much. 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. 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. In case anybody is listening out there...

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